Thursday, May 18, 2017

Presidential Power in the U.S.

NPR’s All Things Considered of May 16 look at the legal questions around President Trump’s use of executive power and its challenges in the courts can be found here. Various law professors give their views on the issue. 3 min 47 sec, transcript available.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Landmark Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court Explained

Heightened Scrutiny is a new podcast about the Supreme Court's landmark civil rights cases created by a self-described « attorney and professor who suffers from an incurable obsession with the Supreme Court and constitutional law. » The landmark cases featured so far are Roe v. Wade (abortion), Texas v. Johnson (flag burning and free speech), Loving v. Virginia (law forbidding marriage between blacks and whites), Kelo v. New London (eminent domain), Bowers v. Hardwick (anti-sodomy law), Lawrence v. Texas (anti-sodomy law), Employment Division v. Smith (peyote and religious freedom). 30 to 40 minutes, no transcript.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Sex and the U.S. Constitution

Geoffrey Stone, professor of law at the University of Chicago, has just published a book, Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century. You can find a video of an interview with Stone at the National Constitution Center here. 1 h, no transcript.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Way the U.S. Separates Church and State

NPR’s Nina Totenberg reports on a case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this week, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, about whether the state of Missouri can refuse to help a Lutheran preschool rubberize its playground. The Missouri Supreme Court has barred giving state aid to a school that is owned or controlled by a church where the applicant's mission is spiritual in nature. Last week, before the case was argued, the Missouri governor announced that from now on religious groups will be eligible for grants similar to the one at issue in this case, perhaps making the dispute moot. 7 min.
Totenberg reports here on the oral arguments. You can listen to the arguments (58 min) yourself here (transcript available).

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Testamentary Freedom in the UK

In the case of Ilott v. The Blue Cross before the UK Supreme Court, a daughter had contested her mother’s will which left her nothing and everything to several charities, invoking the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act. A good summary of the case can be found here.
The UK Supreme Court handed down a judgment March 15. You can watch the judgment summary delivered by Lord Hughes here. The press summary prepared by the court can be found here. The full judgment can be found here. You can even watch the morning and afternoon sessions of the hearing of 12 December.
The Role of the U.S. Senate in the Appointment of a Supreme Court Justice

C-Span has put online a « classroom deliberations » presentation about the role of the U.S. Senate during the Supreme Court confirmation process which you can find here. It has short videos, articles, a lesson plan, vocabulary preview, prepared questions, a note-taking chart and deliberation activities.
NPR yesterday had an update about the progress of the nomination including the possibility of a filibuster. 6 min 13 sec, transcript available.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Advice about Legal Writing and Oral Advocacy

Legal English in Hong Kong has produced a series of short interviews about legal writing and oral advocacy. Particularly interesting is the advice from The Honourable Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, current Chief Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal. Part one of his advice is here, 8 min, subtitles, transcript available. Part two is here, 4 min, subtitles, transcript available. Spoiler: the short answer to the question of what makes good legal writing is brevity.