Amicus With Dahlia Lithwick | Law, justice, and the courts
Amicus With Dahlia Lithwick | Law, justice, and the courts
Slate Podcasts
A show about the law and the nine Supreme Court justices who interpret it for the rest of America. 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.
A Series of Lawsuits That We Call an Election
Dahlia Lithwick is drinking from the firehose of legal news again and this week is joined by election law professor Rick Hasen to figure out why we’re all still hanging on for the Supreme Court to make a call in former President Donald J Trump’s sweeping claim to immunity from prosecution over the events of January 6th, how Americans could actually achieve a real right to vote, and why no-one’s paying attention to a pair of incredibly consequential social media cases being argued at SCOTUS next week.  In our Slate Plus segment, Dahlia and Slate’s own Mark Joseph Stern discuss the bonkers but very very real implications of the Alabama Supreme Court decision to bestow personhood on embryos being used in fertility treatment, creating an impossible legal landscape for clinics and those struggling to become pregnant. Next, they sift through Justice Samuel Alito’s grievance debris in a recent dissent to find the deeply worrying signposts toward overturning equal marriage rights. Finally, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court pleads with SCOTUS to clear up the mess it made of gun laws with its decision in Bruen. Sign up for Slate Plus now to listen and support our show. 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
Feb 24
55 min
Fani Willis and a Tale of Two Ethics Violations
The future of the Fulton County, Georgia election subversion case against Donald J. Trump and many many accused co-conspirators was cast into doubt this week as the court saw evidentiary hearings in the defence’s motion to disqualify Fulton County AG Fani Willis. Dahlia Lithwick is joined by Slate’s chief Law of Trump correspondent Jeremy Stahl to discuss why, even with a very high bar for removing Willis from the case, the court was dragged through some tawdry details that are bound to come back to hurt the prosecution, one way or another. Later in the show, executive director and co-founder of Court Accountability, Alex Aronson, talks with Dahlia about what could possibly be done to make Supreme Court justices follow reasonable recusal guidelines (we’re looking at you, Justice Thomas), and whether the American electorate might at last be finding an appetite for court reform.  In the Slate Plus segment, Jeremy returns to the podcast martini lounge to discuss what might be the first Trump case to reach a criminal trial. They also discuss the latest on Trump’s claim of blanket immunity.  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. To catch up on the ever-breaking Trump trial news, check out https://slate.com/news-and-politics/jurisprudence Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Feb 17
53 min
Is SCOTUS Afraid of Holding Trump to Account?
Oral arguments at the Supreme Court Thursday in Trump v. Anderson revealed a lot about some of the justices’ commitment to the primacy of originalism. Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, joins Dahlia Lithwick to discuss why his organization took up and pursued the long shot case to try to keep former President Donald J Trump off the ballot in Colorado. While the Supreme Court appeared to have little appetite for taking the big swing to find that Trump had disqualified himself from office when he engaged in an insurrection, Noah insists the case is far from having been in vain - eloquently highlighting the dangerous potential consequences of inaction. It's a chilling reminder of what’s at stake. Next, Dahlia is joined by slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern to discuss whether the liberal justices have some grand bargain in mind as they offered multiple off-ramps for Trump’s side, despite dozens of bipartisan briefs arguing for Trump to be kept off the ballot, the court’s originalist’s sudden concern for consequences in this case, when they have had no interest in weighing the life and death consequences for ordinary people in cases concerning guns and abortion. Finally, they tackle a worrying undercurrent to Thursday’s arguments: an apparent capitulation to threats of chaos and violence as a basis for deciding constitutional cases.  In our Slate Plus segment, Mark sticks around to discuss a landmark gun decision out of the Hawaii Supreme Court, and why it’s a problem that DOJ’s special counsel, Robert Hur, issued a report declining to prosecute, but affirming that Joe Biden is old (hint: the problem isn’t that he’s old).  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
Feb 10
53 min
The Trump Trials Doomsday Clock Just Ticked a Second Closer to Midnight
