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Amicus With Dahlia Lithwick | Law, justice, and the courts

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A show about the law and the nine Supreme Court justices who interpret it for the rest of America. Want more Amicus? Join Slate Plus to unlock weekly member-exclusive episodes from Dahlia. Plus, you’ll access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/amicusplus to get access wherever you listen. read less
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Rahimi and The Roberts Court’s All New, Also Old, Second Amendment Doctrine
3d ago
Rahimi and The Roberts Court’s All New, Also Old, Second Amendment Doctrine
Another major case for the “not a loss/not exactly a win” pile this term at SCOTUS. A majority of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority said what we knew all along - adjudicated domestic abusers shouldn’t hold onto second amendment rights and the guns that they are statistically, horrifyingly, apt to use to harm their intimate partners. In an 8-1 decision in United States v Rahimi, the Roberts Court looked frantically for a way to reverse out of – while still technically upholding – its bonkers extreme originalism-fueled Bruen decision from two terms ago.   This week Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern are joined by Kelly Roskam, the Director of Law and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions. Later in the show, Mark and Dahlia look under the hood of Department of State v Munoz - an immigration case decided this week that Justice Sotomayor says is sewing seeds for the end of marriage equality as we know it.   This is part of Opinionpalooza, Slate’s coverage of the major decisions from the Supreme Court this June. We kicked things off this year by explaining How Originalism Ate the Law. The best way to support our work is by joining Slate Plus. (If you are already a member, consider a donation or merch!) Want more Amicus? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately unlock exclusive SCOTUS analysis and weekly extended episodes. Plus, you’ll access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/amicusplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Opinionpalooza: SCOTUS Says Yes to Bump Stocks, No to Gun Safety Regulation
15-06-2024
Opinionpalooza: SCOTUS Says Yes to Bump Stocks, No to Gun Safety Regulation
A bump stock is an attachment that converts a semi automatic rifle into a weapon that can fire as many as 800 rounds per minute - an intensity of gunfire matched by machine guns. The deadliest mass shooting carried out by a single shooter in US history - the October 2017 Las Vegas massacre - was enabled by a bump stock. On Friday, the US Supreme Court struck down a Trump-era bump stock ban introduced in the wake of that tragedy, in which 60 people were killed and hundreds more injured. Writing for a perfectly partisan six to three majority, gun enthusiast and ultra conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, decided the administration had overstepped its authority enacting the ban, and based the decision in a very technical, very weird reading of the statute. On this Opinionpalooza edition of Amicus, Dahlia Lithwick is joined by Slate’s senior writer on the courts and the law - Mark Stern, and David Pucino, Legal Director & Deputy Chief Counsel of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Together, they discuss the careful reasoning and research behind the ban, Justice Thomas’ self-appointment as a bigger gun expert than the agency charged with regulating guns - the ATF, how the gun industry used its own “amicus flotilla” from extreme groups to undermine the agency, and how the industry will use this roadmap again. But, please don’t despair entirely, you’ll also hear from David about hope for the future of gun safety rules.  This is part of Opinionpalooza, Slate’s coverage of the major decisions from the Supreme Court this June. We kicked things off this year by explaining How Originalism Ate the Law. The best way to support our work is by joining Slate Plus. (If you are already a member, consider a donation or merch!) Plus listeners have access to all our Opinionpalooza emergency episodes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Opinionpalooza: Don’t Call the Mifepristone Case a Win (Preview)
13-06-2024
Opinionpalooza: Don’t Call the Mifepristone Case a Win (Preview)
What do you call a case where there’s no standing and yet the lawsuit is still standing? FDA v Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine AKA the mifepristone case, AKA the case that tried to raise a zombie law from the dead, and will now continue to roam the lower courts in search of a national abortion ban.  While the Comstock Act was not mentioned in the US Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to maintain the legal status quo on abortion pills, the overton window just got wedged open a little wider. In this Opinionpalooza extra episode of Amicus, Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern discuss SCOTUS’ abortion pill decision in depth and explore the consequences of a case that was doomed to fail before even this Supreme Court, but is also doomed to return to haunt us. This is part of Opinionpalooza, Slate’s coverage of the major decisions from the Supreme Court this June. We kicked things off this year by explaining How Originalism Ate the Law. The best way to support our work is by joining Slate Plus. (If you are already a member, consider a donation or merch!) This episode is member-exclusive. Listen to it now by subscribing to Slate Plus. By joining, not only will you unlock exclusive SCOTUS analysis and weekly extended episodes of Amicus, but you’ll also access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/amicusplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Opinionpalooza: A Bad June Rising At SCOTUS
