In Search of the Constitution

In American history, no document has sparked as much reverence, discussion, and controversy as the Constitution. But how does it really affect our everyday lives? How do ordinary citizens, legal scholars, and Supreme Court justices interpret it? Join Bill Moyers for his 11 part series, originally produced to mark the Constitution’s bicentennial, that delves into the fascinating history and contemporary relevance of the ultimate law of the land. In-depth interviews with a wide range of experts – including four Supreme Court justices, educator Mortimer Adler, legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin, and Judge Robert Bork – provide not only rich historical detail but also illuminating insights on current disputes. Throughout, In Search of the Constitution shows how this brief text has shaped our nation and holds the power to change our lives.  The series includes the following episodes: In the Beginning, Justice Harry A. Blackmun, Mortimer Adler, Justice Brennan, Ronald Dworkin, God and the Constitution, Strictly Speaking, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, For the People, 1987 v. the Constitution and Justice Lewis F. Powell. (1987)

  • April 16, 1987 | In Search of the Constitution
    Bill Moyers has a detailed discussion with Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun about his career and decisions.
  • April 23, 1987 | In Search of the Constitution
    Bill Moyers looks closely at the summer of 1787 and the 55 men who came together to write the Constitution
  • April 30, 1987 | In Search of the Constitution
    Bill Moyers talks with Mortimer Adler about engaging in a Socratic dialogue with students about the Constitution.
  • May 7, 1987 | In Search of the Constitution
    Associate Justice William J. Brennan explains how the Supreme Court wrangles with abstract concepts such as dignity, privacy, and cruel and unusual punishment.
  • May 14, 1987 | In Search of the Constitution
    According to scholar Ronald Dworkin, the Constitution shapes the public debate over issues such as AIDS prevention, pornography, and racial discrimination.
  • May 21, 1987 | In Search of the Constitution
    Religious historians Martin E. Marty and Leonard Levy speak with Bill Moyers and offer their views on the separation of church and state in America.
  • May 28, 1987 | In Search of the Constitution
    Bill Moyers speaks with Attorney General Edwin Meese and federal judge Robert Bork, two outspoken strict constructionists, about judicial restraint and original intent.
  • June 4, 1987 | In Search of the Constitution
    In her first televised interview, Sandra Day O'Connor talks to Bill Moyers about her journey from a Texas cattle ranch to the Supreme Court and her views on abortion.
  • June 11, 1987
    When ordinary citizens defend their constitutional rights.
  • June 18, 1987 | In Search of the Constitution
    In interviews with experts and ordinary citizens, Bill Moyers explores the constitutional implications of workplace drug-testing, computer privacy, and executive power.
  • June 25, 1987 | In Search of the Constitution
    Associate Justice Lewis Powell, Jr. discusses some of his most controversial cases.
  • January 25, 2013
    Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion in the landmark abortion rights case, called it a necessary step "towards the emancipation of women."
  • July 21, 2014
    The first woman on the Supreme Court cast the deciding vote in reaffirming Roe v. Wade in 1992, but things could have turned out differently.