Legendary Supreme Court Correspondent Nina Totenberg discusses her fifty-year career as a reporter covering some of the most important Supreme Court decisions of our time. As a front-row witness to history, with unique access to Supreme Court Justices and Washington D.C. policymakers, Nina joins SideBar cohosts Jackie Gardina and Mitch Winick to discuss the importance of building relationships - with the Court - within the Court - and most importantly, with the public. Along with Susan Stamberg, Cokie Roberts, and Linda Wertheimer, Nina was one of the "Four Mothers of National Public Radio" who laid the foundation of one of the most respected news organizations in America.
If You Think Democracy is Guaranteed, Think Again! David Pepper, the author of Laboratories of Autocracy: A Wake-Up Call from Behind the Lines and Saving Democracy: A User’s Manual for Every American joins SideBar as both its inaugural guest (12/22) and as the final guest for Season 1 (12/23). Although there were shocking attacks on democracy in 2023, David reminds us that there are also signs of hope . . . and that we all have a critical role to play in the battle for democracy.
Is “vigilante federalism” the new weapon in battles over abortion, religion sexuality, gender, and race? David Noll, co-author of Vigilante Federalism, lawyer, columnist, and Rutgers law professor joins SideBar co-hosts law school deans Jackie Gardina and Mitch Winick as they discuss whether the spread of private subordination laws thwart the democratic system, erase longstanding constitutional rights, and reflect an alarming move toward national vs. state regulatory power.
We are facing a crisis in the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. Dahlia Lithwick is a regular contributor at MSNBC and senior editor at Slate. She has been writing the "Supreme Court Dispatches" and "Jurisprudence" columns since 1999. Her most recent publication is Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America. She is aalso the host of Amicus, Slate’s award-winning biweekly podcast about the law and the Supreme Court.
Artificial Intelligence - Who do You Trust? Professor Orly Lobel is the Director of the Center for Employment and Labor Law, and founding member of the Center for Intellectual Property Law and Markets at the University of San Diego. Author of The Equality Machine: Harnessing Tomorrow’s Technologies for a Brighter, More Inclusive Future, Lobel argues that digital technology frequently has a comparative advantage over humans in detecting discrimination, correcting historical exclusions, subverting long-standing stereotypes, and addressing the world’s thorniest problems.
Threats to free speech and expression are reaching into higher education, K-12 education, and even our public libraries. Suzanne Nossel currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of PEN America, the leading human rights and free expression organization. She is author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All. She has served as the Chief Operating Officer of Human Rights Watch and as Exec. Director of Amnesty International USA. Nossel is a featured columnist and has published op-eds and scholarly articles on the topics of free speech and expression.
Do states need to take steps to protect against the criminalization of women’s reproductive rights and access to healthcare? California Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks discusses California’s legislative response to the Supreme Court’s Dobb’s decision that overturned Roe v. Wade as well as the power of state legislatures to counter legislative overreach. Wicks has championed solutions to solve California's housing and homelessness crisis, expanding the state’s social safety net, championing the rights of women and working families, protecting consumers, and reducing gun violence in our communities.
Is the American judicial system losing the public’s respect and trust? Indiana University Law Professor Charles Geyh, author of Courting Peril: The Political Transformation of the American Judiciary and Who Is to Judge? The Perennial Debate Over Whether to Elect or Appoint America’s Judges joins SideBar co-hosts law school deans Jackie Gardina and Mitch Winick to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the American judicial system. Professor Geyh shares his expertise as a national and international expert in judicial ethics, selection, and impeachment.
Is Conservative Christian Discrimination Now a Protected Class?
Law Professor Nomi Stolzenberg discusses the US Supreme Court’s consideration of Conservative Christian ideology as a new protected class under the First Amendment. Seven of the nine members of the Supreme Court are Catholic or raised Catholic. How does this potentially affect the decisions being handed down by the Supreme Court? Stolzenberg is the author of "Righting the Relationship Between Race and Religion in Law" and other books and articles on religion and the law.
Supreme Court Justices Behaving Badly - What Has History Taught Us? with Judge Margaret McKeown. Federal Judge Margaret McKeown discusses her book on U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, the longest-serving Supreme Court justice from 1939 to 1975. Justice Douglas is often remembered for his four wives, as a potential vice-presidential nominee, and as a target of impeachment proceedings for receiving private funds and alleged conflicts of interest. However, his most enduring legacy is perhaps his advocacy for the environment.
What is the High Road? Are we willing to pursue a more equitable, sustainable, and democratic society? University of Wisconsin-Madison Law Professor Joel Rogers challenges government, community members, and businesses to work together on innovations that lift up workers, use natural resources and human capital more efficiently, and foster equity, justice, and democracy for all people. His books include The Hidden Election, On Democracy, Right Turn, Metro Futures, Associations and Democracy, Works Councils, Working Capital, What Workers Want, Cites at Work, and American Society: How It Really Works.