25-05-2024
Opinionpalooza: A Bad June Rising At SCOTUS
As we stand poised at the threshold of June, we brace ourselves for the fire hose of opinions headed our way in the next four or so weeks.  But why? Why –even as the Court is taking on fewer cases – is there an absolute dogpile of decisions, with no map for what will come down or when, beyond a SCOTUS-adjacent cottage industry in soothsaying and advance-panic and guessing? Dahlia Lithwick takes us through a whirlwind of Supreme Court decisions and controversies, expertly assisted by Professor Steve Vladeck (whose New York Times bestseller The Shadow Docket came out in paperback this week) and Mark Joseph Stern in untangling the complex web of legal, political, and personal dramas enveloping the nation's highest court. From Justice Alito's flag-flying fiasco, to the forces shaping the court’s docket, to its divisive rulings, this episode could well be titled “Why Are They Like This?” As the court's term hurtles towards its frenetic close, Dahlia and her guests dissect the legal and ethical ramifications of the justices' actions, both on and off the bench. Tune in to this must-listen episode of Amicus for an eye-opening exploration of the Supreme Court's turbulent session, the ideological battles at play, and what it all could mean for the fundamental principles of democracy and the rule of law. Whether you're a legal aficionado or simply concerned about the direction of the country, this episode is the end-of-term preview you really need to understand what the heck is happening over the next few weeks.  Want more Amicus? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately unlock exclusive SCOTUS analysis and weekly extended episodes. Plus, you’ll access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/amicusplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Alito’s Stars and Gripes
18-05-2024
Alito’s Stars and Gripes
Justice Samuel Alito’s wife didn’t attend the January 6th 2021 “Stop the Steal” rally (unlike fellow SCOTUS spouse Ginni Thomas), but in January 2021, in a leafy Alexandria, Virginia cul-de-sac, the New York Times reports that the Alito household was engaged in a MAGA-infused front yard spat with the neighbors, even as the Justice was deciding  cases regarding that very election at the highest court in the land. Justice Alito told the New York Times his wife was responsible for the upside down stars and stripes flying from their flagpole and that it was in retaliation for an an anti-Trump sign.    It’s unseemly. Undoubtedly unethical. But this intra-suburban squabble, and the very clear implications it has for a public already aware of the Supreme Court’s dwindling legitimacy, is unlikely to evoke shame, amends, or recusal from Justice Alito. On this week’s Amicus, American legal exceptionalism sliced three ways: Dahlia Lithwick on the Justice and the Flag, Slate’s jurisprudence editor Jeremy Stahl on how Donald J. Trump’s  criminal hush money trial ends, and Congressman Jamie Raskin on concrete steps to supreme court reform, how to get back the rights the Supreme Court has taken away, and what a binding ethics code would look like.  Want more Amicus? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately unlock exclusive SCOTUS analysis and weekly extended episodes. Plus, you’ll access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/amicusplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Democracy Dies at SCOTUS
27-04-2024
Democracy Dies at SCOTUS
Get your tickets for Amicus Live in Washington DC here.  This past week (that lasted about a year) at the Supreme Court began badly and only went downhill from there. By Wednesday, justices were trying to set aside the facts of women being airlifted out of states where they can no longer access care to protect their major organs and reproductive future, if that emergency healthcare indicates an abortion - in favor of pondering the spending clause. On Thursday, the shocking reality of the violent storming of the Capitol on January 6th 2021, and former President Trump’s many schemes to overturn the election and stay in power, were relegated to lower-case concerns as opposed to ALL CAPS panic over hypothetical aggressive prosecutors.  On this week’s Amicus, Dahlia Lithwick is joined by leading constitutional scholar and former assistant Professor Pam Karlan of Stanford Law School and a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. Slate’s senior legal writer Mark Joseph Stern also joins the conversation about the MAGA justices flying the flag in arguments in Trump v United States. In today’s bonus episode only for Slate Plus members, Jeremy Stahl gives Dahlia Lithwick a view from inside the courtroom of Donald Trump’s hush money trial.  Want more Amicus? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately unlock exclusive SCOTUS analysis and weekly extended episodes. Plus, you’ll access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/amicusplus to get access wherever you listen. Sign up for Slate Plus now to listen and support our show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Twelve Jurors and One Angry Ex-President
