Mon., October 25, 2010 5:08pm (EDT)

Are You A Constitutional Scholar? Here's A Test
By Mark Memmott
Updated: 4 years ago

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 who is or is not eligible to be president), 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? [Copyright 2010 National Public Radio]