Whatever you think about the level of discourse this election year, there's no getting around the fact that the U.S. Constitution has been talked about a lot. And though the debate has been raw and ill-informed at times, just the fact that we can have these kinds of discussions says something good about the nation.
On Morning Edition Tuesday, co-host Steve Inskeep talks with two former U.S. solicitor generals — Paul Clement (George W. Bush administration) and Walter Dellinger (Clinton administration).
We've had a chance to listen to the pre-recorded conversation. There's discussion of topics such as religion and what the 1st Amendment does or does not say about it. "The confusion comes," says Clement, because the Amendment's "establishment clause" does embody a principle that there are limits to what the government can do "vis a vis" religion. But "the phrase, separation of church and state" is not in the amendment. "It's a metaphor that Thomas Jefferson came up with" and has been referred to in Supreme Court decisions.
There are also discussions of the 14th Amendment (and whether children of illegal immigrants should be guaranteed citizenship if they're born in the U.S.), and whether last year's health care overhaul law is or is not constitutional. Click here to find an NPR station near you that broadcasts or streams the show.
And while we're thinking about the Constitution, how about a quick pop quiz? (Our apologies if the quiz doesn't show up in some browsers; please try again, we may be taxing the system a bit).
Update at 8 a.m. ET, Oct. 26: Sadly, the quiz keeps disappearing from this post. We're trying to fix it. Also, we tweaked the reference to the discussion of the 14th Amendment. The issue discussed was whether children of illegal immigrations should be guaranteed citizenship if they're born in the U.S.
Update at 10:15 a.m. ET, Oct. 26: The folks at MyStudiyo.com (we used its tools to make the quiz) tell us in an e-mail that they hope to have things back up and running shortly. Some of their servers were hit by an "outage," apparently.
Updaate at 4:25 p.m. ET, Oct. 26: Finally! It's back. We apologize for the break-down, but if you'd like to try your hand at the quiz now, please do.