Dave Roland | St. Louis Public Radio

Dave Roland

Michael Wolff, at left, and Dave Roland joined the talk show on Wednesday.
St. Louis Public Radio & Dave Roland

All those hypothetical questions we love to debate around issues of privacy, freedom and other civil rights? Many of them feel a lot less theoretical these days.

The spread of coronavirus — and restrictions placed by the government on the public and private sectors in response — has given these questions a greater sense of urgency.

On Wednesday, St. Louis on the Air convened a conversation focused on COVID-19’s implications for government power and its limits as expressed in the U.S.’ founding documents.

Opponents of a new transmission line across northern Missouri sit in the rotunda of the Missouri Capitol on April 16, 2019.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A federal appeals court will hear arguments in St. Louis on Friday in a case that challenges the idea that unpaid lobbyists have to register with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

A divided panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in November that Ron Calzone, a conservative activist, had to fill out the required forms and pay a fine for failing to do so. In a rare move, all 12 judges of the court will reconsider the case.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The Freedom Center of Missouri has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of St. Louis over local regulations that prevent people from providing home-cooked meals to the homeless.

The suit alleges that the city policy violates the constitutional right to freely exercise religion, because it prevents people from following religious mandates to help others.

Attorneys for Bruce Franks, Penny Hubbard, and employees with the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners examine absentee ballot envelopes during a court hearing on Sept. 1, 2016.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments Monday afternoon on whether voters in the 78th House District in St. Louis will get a chance to vote again.

Right now, the do-over Democratic primary is scheduled for Friday. It is one of the fastest turn-arounds the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners has ever faced.

Most of the briefs for the case have already been filed, so we've got a sense of what lawyers for incumbent Penny Hubbard and challenger Bruce Franks will say to the appeals court panel.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Five U.S. Supreme Court justices seemed ready on Wednesday to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but they didn’t agree on the reason.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the swing justice, suggested that the law denying federal benefits to same-sex couples “intertwined” the federal government with “the citizens’ day-to-day life” in a way that violated federalism by interfering with the states’ power to regulate marriage, divorce and custody.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 13, 2012If President Barack Obama has a chance to replace one of the five Republican-appointed justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, he could bring about significant constitutional change and create the most liberal Supreme Court since the famous Warren Court of the 1960s.

What place do protests Occupy in the Constitution?

Nov 28, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 28, 2011 - Occupy Wall Street protesters have a First Amendment right to protest in a public park, but they don't have the right to camp overnight or to physically block police officers trying to remove their tents. If officers try to forcibly remove protesters, the police may use reasonable, but not excessive force.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 2, 2011 - The standing-room-only crowd of Tea Party activists listened in rapt silence while two prominent local conservatives debated the best way to press for governmental change: election or constitutional convention?

At issue at Tuesday night's forum in Clayton was the push, nationally and in Missouri, for a constitutional amendment to allow states to repeal federal laws and mandates.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 28, 2010 -  The federal health-reform train began rolling across America this summer, dropping off benefits at every stop along the way, offering coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, giving added protection to young people about to be removed from their parents' health plans, and setting up temporary high-risk pools for some unable to buy affordable insurance.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 23, 2010 - If the U.S. Supreme Court were to strike down the new health-care law, it would have to reverse the modern interpretation of federal power that has existed since the Great Depression. Such a judicial counter-revolution could result in the kind of confrontation between the court and the president that occurred during the New Deal.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 22, 2010 - A constitutional showdown over federal mandates and higher Medicaid bills for states may be among the long-term consequences of the U.S. House's approval of the bill to extend coverage to the uninsured, experts in Missouri say.