Past Programs

Timothy Huebner on the Civil War era and American constitutionalism

Timothy Huebner, author of Liberty and Union, provides a reexamination of the Civil War era, exploring how the African American understanding of constitutional equality helped transform a war for the Union into a war for emancipation and equal rights.

February 13, 2017

Should We Amend The Constitution To Impose Term Limits On Congress?

Suzanne Almeida, Executive Director, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Phil Blumel, President, U.S. Term Limits, David Strauss, Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School, David Super, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center and former Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA) discuss a term-limits amendment to the Constitution.

February 09, 2017

Centennial Anniversary Of The Mexican Constitution

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Constitution, Mexican and U.S. constitutional experts, including National Constitution Center Senior Fellow for Constitutional Studies Tom Donnelly, Universidad de las Américas Puebla Professor Raúl Bringas-Nostti, and others explore the similarities and differences between the two documents.

February 08, 2017

John Adams and the Fear of Aristocracy

Authors Luke Mayville and Richard Alan Ryerson discuss the second president’s most intimate political thoughts.

February 01, 2017

Former Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr.

Donald Verrilli, Jr., 46th Solicitor General of the United States, joined the Constitution Center for an intimate conversation about his time in office and his experiences arguing landmark cases before the Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, immigration, and more.

January 23, 2017

President Trump’s First 100 Days And The Constitutional Stakes

President-elect Donald Trump will inherit a nation divided at home and threatened abroad on Friday. Watch Carol Lee of The Wall Street Journal, Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker, Benjamin Domenech of The Federalist, and Paul Gottfried of Elizabethtown College as they discuss the incoming administration.

January 17, 2017

The Constitution and the Administrative State

Federal judges and scholars explore important historical and constitutional issues related to the administrative state in this special event from the National Constitution Center on January 10, 2017.

January 10, 2017

Video: Bill Of Rights Day Book Festival

On Thursday, December 15, 2016, we presented four live stream video programs related to the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights.

December 15, 2016

Populism, demagogues, and constitutional democracy

The National Constitution Center hosts an important live discussion about the rising tide of populism and constitutional values, featuring Robert Kagan, Michael Kazin, Nancy Rosenblum, and John Yoo.

December 08, 2016

Call a convention to amend the Constitution?

From the Kaufman Center in New York, Intelligence Squared partnership with the National Constitution Center presents a debate between four experts about the need to call a new Constitutional Convention.

December 07, 2016

Video: is Black Lives Matter The Next Civil Rights Movement?

Randall Kennedy, professor of law at Harvard University, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president emerita of Bennett College, and Errin Haines Whack, urban affairs reporter for the Associated Press, explore the history of Black Lives Matter and its parallels with past civil rights movements.

December 05, 2016

The 14th Amendment’s Shield of National Protection

A distinguished panel at the National Archives discusses how the 14th Amendment enshrined the promise of liberty and equality in our Constitution and look at implications for today’s most important issues, including racial discrimination, guns rights, marriage equality, economic liberty, and gender equality.

December 01, 2016

The Constitutional Legacy Of President Obama

David French and Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review, Jonathan Chaitt of New York magazine, National Constitution Center scholar-in-residence Michael Gerhardt, and Michael Days of the Philadelphia Daily News explore the president’s constitutional legacy.

November 30, 2016

Harvard Final Clubs and the First Amendment

Do penalties for students who join single-gender organizations violate core First Amendment values? The Harvard Law School Chapters of the Federalist Society and American Constitution Society welcomed Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, to moderate a debate regarding Harvard University’s announced policy for single-gender social clubs.

November 29, 2016

Robert Strauss: America’s Worst Presidents

Michael Gerhardt, Center scholar-in-residence, and Robert Strauss, author of Worst. President. Ever., offer an enlightening — and highly entertaining — account of James Buchanan’s presidency and explain how historians rank presidents over time.

November 28, 2016

Is the Constitution Judeo-Christian?

Professors Menachem Lorberbaum of Penn’s Katz Center and Tel Aviv University, Michael Moreland of Villanova's Charles Widger School of Law, and Suzanne Last Stone of the Cardozo School of Law discuss the development and context of the Constitution to explore its relationship to the Jewish and Christian traditions.

