Democracy needs to be heard

(Dana Amihere/LAist)

Published Nov. 20, 2019

What if we spent this November -- one year out from the next presidential election -- talking about our nation's core beliefs and principles? What if we reminded everyone of the values we share, regardless of party affiliation or candidate preference?

That was the call-to-arms issued this summer to America's newsrooms as part of a nonpartisan project called The Purple Project for Democracy.

"We're seeing a precipitous decline in trust and faith in our democracy and its institutions," warned Bob Garfield, the host of the public radio program "On The Media," as he called on journalists to act. "The electorate is demonstrably disaffected from the very system that for nearly 250 years has defined our way of life."

So here in the KPCC/LAist newsroom we decided to go back to where it began. The U.S. Constitution and the amendments that laid out -- and changed -- the nation's course. We enlisted friends of the station from TV, film and public radio to read and reflect on what those founding principles mean to them.

Here's what they had to say, and we also want to hear your thoughts.

Preamble
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Click the PLAY button below to hear the Preamble; use the arrow buttons to switch readers.

⊲ ⊳
    Amendment I
    Freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly and petition
    Ratified: 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Read more about the First Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Terry Gross
    Terry Gross
    Radio host & producer

    Since 1975, Terry Gross has hosted Fresh Air, one of public radio's best known interview shows. In more than four decades on air, Gross has interviewed world-renowned artists, leaders, activists, scientists and more. Her program is based at WHYY in Philadelphia and distributed by NPR.

    Here's what she said about the importance of the First Amendment:

    "The First Amendment is important to me as a journalist because it protects against government interference in the press. I'm not a reporter, but I've interviewed many reporters who have investigated the mistakes, misjudgments and misdeeds of powerful people at all levels of our government. I've interviewed journalists who were detained or imprisoned and tortured in other countries. The First Amendment is our protection against that happening in the U.S. The enshrining of freedom of the press is especially important at a time when our most credible news sources are being attacked as fake news."


    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Norman Lear
    Norman Lear
    TV writer & producer

    Norman Lear, who turned 97 this summer, is a legendary TV producer whose groundbreaking shows such as "All in the Family," "The Jeffersons," and "Maude." He changed how Americans watched television. Lear is also a WWII veteran whose service in Europe shaped his views on democracy.

    Here's what he said about the importance of the First Amendment:

    "It is the sentence that most identifies America and the American promise. I think it's the primary one because it's the one that seeks to guarantee everybody has the right to speak their piece."

    Amendment II
    Right to bear arms
    Ratified: 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Read more about the Second Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Tig Notaro
    Tig Notaro
    Stand-up comic & actress

    Tig Notaro is a comedian known for mining her own life for material, including a famous stand-up routine she first delivered in 2012 called "Hello, I Have Cancer." She also wrote produced and starred in the Amazon Series "One Mississippi" which was based on her childhood.


    ADVERTISEMENT

    Amendment III
    Quartering soldiers
    Ratified: 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights

    No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

    Read more about the Third Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Kai Ryssdal
    Kai Ryssdal
    Journalist & radio host

    Kai Ryssdal is the host of Marketplace, a weekday radio program on public radio stations across the U.S. The show's goal is "to raise the economic intelligence of the country." Before going into radio, Rysdaal served in the Navy for eight years, and he worked in the foreign service.

    Amendment IV
    Search and seizure
    Ratified: 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Read more about the Fourth Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    BD Wong
    BD Wong
    Actor

    BD Wong is known for his acting, including a Tony Award-winning performance on Broadway in "M. Butterfly," and a long stint on TV's "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit." Currently, he's directing "The Great Leap" at the Pasadena Playhouse. The play centers on a real-life 1989 basketball game between the U.S. and China.

    Amendment V
    Double jeopardy, due process, self incrimination
    Ratified: 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Read more about the Fifth Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Penn Jillette
    Penn Jillette
    Magician

    Penn Jillette is a magician and entertainer best known for his work as half of Penn & Teller. Jillette is also an outspoken atheist and libertarian who got to know now-President Donald Trump when he twice appeared on his reality show "Celebrity Apprentice."

    Here's what he said about what the Fifth Amendment means to him:

    "This is a big hairy deal now, but at the time it was written it was mind-blowing. Thugs and bullies take stuff without a trial and force people to confess. Freedom means even the government has to play by the rules. Now, why is this amendment so important to me personally? Well, I respectfully invoke my rights under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution on the grounds that the answer may incriminate me."

    Amendment VI
    Rights of the accused
    Ratified: 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    Read more about the Sixth Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Danny Trejo
    Danny Trejo
    Actor

    Danny Trejo, who grew up in Echo Park, has made a career out of playing scary bad guys in hundreds of films. He himself admits to once being involved in a "very serious prison riot" and has talked about his time in prison and struggles with drugs.

