September 17, 2016
By Roger L. Beckett In 1787, at the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin was asked, "Well, Doctor, what have we got - a republic or a monarchy?" Franklin replied, "A republic, if you can keep it. " Franklin's implication was that keeping the American republic requires knowing something about how our government works and why it works that way. Constitution Day is being observed on Sept. 16 this year, and this quiz provides an opportunity to test your knowledge of the Constitution as we celebrate the 229th anniversary of its signing on Sept.
September 15, 2016
ISSUE | TERM LIMITS Support Pa. bill for Constitutional Convention Elected officials ignore demands for term limits, taking the position that voters can limit terms by voting. The election system is stacked for incumbents. Article V of the U.S. Constitution authorizes two-thirds of the states to call a "convention for proposing amendments. " Eight states have approved a concurrent resolution that petitions Congress to call such a convention for amendments to "limit terms of officials and members of Congress" and to "impose fiscal restraints on the federal government.
September 10, 2016 |
Richard R. Beeman, 74, a University of Pennsylvania historian and a trustee of the National Constitution Center, who revered America's founding document and spent decades teaching its creation and complexities, died Monday, Sept. 5, of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Dr. Beeman, of Moylan, was the John Welsh Centennial Professor of History at Penn, where he was a faculty member for 43 years. "It has been my great privilege during those years to teach thousands of bright Penn undergraduates and graduate students the subject I love - the history of the American Revolution and Constitution," Dr. Beeman wrote on his website.
July 27, 2016
By David Gans Our campaign-finance system is badly broken and is deforming our democracy. The problem is the Supreme Court, not the Constitution. In a series of 5-4 rulings, Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative colleagues have rewritten the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech, insisting that money is speech, that corporations are an essential part of "We the People," and that the government's only legitimate interest in limiting election spending and giving is to prevent bribery.
July 2, 2016
By Allen C. Guelzo It was one of the great shocks of my life, and it came early. In fifth-grade government class. Though I can't remember much else that we learned then, a detail in Article 1, Section 2, of the Constitution reached out and grabbed me like the hound of the Baskervilles: "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the...
June 15, 2016 |
HARRISBURG - Four lawyers, including the top aide to the Pennsylvania attorney general, told a state Senate panel Monday that a bill to let child sex-abuse victims sue for decades-old attacks would violate the state's constitution and ultimately fail if challenged in the courts. "However righteous the policy goals behind [the bill], the General Assembly in its zeal cannot overrule a state constitutional right," said Bruce L. Castor Jr., the former Montgomery County prosecutor who was appointed solicitor general this year by Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.
May 25, 2016 |
The two aging contracts are unremarkable on first glance, devoid of flourishes and filled with the boilerplate restrictions that chained all baseball players to their teams in the Reserve Clause era. It isn't until the dates and signatures are evident that it becomes clear why these documents - two thin sheets of paper whose historical heft belies their fragility - have been appraised at $36 million. They are the groundbreaking contracts that Jackie Robinson signed when he shattered baseball's long-entrenched color barrier and changed American society forever.
May 5, 2016 |
The homeless Civil War Museum of Philadelphia, steward of what scholars regard as one of the finest collections of Civil War materials anywhere but possessing no place to display them, reached an agreement Monday to transfer ownership of its roughly 3,000 artifacts to the Gettysburg Foundation, the private, nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. At the same time, the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall has agreed to mount a permanent exhibition exploring the constitutional impact of the Civil War, using artifacts drawn from what is now the foundation's Gettysburg collection.
April 27, 2016 |
Should Hillary Clinton all but clinch the Democratic nomination when the polls close Tuesday, she will not then bend over backwards, or even moderately it seems, by adopting any of her opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders' proposals to win over his base, she said Monday. "Let's look at where we are right now. . . . I am winning," Clinton told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and a crowd of about 200 people gathered for a town hall at the National Constitution Center. "And I am winning because of what I stand for. " Sanders, in his own town hall before the same crowd but a different host, Chris Hayes, said Clinton would have to reconsider that stance if she is to win over those who have emphatically backed him as the anti-establishment candidate.
April 18, 2016
James Traub is author of "John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit" (Basic Books) On March 3, 1820, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and Secretary of War John Calhoun walked down Pennsylvania Avenue after a cabinet meeting devoted to Missouri's application to be admitted to the Union as a slave state - a question that had begun to divide the country. Adams had insisted that the words of the Declaration of Independence - "all men are created equal" - should be construed to prohibit slavery.