“The Battle for the Constitution”—The Atlantic Launches Project in Partnership with National Constitution Center

This project will cover issues from a constitutional perspective and answer many of the fundamental questions now being asked about our system

Today, with our constitutional system again being tested as the House begins an impeachment inquiry into the president, The Atlantic and the National Constitution Center are launching a new project, The Battle for the Constitution.” This project will cover issues from a constitutional rather than a political perspective—convening leading scholars and a diversity of voices to explore the issues and controversies surrounding the Constitution, and answer many of the fundamental questions now being asked about our system.

These themes will take center stage during an event to kick off the initiative this evening at The Atlantic Festival in Washington, D.C., which will include interviews with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX). The event will be live streamed. To request press credentials, please email The Atlantic’s communications team at press@theatlantic.com

Longtime Atlantic editor Rebecca Rosen will be The Atlantic’s first Constitution editor. She will work in collaboration with National Constitution Center President Jeffrey Rosen (no relation) to identify writers for the project. Drawing from the publication’s founding principle of being of “no party or clique,” as Constitution editor Rebecca Rosen will guide the initiative’s nuanced coverage of the Constitution’s role in defining areas like executive power, freedom of speech, privacy, and voting rights. She was previously senior editor overseeing The Atlantic’s Education reporting and its Family section, which launched in March 2018. Before that, Rosen edited business coverage from 2014-2018.

“This is obviously a hugely important subject, one that is absolutely central to The Atlantic’s meaning and purpose, and I’m very happy that an editor of Becca’s gifts, intellectual throw-weight, and deep Atlantic experience, will be taking on the role of Constitution editor,” editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in a note to staff.

The initiative kicks off today with an introduction by Goldberg and an essay by Jeffrey Rosen, in which he traces the four battles for the Constitution in American history that underscore the constitutional stakes in the 2020 election and beyond. Rosen argues that we are in the middle of the fourth battle for the Constitution, which, like the previous three battles, has concerned the nature and scope of executive and congressional power.

The Battle for the Constitution” is part of the ongoing expansion of The Atlantic’s Ideas section. In the year since its launch, under editor Yoni Appelbaum’s direction, Ideas has gone toe-to-toe with the country’s top opinion pages by offering sharp perspectives, essays, and arguments that drive the national conversation. Ideas has quickly become a home for some of the top writing talent in the world—led by Atlantic staff writers, with contributions from elected officials and leaders shaping every industry—and a must-read for millions of readers.

The project’s landing page features the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution, an educational platform which brings together the leading legal scholars in America from diverse perspectives to write about every clause of the Constitution, exploring areas of agreement and disagreement. It will also host the National Constitution Center’s weekly podcast of constitutional debate, We the People, which convenes liberal and conservative scholars to discuss historical and constitutional issues in the news.


About The Atlantic

Founded in 1857 and today one of the fastest growing media platforms in the industry, The Atlantic has throughout its history championed the power of big ideas and continues to shape global debate across print, digital, events, video, and audio platforms. With its award-winning digital presence TheAtlantic.com and CityLab.com on cities around the world, The Atlantic is a multimedia forum on the most critical issues of our times—from politics, global, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. Bob Cohn is president of The Atlantic and Jeffrey Goldberg is editor in chief. Emerson Collective is majority owner; Atlantic Media is the minority operating owner of The Atlantic.

About the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia brings together people of all ages and perspectives, across America and around the world, to learn about, debate, and celebrate the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. A private, nonprofit organization, the Center serves as America’s leading platform for constitutional education and debate, fulfilling its congressional charter “to disseminate information about the U.S. Constitution on a nonpartisan basis.” As the Museum of We the People, the Center brings the Constitution to life for visitors of all ages through interactive programs and exhibits. As America’s Town Hall, the Center brings the leading conservative and liberal thought leaders together to debate the Constitution on all media platforms. As a Headquarters for Civic Education, the Center delivers the best educational programs and online resources that inspire citizens and engage all Americans in learning about the U.S. Constitution. For more information, call 215-409-6700 or visit constitutioncenter.org.


Anna Bross and Hugo Rojo, The Atlantic


Annie Stone, National Constitution Center