    Here's what he said about what the Sixth Amendment means to him:

    "One of the reasons the Sixth Amendment is so important is that law enforcement could just lock you up. The minute you are arrested the clock is ticking. First of all, they have to get you to court in 72 hours, you know they can't just hold you. And if not, they have to kick you out. So basically if somebody has a piss against you, they can't just take you out and put you in jail."


    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Mark Ruffalo
    Mark Ruffalo
    Actor

    Mark Ruffalo has appeared in dozens of films. He recently told John Horn, host of KPCC's entertainment show The Frame, that his work on "Spotlight" led him to realize that movies can help change ills in society. That film won the Oscar for Best Picture for its portrayal of the true story of how the Boston Globe's investigative team uncovered a child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

    Get The Best Of LAist In Your Inbox

    Sign up for our daily newsletter to receive the latest on local politics, food, culture and the absurdities of L.A. life.

    Amendment VII
    Right to jury trial in civil lawsuits
    Ratified: 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Read more about the Seventh Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Shepard Fairey
    Shepard Fairey
    Artist & activist

    Shepard Fairey is a street artist best known for creating a red, white and blue "HOPE" campaign poster of Barack Obama. He and his wife, Amanda, have also been active in efforts to get more people to vote, including a 2016 campaign they dubbed #MakeAmericaSmartAgain.

    Amendment VIII
    Protections from excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishment
    Ratified: 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Read more about the Eighth Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Aubrey Plaza
    Aubrey Plaza
    Actress

    Aubrey Plaza is an actor best known for her roles on "Parks and Recreation" and "Legion". She hosted this year's Film Independent Spirit Awards. In an interview with The Daily Beast she said, "I'm always looking to do something different and experiment. I never want to do the same thing."

    Amendment IX
    Protection of unenumerated rights*
    Ratified: 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    Read more about the Ninth Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    BD Wong
    BD Wong
    Actor

    BD Wong is known for his acting, including a Tony Award-winning performance on Broadway in "M. Butterfly," and a long stint on TV's "Law and Order: SVU." Currently, he's directing "The Great Leap" at the Pasadena Playhouse. The play centers on a real-life 1989 basketball game between the U.S. and China.

    Amendment X
    Rights reserved to states or people
    Ratified: 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    Read more about the Tenth Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Mark Ruffalo
    Mark Ruffalo
    Actor

    Mark Ruffalo has appeared in dozens of films. He recently told John Horn, host of KPCC's entertainment show "The Frame," that his work on "Spotlight" led him to realize that movies can help change ills in society. That film won the Oscar for Best Picture for its portrayal of the true story of how the Boston Globe's investigative team uncovered a child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

    Amendment XI
    Lawsuits against states
    Ratified: 1795

    The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

    Read more about the 11th Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Peter Sagal
    Peter Sagal
    Radio host & humorist

    Peter Sagal is the longtime host of NPR's popular news quiz show Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me. In 2013, he hosted "Constitution USA with Peter Sagal," a PBS special that had him traveling the country on his motorcycle to explore why and how the Constitution remains relevant today.

    Amendment XII
    Election of the President and Vice-President
    Ratified: 1804

    The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.

    They shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.--The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; -- The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.] The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

    Read more about the 12th Amendment β†’


    ADVERTISEMENT

    Amendment XIII
    Abolished slavery
    Ratified: 1865

    Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Read more about the 13th Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    LeVar Burton
    LeVar Burton
    TV host & actor

    LeVar Burton won an Emmy for his portrayal of Kunta Kinte in the original "Roots" miniseries, and he is beloved for his role Geordi La Forge in "Star Trek: The Next Generation." He's earned a considerable reputation as an educator for his work on PBS's long-running "Reading Rainbow."

    Amendment XIV
    Citizenship rights, equal protection
    Ratified: 1868

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

    No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

    The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

    The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

    Read more about the 14th Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Peter Sagal
    Peter Sagal
    Radio host & humorist

    Peter Sagal is the longtime host of NPR's popular news quiz show "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me." In 2013, he hosted "Constitution USA with Peter Sagal," a PBS special that had him traveling the country on his motorcycle to explore why and how the Constitution remains relevant today.

    Amendment XV
    Right to vote not denied by race or previous enslavement
    Ratified: 1870

    The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude --

    Read more about the 15th Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    LeVar Burton
    LeVar Burton
    TV host & actor

    LeVar Burton won an Emmy for his portrayal of Kunta Kinte in the original "Roots" miniseries, and he is beloved for his role Geordi La Forge in "Star Trek: The Next Generation." He's earned a considerable reputation as an educator for his work on PBS's long-running "Reading Rainbow."