November 21, 2016

The State of Campus Free Speech

In the wake of nationally publicized campus controversies over race and inclusion, Israel-Palestine activism, Title IX and sexual harassment, and other free speech challenges, PEN America convenes a panel discussion with top free expression experts, university faculty, and student activists to discuss and debate the future of free expression at U.S. universities.

November 17, 2016

Debate: Gerrymandering Is Destroying the Political Center

Presented in partnership with the National Constitution Center, Intelligence Squared U.S. presents a debate on the controversial practice of gerrymandering, or dividing election districts.

November 14, 2016

Rethinking America’s Founding

Michael Klarman, Harvard Law Professor and author of The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution, and Patrick Spero, Librarian at the American Philosophical Society and editor of The American Revolution Reborn, discuss their new books, putting a human face on America’s Framers and reassessing the clashes that helped define the Founding era.

November 14, 2016

Analyzing The Media’s Role In The 2016 Election

Todd Brewster of Temple University sat down with Dylan Byers, senior reporter at CNN, David Folkenflik, media correspondent at NPR, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, and Bryan Monroe, former editor of and Verizon Chair at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication, to discuss the performance of the Fourth Estate in the 2016 presidential election.

November 10, 2016

A Declaration of Life and Liberty

Distinguished speakers come together for a daylong symposium exploring the Declaration’s promise. This program is presented in partnership with the Jack Miller Center.

November 04, 2016

The Supreme Court In Transition

Top legal journalists Robert Barnes, Lincoln Caplan, and Marcia Coyle examine the state of a 4-4 Supreme Court in transition and look forward to the differences between a Clinton Court and a Trump Court.

October 26, 2016

The clash between the President And Congress, 1776 To ISIS

David Barron traces the ongoing struggle between America’s presidents and Congress over who has the power to declare and wage war as described in his new book.

October 17, 2016

Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump: The Constitutional Stakes

In a special National Constitution Center event, John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation and Ian Millhiser of the Center for American Progress discuss how the two leading presidential candidates interpret the Constitution and where they stand on the most important constitutional questions facing America today.

October 11, 2016

Resolved: State Voter ID Laws Are Unconstitutional

A special Traveling Town Hall in Chicago, "Resolved: State Voter ID Laws Are Unconstitutional" features Hans von Spakovsky and Atiba Ellis and is moderated by Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO, of the National Constitution Center.

October 05, 2016

The Reluctant Statesman: George Mason and the American Tradition of Dissent

George Mason's Gunston Hall and the Center present a special afternoon symposium on George Mason — one of the three dissenters of the Constitution — and the role dissent has played in shaping America.

October 05, 2016

Hamilton v. Jefferson: A Clash of Constitutional Visions in Washington’s Cabinet

A special Traveling Town Hall in Mount Vernon, Virginia features Richard Brookhiser, Alan Shaw Taylor, Douglas Bradburn and Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO, National Constitution Center.

September 27, 2016

Timothy Garton Ash: Ten Free Speech Principles for a Connected World

Internationally acclaimed political writer and Guardian columnist Timothy Garton Ash in a rare U.S. appearance discusses controversies from censorship in China to Charlie Hebdo.

September 27, 2016

The Nixon Court and the Rise of Judicial Conservatism

A look at the Warren Burger Court years and the rise of the conservative court that still defines the constitutional landscape we live in today.

September 21, 2016

Mark Thompson: What’s Gone Wrong with the Language of Politics?

New York Times Company CEO Mark Thompson provides a wide-ranging, provocative examination of free speech and political rhetoric — from FDR and Churchill to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, moderates.

September 16, 2016

Alberto Gonzales: 9/11 from Inside the White House

Former U.S. Attorney General and Counsel to President George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzales, shares never-before-told stories behind the controversial decisions made during the crucible of the 9/11 attacks.

September 08, 2016

Constitutional Methodologies with Jeffrey Rosen

A discussion about constitutional methodologies with Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center. Rosen is joined by Thomas Donnelly, Senior Fellow for Constitution Studies at the National Constitution Center. This video debuted as a livestream on Facebook on August 24, 2016 and originated from Philadelphia, Pa.

August 25, 2016

The Presidency of George Washington

Award-winning presidential historian Edward Larson, renowned constitutional scholar Akhil Reed Amar, and Douglas Bradburn, explore Washington’s conception of the presidency.

