Past episodes
About Uncommon Knowledge

For more than a decade the Hoover Institution has been producing Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, a series hosted by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson as an outlet for political leaders, scholars, journalists, and today’s big thinkers to share their views with the world. Guests have included a host of famous figures, including Paul Ryan, Henry Kissinger, Antonin Scalia, Rupert Murdoch, Newt Gingrich, and Christopher Hitchens, along with Hoover fellows such as Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz.

Uncommon Knowledge takes fascinating, accomplished guests, then sits them down with me to talk about the issues of the day,” says Robinson, an author and former speechwriter for President Reagan. “Unhurried, civil, thoughtful, and informed conversation– that’s what we produce. And there isn’t all that much of it around these days.”

The show started life as a television series in 1997 and is now distributed exclusively on the web over a growing network of the largest political websites and channels. To stay tuned for the latest updates on and episodes related to Uncommon Knowledge, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Uncommon Knowledge with guest Pamela S. Karlan

February 28, 2003 | Recorded on February 28, 2003

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: The Supreme Court and the Texas Homosexual Conduct Law

A case currently before the Supreme Court challenges the constitutionality of the Texas Homosexual Conduct Law, which in 1974 legalized heterosexual sodomy but not same-sex sodomy. Does the Texas law violate the constitutional rights of homosexuals, or are states permitted to pass such laws if they choose? If the Supreme Court does strike down the Texas law, what implications will that have for other civil rights that gays and lesbians are seeking, such as same-sex marriage?

November 14, 2001 | Recorded on November 14, 2001

DISORDER IN THE COURT: The Supreme Court and the 2000 Election

On December 12, 2000, the Supreme Court of the United States brought an end to thirty-six days of dramatic vote recounts and legal challenges in the state of Florida. The decision let stand the initial results of Florida's election, which gave the state's electoral votes, and thus the Presidency, to George W. Bush. What was the legal justification for the Supreme Court's decision? Should the Court have intervened in the first place? And what precedent did the Court create for future elections?

September 2, 1999 | Recorded on September 2, 1999

WHAT'S HATE GOT TO DO WITH IT? Hate Crime Statutes

Are hate crimes more serious than other crimes, requiring greater penalties, or are laws against them an unnecessary addition to the criminal code? Does hate crime legislation infringe on freedom of speech? Should congress extend hate crime statutes to cover more groups or should the federal government leave the issue up to the states?

June 25, 1998 | Recorded on June 25, 1998

PLAYING HARDBALL: The Best Way to Fight and Deter Crime

Fed up with crime, the public has demanded "get tough" laws, locking up more criminals, handing out longer sentences and calling for more executions. Is it working? Susan Estrich, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at University of Southern California, Charles L. Hobson, Atttorney, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation and Pamela Karlan, Professor of Law at Stanford University, give a lively presentation of different approaches to stopping crime.

June 25, 1998 | Recorded on June 25, 1998

JURY ON TRIAL: Reforming the Criminal Justice System

The American public has lost faith in our criminal justice system. Susan Estrich, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at University of Southern California, Charles L. Hobson, Atttorney, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation and Pamela Karlan, Professor of Law at Stanford University, take a critical look at justice in America and tell how to fix a system badly in need of repair.