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Constitution

Liberty, Equality, and Tocqueville

Short video featuring James Poulos
James Poulos June 15, 2017

What advice does Alexis de Tocqueville offer to Americans on questions of liberty and equality? James Poulos explains what Americans can learn about themselves from Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" and how the rootedness of our hearts can secure our own liberty in a changing democratic society.

In "The Art of Being Free: How Alexis de Tocqueville Can Save Us from Ourselves" (2017), journalist and scholar James Poulos translates Tocqueville’s advice for a contemporary audience, illuminating us on how Tocqueville views the relationship friendship between friendship and freedom in today's society.

Weaver v. Massachusetts - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 5-22-17 featuring Peter M. Thomson
Peter M. Thomson May 22, 2017

On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Weaver v. Massachusetts. Kentel Myrone Weaver was convicted of first degree murder for the 2003 shooting of Germaine Rucker. In 2011, Weaver filed a motion for a new trial, claiming that he was denied effective assistance of counsel. A court officer had closed the court to Weaver’s family and other members of the public during jury selection because of overcrowding. Weaver claimed that this closure violated his Sixth Amendment right to a public trial, and his counsel had failed to object to the closure. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts affirmed Weaver’s conviction on direct appeal and declined to grant relief on his Sixth Amendment claim.

The question before the Supreme Court is whether a defendant asserting ineffective assistance that results in a structural error must, in addition to demonstrating deficient performance, show that he was prejudiced by counsel's ineffectiveness, as held by four circuits and five state courts of last resort; or whether prejudice is presumed in such cases, as held by four other circuits and two state high courts.

To discuss the case, we have Peter M. Thomson, who is Special Counsel at Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann LLC.

Why Read Tocqueville?

Short video featuring James Poulos
James Poulos May 15, 2017

What can a nineteenth-century Frenchman teach us about modern America? Author James Poulos presents his case for reading Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America." 

In The Art of Being Free: How Alexis de Tocqueville Can Save Us from Ourselves (2017), journalist and scholar James Poulos translates Tocqueville’s advice for a contemporary audience, illuminating us on how Tocqueville views the relationship friendship between friendship and freedom in today's society.

Introduction to the Article I Initiative

Short Video
April 25, 2017

A properly functioning legislature is imperative to maintaining a democratic republic, and it almost goes without saying that the modern Congress is dysfunctional. The public regard for the institution has never been lower, factionalism has created a toxic public atmosphere, and Congress seems unable or unwilling to act and address the major challenges facing the nation.

The Article I Initiative was started to do the work necessary to restore Congress to its rightful place in the Constitutional order, and to create a body of scholarship that will help legislators become effective leaders and lawmakers in the 21st Century.  

This Initiative is self-consciously non-partisan; both left and right should work together to ensure that the Constitutional balance leans heavily towards the institution which holds the people’s representatives.

Find out more at http://fedsoc.org/articlei