July 27, 2016

The Future of the Constitution: The View from Congress

U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Richard Durbin join Jeffrey Rosen for a wide-ranging conversation about constitutional issues facing America.

July 25, 2016

America’s Biggest Constitutional Crises: A View from the Presidency

A special Town Hall Program in Congress Hall in partnership with Independence National Historical Park.

July 25, 2016

2016 Annual Supreme Court Review

Erwin Chemerinsky, Frederick Lawrence, and Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, examine the Supreme Court’s landmark 2015-16 session.

July 06, 2016

Abortion and the Constitution: What You Need to Know

Clarke Forsythe, senior counsel for Americans United for Life; Mary Ziegler, legal historian at Florida State University and author of After Roe; and Kathyrn Kolbert, professor of political science at Barnard College who argued on behalf of the petitioners in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, discuss current and future constitutional debates about abortion, including the issues in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

June 27, 2016

What Shakespeare Can Teach Us about Law

Barry Edelstein of the Old Globe in San Diego and Jeffrey Rosen, CEO of the National Constitution Center delve into the Bard’s greatest plays to address the broad question of what Shakespeare can teach us about justice.

June 23, 2016

Jim Obergefell And Debbie Cenziper: The Story of Obergefell

A behind-the-scenes look inside the landmark Supreme Court case that extended the right to marry to same-sex couples. Carrie Johnson, Justice Correspondent for NPR, moderates.

June 16, 2016

Cass Sunstein: The World According to Star Wars

Cass Sunstein explores George Lucas’s masterpiece as it relates to rebellions, constitutional law, presidential elections.

June 13, 2016

Intelligence Squared Debate: Has the President Usurped Congressional Power?

Michael McConnell and Carrie Severino argue for the motion. Adam Cox and Eric Posner argue against the motion. ABC News correspondent John Donvan moderates.

June 08, 2016

Sidney Blumenthal & Sean Wilentz: The Hidden History of American Politics

Former political aide Sidney Blumenthal and prominent historian Sean Wilentz of Princeton University explore the role party politics has played in America.

June 06, 2016

Jeffrey Rosen: Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet

On the 100th anniversary of Justice Brandeis’ confirmation to the Supreme Court, a conversation with Jeffrey Rosen about his new book on Brandeis.

June 01, 2016

The Next Supreme Court Confirmation Battle

A discussion about the Supreme Court confirmation process and the debate over President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the high court.

May 26, 2016

Kevin Seamus Hasson: How We Came to Be One Nation Under God

Kevin Seamus Hasson, founder of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, looks at the debates over the relationship between church and state.

May 23, 2016

Diane Rehm: Do Americans Have a Right to Die?

Diane Rehm discusses her new book about the right to die in America.

May 19, 2016

The Presidents and the Constitution: A Living History

The nation’s foremost experts on the American presidency and the U.S. Constitution explain how each American president has confronted and shaped the Constitution.

May 16, 2016

Civil Liberties in Times of Crisis: Japanese-American Internment and America Today

University of Pennsylvania Law Professor Kermit Roosevelt is joined by Karen Korematsu, founder of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and daughter of the civil rights activist, to discuss Roosevelt’s latest novel, Allegiance. Jess Bravin, Supreme Court correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, moderates.

May 12, 2016

The History and Legacy of the 14th Amendment

On 150th anniversary of the Reconstruction Amendments,two discussions on the history and enduring relevance of the 14th Amendment.

May 10, 2016

The 14th Amendment: Judicial Perspective. Panel 2

As part of our Second Founding celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Reconstruction Amendments, Judges Janice Rogers Brown of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Bernice Donald of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Theodore McKee of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals discuss the history of the 14th Amendment.

May 10, 2016

Does the University of Texas’s Use of Racial Preferences Violate the Constitution?

Law professors Elise Boddie, Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and Gail Heriot, University of San Diego Law School, debate issues surrounding affirmative action in Texas.

May 05, 2016

The Constitutional Legacy of Justice Antonin Scalia

A discussion about Justice Scalia and the future of constitutional interpretation with three of the late Justice’s former law clerks and a former law clerk to Justice Stephen Breyer.

May 02, 2016

Randy Barnett: Our Republican Constitution

Renowned legal scholar Randy Barnett is joined by constitutional scholar Gillian Metzger to explain the origins of the debate about the meaning of America.

