Intelligence Squared Debates

Airs Sunday, June 28, at 6 p.m.A recent Gallup poll found that Americans are still largely supportive of the death penalty, with 6 in 10 in favor as punishment for murder. At the heart of the debate are many complicated questions. Within a flawed criminal justice system, is it possible to know every person’s guilt with a sufficient degree of certainty? Does the fear of death reduce crime? Are some crimes so heinous in nature that punishment by death is the only appropriate measure, or is capital punishment always immoral?

Airs Sunday, May 3, at 6 p.m. Recent cancelations of conservative speakers, rescinded honorary degrees, and scrutiny of certain campus groups have heightened perceptions that there is pervasive liberal intolerance on campuses. Are liberals shutting down speech and debate on campus? Or is this theory a myth, based on the preponderance of liberals at universities rather than intentionally discriminatory actions? The debaters are Greg Lukianoff, Angus Johnston, Kirsten Powers, and Jeremy Mayer.

Airs Sunday, January 4 at 6 p.m. Some say that indiscriminate collection of U.S. phone records is a gross invasion of privacy.  Others say that it is necessary to keep us safe.  But what does the U.S Constitution say?  Is collection of phone records a “search” or “seizure?"  If so, is it “unreasonable?"  Does it require a particularized warrant and probable cause?  These are among the most consequential — and controversial — constitutional questions of our time.  Arguing for the motion are Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney for the ACLU's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project; and Elizabeth Wydra, Chief Counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center. Arguing against the motion are: Stewart Baker, Former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security & Former General Counsel for the NSA; and John Yoo, a Professor of Law at UC Berkeley & Former Justice Department Lawyer.

Airs Sunday, August 24 at 6 p.m. For democracy to work, some say, citizens (and corporations, and unions, and media outlets, and other voluntary organizations) must be allowed to spend as much money as they wish to express their views on the issues, candidates, and elections of the day. But others take the view that if everyone can spend as much money as they like to express their political views, then some voices will be amplified while others will be all but drowned out.

Airs Sunday, June 1 at 6 p.m. With the drone strike on accused terrorist and New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, President Obama has tested the limits of the executive branch’s powers. Does the president have constitutional authority under the due process clause to kill U.S. citizens abroad, or is it a violation of this clause to unilaterally decide to target and kill Americans?