Who is "Whispering" in the Supreme Court's Ears? Professors Morgan Hazelton and Rachael Hinkle have published a fascinating book on one of the mysteries behind Supreme Court decision-making. "Persuading the Supreme Court: The Significance of Briefs in Judicial Decision-Making" combines research of 25,000 briefs filed between 1984 and 2015 to shed light on one of the more mysterious and consequential features of Supreme Court cases. Both professors have J.D. and Ph.D. degrees and combine unique academic expertise in judicial politics, judicial process, and analytical methods.
America's struggle for racial justice in the 21st Century. Peniel E. Joseph is a scholar, teacher, and public voice on issues related to race, citizenship, and democracy. He is the author of The Third Reconstruction - America's Struggle for Racial Justice in the Twenty-First Century. His university appointments at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas include Inaugural Associate Dean for Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, and the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values.
“Can We Trust this Supreme Court with the Constitution?” SideBar Cohosts Jackie Gardina and Mitch Winick discuss the Constitution, Access to Justice, and the Supreme Court with Elie Mystal. The indomitable, outspoken, brilliant, and thoughtful Elie Mystal, author, columnist, and commentator, joins cohosts Jackie Gardina and Mitch Winick to discuss his book “Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution”. In this wide-ranging conversation, Mystal challenges our thinking about how judges should be selected, the myth of judicial ethics, and the false narrative of "originalism".
Technology as the great equalizer in access to justice. Nicole Clark is an attorney, entrepreneur, and co-founder and CEO of Trellis.Law, a scalable legal analytics platform that she believes helps democratize access for state trial court data. A graduate of Rutgers Law School , Clark has practiced as a litigation attorney specializing in business litigation and labor and employment matters. Clark has authored articles for the ABA Journal, New York Law Journal, Texas Lawyer, and Santa Barbara Lawyer. She is also regularly featured as a legal expert and podcast guest on topics related to legal technology.
Are we making progress in our historic justice system disparities? Thaddeus Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice & Criminology at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. An expert in policing, crime control, and governance equity, he has conducted extensive research on police lethality and coercion, street violence, recidivism, algorithmic and predictive bias, and correctional control. Johnson is the co-author of the recently published national study: Justice System Disparities: Black-White National Imprisonment Trends 2000 to 2020 .
Is it "Race" for Success that is before the Supreme Court? Two cases this Supreme Court term involve the question of whether colleges and universities can use race as a factor in their admissions. Damon T. Hewitt, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has more than 20 years of civil rights litigation and policy experience. The Lawyer's Committee argued in defense of current law that allows certain race conscious admission policies. Hewitt joins SideBar to explain why the substantial benefits of diversity are at risk without affirmative action.
Why Do We (Still) Fail to Respect Women Under the Constitution? Professor Julie Suk, author of After Misogyny: How the Law Fails Women and What to Do About It, discusses the legal and economic framework that fails to fairly recognize and value women's work. The U.S. remains a leader in unequal pay, no pay, inadequate support for childcare, healthcare, and social services, and irregular parental leave policies and protections. Professor Suk explains how other countries have enacted constitutional protections and inclusive lawmaking processes that result in more equitable outcomes for women.
Is the Supreme Court Amassing Unconstitutional Power? Professor Stephen Vladeck, author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Shadow Docket: How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic, discusses how the Supreme Court has dramatically expanded the use of the little known - and poorly understood - "Shadow Docket" to approve unconstitutional voting processes, abortion bans, restrictive immigration policies, and expanded religious liberties. Vladeck is a CNN Supreme Court analyst and cohosts a national security law podcast.
The Best Beloved Thing is Justice. Professor and Dean Emerita Lisa Kloppenberg, author of The Best Beloved Thing is Justice: The Life of Dorothy Wright Nelson discusses her mentor, colleague, and friend. Judge Nelson was a trailblazer for women in the legal profession. She was one of only two women in her class at the UCLA School of Law and one of the first 14 female tenure-track law professors in the United States. She became one of the first women to lead an American law school as Dean of USC Gould School of Law and later became a distinguished jurist on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Crimmigration: The Criminalization of Immigration Law. Professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, author of Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants and Crimmigration Law discusses the United States’ reliance on prisons to enforce immigration law. He is also the author of the upcoming book Welcome the Wretched: In Defense of the Criminal Alien, a book about the effects of using criminal history to decide who can live in the United States. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, and elsewhere.
Are Lies and Liars Protected by the First Amendment? Professor and Cybersecurity expert Jeff Kosseff, author of Liar in a Crowded Theater: Freedom of Speech in a World of Misinformation examines and defends constitutional protection for false speech. "It's the listener and the reader who gets to choose, not the Government!" says Jeff. His dire warning is that "Once we give away our freedom of speech, we are unlikely to get it back." Jeff is also the author of "The United States of Anonymous: How the First Amendment Shaped Online Speech" and "The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet."
When Religious Ideology and Public Health Collide - We All Lose!
