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Former US Congressman & Professor
Mickey Edwards was a member of Congress for 16 years, serving on the House Budget and Appropriations Committees and as a chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. Read More >
After leaving Congress he taught for 11 years at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government before moving on first to Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and then back to Washington, DC, as vice president of the Aspen Institute, where he directs a bipartisan fellowship for elected public officials.
Edwards, who grew up in Oklahoma City, has degrees in both law and journalism. He began his career as a newspaper editor and reporter and later won awards in advertising and public relations before being elected to Congress. While teaching at Harvard he returned to journalism as a weekly political columnist for the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times and broadcast a weekly commentary on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”
Edwards is a board member of both the Constitution Project, where he has chaired task forces on judicial independence and the war power, and the Project on Government Oversight. He was a member of the American Bar Association’s select task force on the use of presidential signing statements and the American Society of International Law’s task force on the International Criminal Court and has chaired policy task forces for both the Brookings Institution and the Council on Foreign Relations. Edwards has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Among his books are Reclaiming Conservatism, published in 2008 by Oxford University Press, and The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans, published in 2013 by Yale University Press. His articles have appeared frequently in publications ranging from the New York Times and the Washington Post to Daedalus, The Public Interest, and the Atlantic. He is a frequent public speaker and has been a guest on many of the nation’s leading radio and television news and opinion broadcasts. Read Less ^
We are in the process of significant changes in our form of government, with the constitutional system set up by our founders increasingly misunderstood, ignored, or challenged. There is a persistent demand to change the supreme court to make it "responsive" to the majority views of the moment rather than ensuring that our laws adhere to the constitution. Edwards will explain that the President is not, actually, the 'head of government' (we don't have a "head of government"; he's the head of one of the three equal branches of government (one of the two "political" branches) Americans must understand that the constitution very expressly gives the President only two options when he receives legislation from congress -- veto it or make it the law. However, in reality we have become a system in which a President can simply declare the right to disobey the law (thus making ours a system more like those in a Venezuela or Pakistan or the old Soviet Union than the system of separated powers the founders created in order to protect our freedoms from the dangers of arbitrary rule). Read More >
Edwards warns that we are at a critical point in deciding whether we will continue to be "exceptional" in our preservation of a system that limits and divides power or whether we will be just another nation with a "leader" who will make our laws and decide when to send us to war. Read Less ^
"Mr. Edwards arrived on campus just after 5:00 p.m. to have dinner with 20 students of political science. He sat a table with five of those students for the meal itself, and when everyone was finished eating we had enough time to form a circle with our chairs and open the discussion up to the entire room. Mr. Edwards was very gracious with his time and more than happy to speak with the students, who were forthcoming with questions. I would like to reiterate how much we appreciated Mr. Edwards’ easy going nature and willingness to spend time engaging with our students. The evening went smoothly and was truly a valuable experience for all involved."
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