The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) will offer a free course titled: “The Constitution in the 20th Century and Today: Key Decisions and Controversies” from September 14 to December 14. The combined lecture-discussion is open to the public and will meet Monday evenings at the AHI building, 21 W. Park Row in Clinton, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The readings—a historical textbook on constitutional rulings, plus specially selected material from a variety of authors and Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents—will be provided free of charge. Professional credit for teachers is available. Space is limited, so advance signup is required. To register, or for more information, please contact Dr. Frisk ( at 315-381-3335, or Professor Robert Paquette ( at 315-292-2267.

David Frisk, Theodore J. Eismeier Fellow, AHI.

The course will begin with the deep political divisions over constitutional interpretation in recent decades, deal briefly with the debate on the judicial branch during the American Founding and with early American constitutionalism, then focus on most of the major areas in which the Supreme Court has adjudicated in the 20th century and more recently: economic regulation under the “commerce clause,” government’s war powers, freedom of speech and political activity, desegregation and racial quotas, religious “establishment” and religious liberty, criminal justice, the separation of powers and federalism, the “takings” or property rights clause, and the cultural issues of abortion and gay rights.

Instructor David Frisk, a Resident Fellow at the AHI since 2013, has previously taught its popular continuing education classes on the media and politics, modern statesmanship, conservative political philosophy, and recent socioeconomic trends. A former award-winning journalist, he holds a Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate University and is the author of the widely acclaimed biography If Not Us, Who? William Rusher, National Review, and the Conservative Movement (ISI Books, 2012).

“The Constitution is the revered guarantor of our freedoms and of responsible government, yet has always given rise to heated conflicts about its proper interpretation,” Dr. Frisk noted. “Citizens of all political persuasions are right to respect it, and equally right to fear its misuse. This course is intended to deepen understanding of the main disagreements in constitutional law, to provide a clear sense of why the Supreme Court has ruled as it has in many cases that have greatly affected American life, and to explain why its interpretation of our Constitution has often changed.”