Chris Edelson

Chris Edelson

Chris Edelson is an assistant professor in American University's School of Public Affairs, Department of Government, where he teaches classes on constitutional law. He's also a lawyer and has published writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Lawyer, Common Dreams,, and Metroland (Albany, NY).

Articles by this author

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ordinary Americans Carried Out Inhumane Acts for Trump

A week ago, men and women went to work at airports around the United States as they always do. They showered, got dressed, ate breakfast, perhaps dropped off their kids at school. Then they reported to their jobs as federal government employees, where, according to news reports, one of them handcuffed a 5-year-old...
Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tyrant or Weakling? Asking the Wrong Questions about Obama and Ukraine

In congressional hearings last month, House Republicans condemned President Obama as a “king” threatening to bring dictatorship to the United States.
Friday, March 30, 2012

Health Care Law Not About Broccoli, But Nationhood

If the Supreme Court ends up upholding the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, there is no danger that Americans will be forced to buy and eat broccoli, despite Justice Scalia’s suggestion to the contrary during oral argument on Tuesday. As conservative law professor and former Solicitor General during the Reagan administration Charles Fried put it, “the whole broccoli argument is beneath contempt”, a Tea Party talking point.
Saturday, October 22, 2011

Herman Cain Accidentally Shines Light On Republican Party’s Abortion Problem

The Republican establishment understandably sees Herman Cain as a problem. Cain has been leading the pack of presidential candidates in some polls, but the former Godfather's Pizza president is also seen as someone who, in the words of blogger Jonathan Bernstein, “can’t manage to put three sentences together on most topics without an embarrassing gaffe.” Bernstein offers Cain’s recent comments on abortion as the latest example.
Sunday, October 24, 2010

Republicans Passionate Defenders of The Constitution—As They Imagine It

Last November, the satirical newspaper the Onion published an article entitled "Area Man Passionate Defender of What He Imagines Constitution To Be."  The piece "reports" on a man who incorrectly believes that the Constitution declares the United States to be "one nation under God" while also prohibiting flag-burning and the income tax.
Sunday, November 15, 2009

Does Wolf Blitzer Think It's Time to Call Out the Lynch Mob?

It's easy to praise constitutional rights in the abstract, to declare that you are a believer in free speech, the right to trial, the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments when you're speaking only in general terms. The real test comes when you're asked to deal with difficult specific cases.
Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Republican Party Has Failed–And That’s Not Good For Anyone

The Republican party's failure has me thinking of a Seinfeld episode, the one where Kramer is upset about a Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant featuring a bright neon sign that lights up his apartment at night.  Jerry has an old college friend who winds up working as an assistant manager at the restaurant, and when Kramer hangs a banner from his restaurant protesting the chicken establishment, Jerry's friend remarks "that's not going to be good for business."  Jerry responds
Thursday, December 20, 2007

Are We Electing a President, or a Pastor in Chief?

The Republican presidential race seems more like a competition for national pastor-in-chief than chief executive. During one recent debate, candidates were asked if they believe every word of the Bible. Not one politician dismissed the question as irrelevant or out of bounds. Earlier in the year, John McCain asserted that the Constitution established the United States as a Christian nation (despite the fact that the words "Christian" and "God" appear a grand total of zero times in the nation's founding document).
Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Vice President's Popularity Contest

"If I were in business to be popular, I suppose I'd be worried about my poll ratings and so forth. I'm not." Vice President Dick Cheney, on Larry King Live, 7/31/07.
Monday, July 30, 2007

Fear Itself

When Franklin Roosevelt took office as president in 1933, the United States was in the middle of the Great Depression. In fact, there was a worldwide economic depression. Fascism was on the rise in Europe. Mussolini ruled Italy. In January, two months before FDR was inaugurated, Hitler had been sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. On March 4, 1933, the day before Hitler formally consolidated dictatorial power, FDR gave his first inaugural address.