Brown University’s Corey Brettschneider has spent years studying constitutional law and the purpose and limits of the presidency. As the 2020 election draws near, he speaks with Fred about the likelihood of bringing back constraints to the most powerful office in the land, why the words in the oath of office matter, and what our current political climate reveals about civil liberties, civil rights and the constitutional powers of the three branches of government. 

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About Key Conversations

Key Conversations with Phi Beta Kappa is a podcast featuring in-depth conversations between Fred Lawrence, Secretary/CEO of Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars. With a new episode released monthly, each podcast invites listeners to take a seat at the table to learn more about the featured Scholar's background, research, and how they have taken their respective paths to where they are now, and where they are headed. 

Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America's most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students.​


Corey Brettschneider     

Corey Brettschneider is Professor of Political Science at Brown University, where he teaches constitutional law and politics, as well as visiting professor of law at Fordham Law School. Professor Brettschneider has also been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago Law School. His recent writing has appeared in the New York Times, Politico, and the Washington Post. His new book is The Oath and The Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents, which Kirkus calls “vital reading for all Americans.” Brettschneider is frequently interviewed about constitutional issues, including on MSNBC, BBC, Sirius XM, CNN, and NPR. He is also the author of When the State Speaks, What Should It Say? How to Protect Expression and Promote Equality (Princeton, 2012) and Democratic Rights: The Substance of Self-Government (Princeton, 2007). Brettschneider holds a PhD in Politics from Princeton and a JD from Stanford Law School.

Professor Brettschneider is the 2020-2021 Carl F. Cranor Visiting Scholar. 

Our Host

Our Host

Frederick M. Lawrence is the 10th Secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. An accomplished scholar, teacher and attorney, he is one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression, and bias crimes. Learn More.

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