A new 4-part miniseries, CONSTITUTION USA with Peter Sagal premiers tonight on PBS (check your local listings). Here is the preview of tonight’s episode on Federalism:
Last summer I was flown to O’Hare, where Sagal picked me up to drive 90 minutes to an old barn in DeKalb County that was chosen to replicate the setting of Roscoe Filburn’s farm, in Wickard v. Filburn. Known best for moderating the NPR show, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” he is a fascinating character who told me about his career as a screen writer. We filmed my interview on a very hot day in the open barn with each of us sitting on our own bale of hay. By the time Sagal interviewed me, he had done lots of interviews and, judging by their questions, he and his producer clearly knew lots about the Constitution. He began the interview, “So, Roscoe Filburn had a farm…” and I then interjected “E – I – E -I – O.” When I attended the sneak preview at the Capital Visitors Center recently, the producer told me that he thought at the time that this was a good sign. Actually, the interview was a hoot. I don’t know how much of my interview will be included, but I am told I appear in tonight’s premier episode on Federalism. Here is a short clip:
I also don’t know how balanced the series will be. The two principal consultants are Penn historian Richard Beeman (at the preview, he took a gratuitous shot at the Tea Party) and Yale law professor Akhil Amar. But those who were interviewed are a diverse lot, including P.J. O’Rourke on big government, Notre Dame law prof Rick Garnett on the separation of church and state and our own Eugene Volokh on the First Amendment:
At the preview event, Sagal volunteered to the audience that he changed his mind about the constitutional protection of private property after filming the segment on the Kelo case, that will appear in the second episode.