The COVID pandemic exposed weaknesses in our public health system and exposed the lack of trust in science and government. The change in the Supreme Court’s interpretation of public health law has been equally startling . . . overturning 100+ years of public protection by granting religious ideology priority over science. Northeastern University Law Professor Wendy Parmet also serves as the Faculty Director of the University's Center for Health Policy and Law and is the author of Constitutional Contagion: Covid, the Courts and Public Health.
How Did the Police Become Untouchable?
UCLA Law Professor Joanna Schwartz, author of Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable, explains how courts have constructed multiple legal barriers to holding police accountable, making it nearly impossible for victims of police misconduct to obtain damages or to seek changes to police department practices and policies. It is a complicated issue, confounded by racial, ethic, and societal stereotypes, police union and labor law issues, community fear, and in some cases political exploitation. In the end, she offers steps to dismantle some of these barriers and improve public safety.
Can We Protect Democracy from AI and Deepfakes?
Disinformation and deepfakes, accelerated by Artificial Intelligence (AI), pose an existential threat to our democracy and elections, and as a country, we are simply not ready says The California Institute for Technology and Democracy (CITED). Drew Liebert, Institute Director and Jonathan Mehta Stein, Institute Chair, believe that what is needed is an impartial source for policymakers, the press, and the public that will provide expertise related to AI regulation as it applies to campaign communication and election integrity.
How Important is the Diversity of Our Appellate Courts in Defining Justice?
Appellate courts decide what our laws mean and how they affect all aspects of our personal lives: our ability to vote, how we are policed, our religious freedom, the quality of our education, our workplaces, healthcare, immigration protections, and much more. Yet people of color remain greatly underrepresented as both appellate attorneys and judges. Juvaria Khan, founder of The Appellate Project discusses the importance of diversity of lived experience in defining equity and fairness in judicial decision-making.
Maintaining Democracy Requires Meaningful Access to Justice Access to an ethically based justice system not only protects free and fair elections, but also impacts the rights that affect our everyday lives. In this episode of SideBar, Professor and Author Renee Knake Jefferson calls for lawyers and judges, including the US Supreme Court, to further commit to ethical access to justice. Jefferson is a law professor and an award-winning author. Her most recent book, Law Democratized: A Blueprint for Solving the Justice Crisis, hit the shelves in January 2024.
Shouldn't We Expect Transparency, Diversity, and Accountability in the Judiciary and the Legal Profession?
Aliza Shatzman is the President and Founder of The Legal Accountability Project (LAP), a nonprofit aimed at ensuring that law clerks have positive clerkship experiences, while extending support and resources to those who do not. Through advocacy, thought leadership, and innovative legal technology, Aliza and The Legal Accountability Project works to increase transparency, diversity, and accountability in judicial clerkships, the judiciary, and the legal profession.
A Real Right to Vote: How a Constitutional Amendment Can Safeguard American Democracy Professor Richard L. Hasen is an internationally recognized expert in election law, writing as well in the areas of legislation and statutory interpretation, remedies, and torts. He is co-author of leading casebooks in election law and remedies. Hasen served in 2020 as a CNN Election Law Analyst and as an NBC News/MSNBC Election Law Analyst in 2022. He directs UCLA Law’s Safeguarding Democracy Project.
How Extremists Stole the Constitution and How We the People Can Take It Back Madiba K. Dennie is an attorney, columnist, author, and professor whose work focuses on fostering an equitable multiracial democracy. Dennie is the Deputy Editor and Senior Contributor at the critical legal commentary outlet Balls and Strikes. In her previous role as a counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, she provided legal and policy analysis regarding a range of democracy issues including the census, the courts, and attempts to disempower communities of color.
We (Who Are Not) the People: Interpreting the Undemocratic Constitution Law Professors Joy Milligan and Bertrall Ross discuss how we should interpret a Constitution that was not written for “We the people”. It excluded women and racial minorities and all but a few amendments were adopted amidst profoundly undemocratic conditions in which the majority of the population did not participate. They challenge us to address the fundamental undemocratic nature of the U.S. Constitution.
Female Genius: Eliza Harriot and George Washington at the Dawn of the Constitution Professor Mary Sarah Bilder teaches at Boston College Law School in the areas of American legal and constitutional history. Her recent scholarship focuses on the early history of the Constitution. Bilder's scholarship and expertise have been featured on the History Channel, and she has spoken at the National Archives, Library of Congress, National Constitution Center, and Museum of the American Revolution.
Policing The Womb: Invisible Women & the Criminalization of Motherhood Professor Michelle Goodwin is credited with helping to establish and shape the health law field. She is an acclaimed bioethicist, constitutional law scholar, and prolific author. Her scholarship appears in the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Chicago Law Review, Cornell Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, California Law Review, Michigan Law Review, New York Law Review, and Northwestern Law Review.
Untouchable: How Powerful People Get Away with It Elie Honig is an attorney, author, and CNN Legal Analyst who leverages his prosecutorial and trial experience to offer informed commentary on timely legal and government issues. A former New Jersey and federal prosecutor with extensive experience leading and managing criminal trials and appeals, Honig provides strategic advice to individuals and businesses in government-facing investigations as well as counsel on internal investigations.