Sunday, July 12, 2020

SCOTUS - end of term

The U.S. Supreme Court has handed down the last cases for the October 2019 term. You can find NPR's Nina Totenberg and attorney Tom Goldstein's summary of the Court's year here. 5 min. 36 sec., transcript available soon.

Reports of some individual cases decided as the term ended can be found elsewhere on NPR:

More on the Oklahoma case from PBS (video) can be found here (4 min. 54 sec., transcript available).

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Prime Time at SCOTUS, part 2

The decision about abortion rights has been handed down. The 5-4 decision struck down a Louisiana law because it was almost identical to another law which the Court, four years ago, had said was unconstitutional. NPR's Nina Totenberg presents the decision here. 4 min. 52 sec., transcript available.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Prime Time at SCOTUS

It's June, prime time for the U.S. Supreme Court. So far this month, two very big decisions have been handed down, one about DACA and the other about LGBTQ rights.

DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama Executive Order protecting "Dreamers" or people who were brought to the United States illegally when they were young. The Trump administration sought to rescind this order, removing its protections, and was unsuccessful before the Court. Nina Totenberg presents the ruling here (4 min., 49 sec., transcript available). NPR has many personal stories about the effect of the ruling here.

The other big loss for the Trump administration was one involving the 1964 Civil Rights Act which, the Court held, protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. Totenberg presents the legal questions involved here (6 min., 52 sec. transcript available) just before oral arguments in the case in October. She is interviewed after the Courts ruling in the two cases here.
Longer presentations of these two cases can be found here (38 min, transcript available).

In Dalhia Lithwick's Slate podcast, Amicus, she presents these two "blockbuster" cases. She is joined by Luis Cortes Romero, the attorney and DACA recipient who was part of the team that prevailed in this week’s DACA ruling and later by Professor Pam Karlan about this week’s landmark LGBTQ employment rights case which Karlan argued before the Court (1h, 43 min. no transcript).

Still to come before then end of the SCOTUS term -- important cases about abortion rights and Trump's tax returns and financial records.


Monday, March 23, 2020

U.S. Constitution in a Series of Short Videos


To learn about the U.S. constitutional system, you can go to the National Constitution Center's collection of 27 educational videos. They are are short (from 2 to 20 minutes) and have subtitles.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Abortion before the U.S. Supreme Court - Again

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday March 3 in a case, June Medical Services v. Russo, concerning Louisiana legislation which makes abortion not illegal but much more difficult to obtain. In another case, only 4 years ago, the Court held that almost identical legislation in Texas created an undue burden on women seeking abortions because the result was that most clinics providing abortions would have to close because they could not meet the addition requirements. Lower courts had found these requirements would not in fact to make the procedure safer.
The case this year raises the question of stare decisis (or the rule of precedent) since the only thing that distinguishes the two cases is the composition of the Court, with two new justices known to be opposed to abortion rights.
Counsel for the state of Louisiana also raised a procedural question of standing, saying that the abortion clinic doctors cannot make the argument that the legislation is unconstitutional, only women seeking abortions have standing to do this.
NPR's legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg, presents the case here. 6 min., 50 sec.
Earlier reporting on NPR can be found here. 3 min., 49 sec., transcript available.
The NPR station in Boston's program, Here and Now, has an interview with Dahlia Lithwick, who writes about the Court for Slate, about the case here. 7 min., 14 sec., no transcript.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Impeachment on NPR

You might already be tired of hearing about impeachment, but in case you are not, here are some stories, short and long, that might help you understand what is going on in Washington. A short presentation can be found here (Your Senate Impeachment Trial Questions) 4 min 15 sec; a long presentation of the history of impeachments can be found here (Presidential Historians On What They're Watching For During The Senate Impeachment Trial) 46 min.
Nina Totenberg describes the role of the Chief Justice in an impeachment trial here. 6 min, 25 sec.
NPR's complete coverage of the impeachment can be found here.

Church and State before the U.S. Supreme Court

Even though Chief Justice John Roberts is busy in the afternoons presiding over the Trump impeachement trial, Supreme Court business continues in the mornings. NPR's legal correspondant, Nina Totenberg, reports on oral argument on January 22 before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case arising in Montana which has profound implications for the metaphorical wall between church and state in the U.S. 4 min 30 sec, transcript available.
Totenberg's more detailed report on this case which aired the day before oral argument can be found here. 7 min.
For more information on this case, Espinoza v. Montana, the National Constitution Center podcast We The People can be found here. 57 min., no transcript.