20-04-2024
Twelve Jurors and One Angry Ex-President
Get your tickets for Amicus Live in Washington DC here.  The first criminal trial of Donald Trump is finally here. This week, hundreds of possible jurors filed through Judge Juan Merchan’s courtroom in lower Manhattan. The selection process was a preview of some of the challenges and pitfalls in the first ever criminal trial of a sitting or former President. On this week’s show, Slate’s senior legal writer Mark Joseph Stern sits down with Slate jurisprudence editor and Chief Law of Trump™ correspondent Jeremy Stahl to discuss what we learned this week, and what we can expect when the trial truly gets underway next week.  In today’s bonus episode only for Slate Plus members, Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern welcome Justice Clarence Thomas back from his long weekend, with a close listen to the January 6th case that was argued before the court on Tuesday. Fischer v United States  is raising more alarm bells about the conservative justices’ posture toward armed insurrection. They also dig into  Justice Elena Kagan’s opinion in a potentially tricky TitleVII case that, miraculously for this court, went pretty well in terms of civil rights protections in the workplace. Listen now by subscribing to Slate Plus. By joining, not only will you unlock exclusive SCOTUS analysis and weekly extended episodes of Amicus, but you’ll also access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/amicusplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Jurisprudence of Bleeding Out
13-04-2024
The Jurisprudence of Bleeding Out
Get your tickets for Amicus Live in Washington DC on May 14th here. We shouldn’t be surprised that we have to keep saying it, but here we are: the Supreme Court (notably trained as lawyers) will soon make decisions about how doctors (notably trained as doctors) can treat pregnant patients in the emergency room. Moyle v. United States - consolidated with Idaho v. United States - is the result of an Idaho lawsuit challenging EMTALA, a federal law requiring hospitals to do whatever they can to stabilize whoever comes through their ER doors with a medical emergency. Sometimes this requires abortion care, and for a faction of conservative advocates, this cannot stand. Ahead of oral arguments the week after next, we wanted to get a sense of what healthcare looks like for pregnant women experiencing medical emergencies now, and how this case threatens to undermine that care in the future. This week, Dahlia Lithwick speaks with Dr. Dara Kass, an emergency medicine physician, about what EMTALA was built to do, what ER physicians are being asked to do, and what will happen should Idaho prevail in this case. Later in the show, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern joins to discuss the hullabaloo over when, if, and how Justice Sotomayor should be made to retire and the very gendered work of keeping SCOTUS from going off the rails (any more than it already has). In today’s bonus episode only for Slate Plus members Dahlia and Mark discuss the outrageous ruling that creates (but really, revives) a de facto total ban on abortions in Arizona. They also explain why the EMTALA case from the show isn’t being talked about as much as the recent mifepristone case was. Listen to it now by subscribing to Slate Plus. By joining, not only will you unlock exclusive SCOTUS analysis and weekly extended episodes of Amicus, but you’ll also access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/amicusplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
When Gag Orders Become Campaign-Performance Indicators
06-04-2024
When Gag Orders Become Campaign-Performance Indicators
After weeks of the Trump trials (and the run-up to the Trump trials) becoming ever more engrossing spectator sports, both the public and the media may have lost sight of some of the stakes. They also may have lost sight of the truth of what the legal system can actually deliver in terms of protecting democracy from Donald J Trump.  On this week’s Amicus, Dahlia Lithwick is joined by Juliette Kayyem to dissect Trump's impact on legal, national security, and ideological fronts. Kayyem brings her national security expertise to discuss the evolution of Trump's tactics from stochastic terror to direct incitement. Together, they explore the implications for democracy of a presidential campaign where one candidate issues violent threats and tries to intimidate judges. Kayyem lays out in stark terms the kinds of focus and planning needed in the coming months. Juliette Kayyem is a national security expert, Harvard lecturer, CNN analyst, Atlantic contributor, and author of 'The Devil Never Sleeps: Learning to Live in an Age of Disasters.' Avowedly not a lawyer, she approaches America’s political predicament using counter-terrorism approaches to Trump’s movement and preparations for the 2024 elections.  Want more Amicus? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately unlock exclusive SCOTUS analysis and weekly bonus episodes. Plus, you’ll access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/amicusplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices