With President Donald Trump signing a new executive order what feels like every day, it’s important to stay informed of all things legal. Here are eight podcasts on law, order, and the chaos in the courts, covering aerial property rights to incarceration.
Sidenote: I’m still looking to feature diverse and emerging voices. Themes vary and change each week. Please keep sending me podcast episodes that have made you ears super, duper happy. I’m into all the podcasts, folks, not the ones just from last week or last month. Have a favorite podcast episode from 2010 or 2011? It’s not too old! The best of podcasts don’t expire.
We’re addicted to More Perfect. We’re praying, hoping, wishing that one day we’ll wake up and new episodes will magically appear in our iTunes. Its hosts go to great lengths to explains the nuts and bolts of American legal history. They excel at telling the stories of the people, whose cases make it to the Supreme Court. This episode is a tale of judicial empowerment; it digs into how a black man accused of robbery, James Kirkland Batson, fought against race-based jury selection. Tune in if phrases like “totes illegal” turn you on. Shout-out to WNYC for providing fantastic supplementary material on the episode’s website.
Line of note: “Not preemptory. Peremptory. Depending on how you punch it into Google, it’ll be like, that’s a typo son.”
We already know that Merriam Webster has one of the wittiest, most wondrous Twitter feeds out there, but, this week we learned that they have a podcast too! It probes some of the most important polysyllables out there. This episode tackles a word that has carried a lot of weight in systems of justice in the United States.
Line of note: “Carceral is an adjective meaning of, relating to, or suggesting a jail or prison.”
So-called Judges and Framing the Neil Gorsuch Debate
What does it mean if you’re called a “so-called judge” by a sitting U.S. president? To what extent is Trump’s vernacular damaging the future and integrity of the American judiciary? Don’t know where to start? Have no fear, the hosts of Advice and Consent are here to help and guide us through the swampland known as the Supreme Court. They give us the deets—the good, the bad, the ugly—on Neil Gorsuch.
Line of note: “I was just pulling up what happened in 1986, when Scalia was confirmed. Top Gun was the top movie of the year. Things have changed since then.”
The Case Against the Case Against Confirmation
Yes, this episode has a super wordy title, and that’s alright. And yes, this episode is from April 2016. But, you know, we’ve had a bumpy week, and it’s a good day to travel back in time. Here’s the thing about Dahlia Lithwick; she is a rock star, who knows more about the Supreme Court’s history than most of us. In this episode, she talks to University of Chicago Law School professor Geoffrey R. Stone about the fate and future of Scalia’s vacant seat.
Line of note: “There’s nothing explicit in the Constitution that requires the Senate either to have a hearing. Indeed, for much of our history the Senate didn’t have hearings on Supreme Court nominations.”
Lightning Round: Who Is Judge Merrick Garland?
This podcast might not blow your socks off, but it’s got a short and succinct biography of Judge Merrick Garland. We aren’t likely to hear much more about him in the weeks ahead, but Garland still represents a chapter of Supreme Court history. This is his story.
Line of note: “Today, we explore the question: who is Merrick Garland?”
Who Owns the Air?
We suggest you take a dive into the dark and mysterious world of aerial property rights. This podcast episode is for hobbyists, lawyers, drone owners, drone lovers, and I might add, drone haters. The host of this show, Steve Hogan, is a lawyer with Ausley McMullen, a Floridian firm that represents drone companies all around the United States. He’s fond of many things: drones, the word “awesome,” and federal drone law. We listened to Hogan’s episode because domestic drones scare the bejesus out of us sometimes. Figuring out the rights of landowners and drone operators is a fickle feat. This episode looks at the nitty, gritty of property rights and aerial trespass.
Line of note: “With a drone, navigable airspace is anything potentially!”
But Mattis, but the World, but the Law, but Bureaucracy…
David Rothkopf is CEO and editor of the Foreign Policy Group. He’s hilariously witty, and he still has hope. He’s what some on the show call a “beautiful optimist.” You don’t need to be a beautiful optimist to enjoy this episode. You just need to care a wee bit about the rule of law. Together, David Rothkopf, Kori Schake, Julia Ioffe, and Susan Hennessey look at the world beyond Trump. Which countries might act rationally in the face of chaos? Who in Trump’s administration might prove to be a rational leader? What does it mean to be rational in the 21st century in America? No one really knows the answers to all of these questions, but this panel makes a valiant effort to decipher not just the state of the nation, but also the state of the world.
Line of note: “The Chinese are nothing if not rational actors. They don’t want to see the system blown up.”
Trump’s Travel Ban Is Bad for Your Health
Bill Newman, director of the ACLU’s western Massachusetts office, has a podcast show. His episodes last one minute long. His latest episode tackles how Trump’s latest travel ban might impact the quality of healthcare in the United States. It’s short, to be sure, but is jam-packed with data and deliberate thought.
Line of note: “Practicing medicine in America today are more than 15,000 doctors from the seven Muslim majority countries banned by Trump!”
Raised on a strict diet of NPR and C-SPAN, Muira McCammon is a war crimes researcher by day and a podcast reviewer for Paste Magazine by night. She can be found on Twitter @muira_mccammon or walking about the woods of western Massachusetts. Her writing has previously appeared in Slate, Waypoint by VICE, Atlas Obscura, the Massachusetts Review, and other publications.