April 26, 2016

Honorary Congressional Visiting Scholars Program Launch

Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Mike Lee (R-UT), launched the Constitution Center’s inaugural Honorary Congressional Visiting Scholars program with a constitutional conversation in Washington, D.C. The program was moderated by Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center.

April 26, 2016

James Traub: The Militant Spirit of John Quincy Adams

James Traub unveils his essential biography on the life and complex political career of America’s sixth president - John Quincy Adams.

April 21, 2016

David Cole: How Citizen Activists Can Make Constitutional Law

David Cole sheds light on a vital, yet often overlooked, driver of constitutional change: ordinary citizens.

April 18, 2016

Fergus Bordewich: How Madison, Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government

Prize-winning author and historian Fergus Bordewich tells the dramatic story s when Washington, Madison, and their dedicated colleagues struggled to successfully create our government.

April 14, 2016

Freedom Day 2016

Freedom Day encourages people of all ages to explore Americans’ freedoms of speech and expression.

April 13, 2016

Freedom Day: The Next Justice and the Future of Free Speech

New York Times Supreme Court Correspondent, Adam Liptak and National Constitution Center President Jeffrey Rosen discuss the state of Free Speech in America, from college campuses to Supreme Court rulings.

April 13, 2016

Welcoming Remarks & Panel One Freedom Day 2016

Watch the opening remarks to Freedom Day, 2016 by Jeff Rosen and Frayda Levy. And then our first panel of the day: Should We Restrict Speech Promoting Terrorism Online?

April 13, 2016

Free Speech On Campus: Freedom Day 2016

A Freedom Day 2016 Panel Discussion on Free Speech On Campus.

April 13, 2016

What the Founding Documents Can Teach Us About Freedom : A conversation with David Rubenstein

A conversation with David Rubenstein, featured keynote speaker for Freedom Day 2016 at the National Constitution Center.

April 13, 2016

The History and Future of the Criminal Justice Act

Top scholars and judges come together to discuss one of the most significant pieces of legislation concerning the federal criminal justice system, the Criminal Justice Act, establishing the right to counsel in federal court under the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment.

April 11, 2016

Jacob Weisberg: The Legacy of Ronald Reagan

Political journalist Jacob Weisberg provides a bracing portrait of America’s 40th president, Ronald Reagan.

April 04, 2016

Privacy and Policing

National experts Barry Friedman, Tracey Meares, and former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey discuss the future of policing.

March 31, 2016

College Athletes’ Rights in the 21st Century

As part of Drexel University’s College Athletes’ Rights & Empowerment Conference, the National Constitution Center hosts an evening of programs centered around the rights of college athletes in America.

March 24, 2016

For Debate: Was Vergara Wrongly Decided?

James Finberg of Altshuler Berzon and Joshua Lipshutz of Gibson Dunn — two attorneys involved in Vergara v. California, a landmark dispute over the legality of teacher retention policies — debate the merits and drawbacks of the controversial case making its way through the California courts. This Town Hall Debate took place at the Merchants Exchange Club in San Francisco, CA.

March 16, 2016

Joel Klein: The 13th Annual John M. Templeton, Jr. Lecture

Joel Klein, former New York City Schools Chancellor, is the speaker for the 13th Annual John M. Templeton, Jr. Lecture. Klein explores the problems plaguing public education and offers a blueprint for how they can be solved.

March 10, 2016

Persuading the People: Presidential Primaries and Political Spin

A behind-the-scenes look at the history and influence of the presidential campaign — from Theodore Roosevelt and the first presidential primary to today.

February 25, 2016

Voting in America: How Campaign Finance and Election Laws Threaten Democracy

Leading election law scholars Edward B. Foley and Richard L. Hasen offer their critical take on the evolution of the structure of the American political system.

February 18, 2016

Has the President Gone Too Far on Immigration?

President Obama used his executive authority to defer the deportation of millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Is the President’s policy unconstitutional?

February 16, 2016

Presidential Campaigns: 1788 to Present

Presidential historians discuss the history of presidential campaigning, what we can learn from past elections, and their take on the current state of our presidential electoral process.

February 11, 2016

Liberty’s Nemesis: The Unchecked Expansion of the State

A panel discussion as to why the concentration of power in administrative agencies may be the greatest threat to our liberties today.

