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Jeffrey Rosen: is there a constitutional crisis looming?

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Jeffrey Rosen and David Rubinstein at the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival.
Jeffrey Rosen (L) and David Rubinstein at the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival.
Riccardo Savi | The Aspen Institute

Legal scholar Jeffrey Rosen examines the most hotly contested constitutional questions of our time.

Rosen says we have "a constitutional feast every week."

"How did we get here?" Rosen asks. "What would the framers think about the state of our Constitution and democracy today? And how will the Constitution guide us over the conflicts that we may see over the horizon between the House and the President...and how will the Supreme Court react?"

Constitutional architect James Madison believed that direct democracy can lead to demagogues, Rosen said. He wanted to slow down the process, and "allow time for deliberation, so reasoned majorities could decide the public good."

Rosen says we have come a long way from founder James Madison's vision, and he believes "we are living, to some degree, in a dystopian Madison nightmare." 

Madison believed there was danger in direct communication from the president, who of course never imagined Presidents Obama and Trump would use of something like Twitter. The latter multiple times a day. 

Rosen answered questions about presidential power, subpoena power, executive orders, recusal of Supreme Court justices, the possibility of a constitutional convention, the independence of the Justice Department and more. 

Jeffrey Rosen is CEO of the National Constitution Center, and a professor at George Washington University Law School. His newest book is "William Howard Taft: The American Presidents Series." 

He spoke November 7, 2018 at the Commonwealth Club of California. Lawyer Mary Cranston was the moderator.