    Amendment XVI
    Federal income tax
    Ratified: 1913

    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

    Read more about the 16th Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Kai Ryssdal
    Kai Ryssdal
    Radio host

    Kai Ryssdal is the host of Marketplace, a business program that airs weekdays on U.S. public radio stations. He also co-hosts the spinoff podcast Make Me Smart with Molly Wood.

    Amendment XVII
    Election of senators
    Ratified: 1913


    The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

    When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

    This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

    Read more about the 17th Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Shepard Fairey
    Shepard Fairey
    Artist

    Shepard Fairey is a street artist best known for creating a red, white and blue "HOPE" campaign poster of Barack Obama. He and his wife, Amanda, have also been active in efforts to get more people to vote, including a 2016 campaign they dubbed #MakeAmericaSmartAgain.

    Amendment XVIII
    Prohibition of alcohol
    Ratified: 1919

    After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

    The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

    Read more about the 18th Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Peter Sagal
    Peter Sagal
    Radio host & humorist

    Peter Sagal is the longtime host of NPR's popular news quiz show "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me." In 2013, he hosted "Constitution USA with Peter Sagal," a PBS special that had him traveling the country on his motorcycle to explore why and how the Constitution remains relevant today.

    Amendment XIX
    Women's right to vote
    Ratified: 1920

    The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

    Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Read more about the 19th Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Roxane Gay
    Roxane Gay
    Writer & professor

    Roxane Gay is a best-selling author and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Among her books are "Difficult Women" and "Bad Feminist." She is known for her sharp cultural criticism and is a frequent speaker on college campuses.


    ADVERTISEMENT

    Amendment XX
    Presidential term of service, assembly of Congress
    Ratified: 1933

    The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

    The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

    If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

    The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

    Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

    This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

    Read more about the 20th Amendment β†’

    Amendment XXI
    Repeal of prohibition of alcohol
    Ratified: 1933

    The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

    The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

    This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

    Read more about the 21st Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Peter Sagal
    Peter Sagal
    Radio host & humorist

    Peter Sagal is the longtime host of NPR's popular news quiz show "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me." In 2013, he hosted "Constitution USA with Peter Sagal," a PBS special that had him traveling the country on his motorcycle to explore why and how the Constitution remains relevant today.

    Amendment XXII
    Established a two-term limit on presidency
    Ratified: 1951

    No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

    This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

    Read more about the 22nd Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Mark Ruffalo
    Mark Ruffalo
    Actor

    Mark Ruffalo has appeared in dozens of films. He recently told John Horn, host of KPCC's entertainment show "The Frame," that his work on "Spotlight" led him to realize that movies can help change ills in society. That film won the Oscar for Best Picture for its portrayal of the true story of how the Boston Globe's investigative team uncovered a child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

    Amendment XXIII
    Presidential vote for Washington, D.C. residents
    Ratified: 1961

    The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:

    A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

    The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Read more about the 23rd Amendment β†’

    Amendment XXIV
    Abolished poll taxes
    Ratified: 1964

    The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

    The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Read more about the 24th Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Bryan Cranston
    Bryan Cranston
    Actor

    Bryan Cranston is a Tony and Emmy award-winning actor. He won a Tony this year for his acting in "Network" -- praising the hard work of "real journalists" in his acceptance speech. "The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people," he said.

    Amendment XXV
    Presidential succession
    Ratified: 1967

    In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

    Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

    Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

    Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

    Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

    Read more about the 25th Amendment β†’

    Amendment XXVI
    Right to vote at age 18
    Ratified: 1971

    The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

    The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Read more about the 26th Amendment β†’

    Double-click the PLAY button below to start the audio.
    Norman Lear
    Norman Lear
    TV writer & producer

    Norman Lear produced many 1970s sitcoms such as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and Maude.

    Amendment XXVII
    Established when changes to Congressional pay can take effect
    Ratified: 1992

    No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

    Read more about the 27th Amendment β†’


    Photo credits (in order of appearance):

    TERRY GROSS by Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press; NORMAN LEAR by Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press; TIG NOTARO by Evan Agostini/Invision/Associated Press; KAI RYSSDAL by Dan Steinberg/Invision for Netflix/AP Images; BD WONG by Chris Pizzello/Invision/Associated Press; PENN JILLETTE by Dan Steinberg/Associated Press; MARK RUFFALO by John Bazemore/Associated Press; DANNY TREJO by Chris Pizzello/Invision/Associated Press; SHEPARD FAIREY by Mark Von Holden/Associated Press; AUBREY PLAZA by Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press; PETER SAGAL by Getty Images; LEVAR BURTON by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/Associated Press; ROXANE GAY by Getty Images; BRYAN CRANSTON by Getty Images.

    Royalty free music from https://www.fesliyanstudios.com