February 08, 2016

Judge Guido Calabresi : The Future of Law and Economics

Judge Guido Calabresi discusses his new book, The Future of Law and Economics: Essays in Reform and Recollection.

February 01, 2016

Robert M. Gates: Lessons on Leadership from 50 Years of Public Service

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates returns to the Center to unveil his latest book.

January 21, 2016

The Federalist Papers: Relevant Today?  Bill of Rights Book Festival

Sanford Levinson, discusses his new book about the Federalist Papers. This is the fourth of four events of the Bill of Rights Book Festival.

December 15, 2015

Dissent and the Supreme Court: Its Role in the Court’s History

Dissent and the Supreme Court: Its Role in the Court's History. This is the third of four events of the Bill of Rights Book Festival.

December 15, 2015

James Madison’s ‘Notes’: Revising the Constitutional Convention with Mary Sarah Bilder

James Madison's 'Notes': Revising the Constitutional Convention with Mary Sarah Bilder. This is the second of four events of the Bill of Rights Book Festival.

December 15, 2015

How Magna Carta Shaped America Bill of Rights Book Festival

How Magna Carta Shaped America with constitutional law and comparative constitutionalism expert A.E. Dick Howard. This is one of four events of the Bill of Rights Book Festival.

December 15, 2015

Why Reconstruction Matters

Preeminent historian Eric Foner in conversation with Richard Brookhiser, senior editor at National Review, for a special 13th Amendment discussion on the heels of the 150th anniversary of ratification.

December 09, 2015

The Thirteenth Amendment at 150: Emancipation, America’s Second Founding

A program commemorating the Thirteenth Amendment at 150 explores the challenges that remain, including the enduring issue of race. This special America's Town Hall takes place at the William G. McGowan Theater in the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.

December 07, 2015


The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that: "No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Yet many state universities give substantial preferences to certain races in their admissions decisions. One side argues that these preferences level the playing field, remedy prior discrimination, and enhance diversity within the classroom.. The other side says that these preferences – in favor of some races, at the expense of others – are racial discrimination pure and simple.

December 03, 2015

Resolved: The Second Amendment Protects the Individual’s Right to Own and Carry a Gun

Participants debated whether or not the Supreme Court got it right when it ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own a handgun.

November 19, 2015

Ari Berman: The Fight (and Right) to Vote

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Ari Berman, political correspondent for The Nation, brings new insight to one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.

November 18, 2015

Jon Meacham: The American Odyssey of George H.W. Bush

Presidential historian and bestselling author Jon Meacham unveils his sweeping yet intimate biography of George H. W. Bush.

November 12, 2015

The Significance of the Reconstruction Amendments for the Federal Judiciary

Judges discuss the origins, influence, and contemporary meaning of the 14th Amendment.

November 05, 2015

The Influence of the Reconstruction Amendments

A discussion about the influence of the Reconstruction Amendments with David M. Kennedy, Heather Mac Donald, and moderated by Judge Jeremy Fogel

November 05, 2015

The Legacy of Reconstruction

Three panel conversations on the origins, influence, and contemporary meaning of the 14th Amendment. Presented in partnership with the Federal Judicial Center.

November 05, 2015

School Choice: The Role of the Constitution and the Courts in Improving Education

Does the Constitution guarantee an “equal education” to every child? What do the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions say about school choice, teacher tenure, standardized testing, and more? The Center hosts two conversations exploring these questions. One of three panels in this event.

November 02, 2015

School Choice: Philadelphia School Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite

Dr. William R. Hite, Jr., Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, offers his perspective on the issues facing Philadelphia schools. Second of three panels of this event.

November 02, 2015

School Choice and Equality

An examination of the state of Philadelphia public education and what an "equal education" in Philadelphia would look like, and specific proposals for getting there. Third of three panels in the program.

November 02, 2015

Adam Liptak and Steven Mazie: The 10 Toughest Cases of the 2014-15 Term

Top Supreme Court reporters outline the issues and arguments in the 10 most controversial opinions of the term.

October 28, 2015

What’s Cooking: Should the Government Regulate What We Eat?

The intersection of food, regulation and how the U.S. government influences the food we eat.

October 21, 2015

Anne-Marie Slaughter: Unfinished Business

Anne-Marie Slaughter, discusses her hotly anticipated book, Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family.

October 19, 2015

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