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Chief Justice Roberts Discusses the U.S. Constitution

AIR DATE: Thursday, July 20, 2006

Chief Justice John Roberts discusses the role of the Constitution in American politics. Justice Roberts answered questions on the meaning of the Constitution, the role of the framers, and the evolution of the Supreme Court. The interview continues with Justice Roberts commenting on the importance of reading the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. Justice Roberts shares his view of the role of the courts in a democratic society.

Discussion Questions

  1. According to Chief Justice Roberts, what is the purpose of the U.S. Constitution?
  2. What did the framers of the Constitution want to prevent?
  3. When asked about possible weaknesses in the Constitution, how did Justice Roberts respond?
  4. How does the amendment process address potential flaws in the Constitution?
  5. True or False. The judicial branch was as powerful as the other two branches once the Constitution came about. Explain.
  6. What impact did John Marshall have on the authority of the Supreme Court?
  7. What was the purpose of the Federalist Papers? Which chapters in the Federalist Papers did Justice Roberts like the most?
  8. Should Supreme Court justices have tenure?
  9. To what extent has John Roberts' view of the Constitution changed since becoming a Supreme Court justice?
  10. True or False. According to Justice Roberts, when people have a legal dispute, they should immediately refer the matter to the Supreme Court. Explain.
  11. Evaluate the extent to which the system of separation of powers/checks and balances has been effective in achieving its intended purpose in the United States.
  12. Do you think every American should read and understand the United States Constitution? Why or why not?
  13. What advice does Justice Roberts give students to better understand America's democracy?
KEYWORDS: Amendments, Checks and Balances, JUDICIAL, Judicial Theory and Philosophy, Justices, U.S. CONSTITUTION, U.S. Supreme Court