• Live At America's Town Hall Podcast

For Debate: Should the Constitution Be More Democratic?

November 05, 2019

Is the Constitution “democratic” enough? What does it mean to be a democracy as opposed to a republic—is there a significant difference, and why does it matter? Should institutions like the Senate and the Electoral College, which are sometimes criticized for being undemocratic, be reformed or abolished? Constitutional scholars and professors Randy Barnett of Georgetown Law and Vikram Amar of the University of Illinois College of Law sat down for a rich debate of these questions here at the National Constitution Center, moderated by NCC President Jeffrey Rosen.



Vikram Amar is Dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He was a professor of law for many years at law schools in the University of California System, most recently the UC Davis School of Law, where he served as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. He has produced several books and over 60 articles in leading law reviews, and he is a co-author (along with Akhil Reed Amar and Steven Calabresi) of the upcoming edition of the six-volume Treatise on Constitutional Law (6th ed. 2021).

Randy Barnett is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center and is Director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution. He was previously a prosecutor in the Cook County States’ Attorney’s Office in Chicago and has been a visiting professor at Penn, Northwestern and Harvard Law School. His publications include twelve books; his latest is Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People (2016).

​​​​​​Jeffrey Rosen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress “to disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a nonpartisan basis.” 

Additional Resources

This episode was engineered by Greg Scheckler and Dave Stotz and produced by Jackie McDermott and Tanaya Tauber.

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