Episode 32 – Decisions, Please!

In less than a month, the Supreme Court’s 2017-2018 Term will end – in a flurry of high-profile, controversial and contentious decisions.  Still undecided cases when this podcast was recorded probe the constitutionality of the Trump Administration Travel ban, the legitimacy of a baker declining on religious grounds to make…

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Episode 31 – Wanna Bet?

The Court’s mid-May decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association got substantial news coverage because of the outcome.  A six-justice majority in Murphy invalidated the 1990’s Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which had prevented state and local governments from operating sports-betting schemes or authorizing private casinos and individuals…

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Episode 30 – It’s Not Just Politics

If you follow Supreme Court decision-making – and, after all, if you listen to this podcast – you’ve probably noticed the tendency of Supreme Court watchers, whether they are highly respected reporters or less thoughtful armchair pundits, to portray decisions as simple battles between “conservatives” and “liberals.”  Yet, attributing Supreme…

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Episode 29 – They Say Jump…

Lawyers and laypersons alike can fall into the habit of thinking that, once the Supreme Court rules on the meaning and application of the Constitution, that settles the matter. Sure, we remember President Eisenhower having to send national-guard troops into Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce a school desegregation order.  And…

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Episode 28 – Guns, Young Adults & The Constitution

The tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida shined a bright spotlight on the fact that 18-, 19- & 20-year olds can buy assault weapons in many states, even though they can’t purchase alcohol and exercise other privileges. Bills to raise the minimum-age for some weapons purchases are being seriously discussed…

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Episode 27 – A Dissenting Voice on Gun Rights

Last month, while many Americans were agonized and outraged over students killed and injured by an automatic-weapon-toting shooter at a Parkland, Florida high school, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas did something only a life-tenured jurist who doesn’t have to run for reelection could do – complain about too much gun…

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Episode 26 – Compelled to Speak

It’s not unusual that this Supreme Court Term has several cases about First Amendment protection for freedom of speech.   What IS unusual is that not one, not two, but three cases on the docket relate to a specialized, and somewhat obscure corner of Free Speech jurisprudence. I refer to…

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Episode 25 – Arbitrary & Capricious

If you followed the news on January 9th -- and I KNOW that this podcast’s listeners are very well informed! -- you know that Northern-California-based U.S. District Judge William Alsup issued a preliminary injunction ordering the Trump Administration to revive the DACA program (the Obama-era scheme of deferred deportation for…

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Episode 24 – Federalism Fights Pt 3

Having devoted both of last month’s podcasts to aspects of “Federalism,” I certainly didn’t plan on returning to the subject so soon. But a podcast committed to how the latest controversies showcase the context behind key constitutional dynamics just can’t pass up the teaching moment afforded by Attorney General Sessions’…

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Episode 23 – Federalism Fights Pt 2: Is it “Commandeering”?

The first Part of this month’s podcast explained the ongoing challenge posed by the Framers’ decision to make “federalism” a key pillar of the constitutional system they pioneered almost 240 years ago.  That podcast noted that, as in many recent-past years, the current Supreme Court Term features a federalism issue…

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