Subscribe to Slate Plus to unlock the full version of this emergency episode. After weeks of waiting, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has handed down a decision in Donald J Trump’s appeal for sweeping immunity from prosecution for any of his actions while in office on grounds of a kind of post-presidential enduring presidenty-ness. The panel of three judges wrote: “We cannot accept former President Trump’s claim that a President has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power — the recognition and implementation of election results,”  In this extra episode of Amicus, exclusive to our Slate Plus members, Dahlia Lithwick is joined by Slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern and Slate’s jurisprudence editor Jeremy Stahl to answer the huge questions this decision now sparks - will the Supreme Court step in? If so, when? Are there votes to stay the decision while the court mulls, or to expedite a hearing? All of this, of course, is set against the countdown to November 2024 and whether Donald Trump will be tried for alleged criminal acts to overturn the 2020 election before the American People go to the ballot box this time.  To subscribe on Apple Podcasts, just click “Try Free” at the top of the Amicus show page. Or, visit slate.com/amicusplus to get access wherever you listen. As a Slate Plus member, not only will you unlock exclusive, subscriber-only Amicus content, but you’ll also get ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts—shows like Political Gabfest, Slow Burn, and What Next. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Feb 6
6 min
The Neglected Constitutional History That Disqualifies Trump
There haven’t been that many insurrections in the United States, which means the case law ahead of next week’s arguments in Trump v. Anderson (the 14th Amendment, Section 3 disqualification case) is pretty thin. And so we, and presumably the justices, must rely on text and history to understand the intent of the drafters of the Reconstruction Amendments. Civil war and reconstruction historian Professor Manisha Sinha, signatory of one amicus brief and cited in another, explains that the history is crystal clear. Trump must be disqualified from the ballot. After weeks of discussing concerns about the strategic, political implications of this case, this week Dahlia Lithwick tackles the text and the history head-on, in a case that’s almost a natural experiment in applying originalism on its own terms. See also:   Amicus Brief signed by 25 civil war and reconstruction historians (including Professor Sinha) Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum Address Sean Wilentz: The Case for Disqualification, New York Review of Books Jamelle Bouie: If It Walks Like an Insurrection and Talks Like an Insurrection... NY Times In this week’s Amicus Plus segment, Slate’s judicial diviner Mark Joseph Stern joins to talk about a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling on abortion that really took both text and history and human rights seriously. Also, an 8th circuit decision that could put a stake in the heart of what remains of the voting rights act. Sign up for Slate Plus now to listen and support our show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Feb 3
53 min
Donald Trump and the Apex of MAGA Misogyny
Despite Donald Trump’s efforts, there will be a significant cost for his continued defamation of E. Jean Carroll (And it’s $83.3 million!!). For much of the proceedings he sat behind Carroll muttering under his breath and posting three-dozen times on Truth Social in one night about the unfairness of the judge and the court. But zoom out, and Trump’s actions at the trial and toward women generally have far bigger implications than the size of the check he’ll have to write. This week, Vanity Fair’s Molly Jong-Fast joins Dahlia Lithwick to explain how Trump has fanned the flames of GOP misogyny playing out in every aspect of our politics, from the GOP primary to the leadership in the House of Representatives to women who have been raped in states with no access to abortion. And she asks what it ultimately says about our justice system that 80-year-old E. Jean Carroll is the one prepared to take the stand against the man who assaulted her. In this week’s Amicus Plus segment, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern discusses the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that kinda sorta resolved the battle between federal immigration authorities and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and the horrifying turn the conservative turn has taken on capital punishment this week. Sign up for Slate Plus now to listen and support our show.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 27
36 min
Greg Abbott and the Battle for the Texas Border
The immigration fight on the U.S. - Mexico border keeps getting uglier - not between the U.S. and its southern neighbor, Mexico, but between the federal government and a Texas administration apparently unconcerned by constitutional supremacy. Earlier this month, members of the Texas Military Forces took over a public park in Eagle Pass, TX at the behest of Gov. Greg Abbott. The park, on the banks of the Rio Grande, is near a frequently used border crossing. Last weekend, Texas forces blocked Federal Border Patrol agents from reaching a woman and two children who had drowned trying to cross the river into the United States.   The move by Abbott is certainly shocking, but it’s an example of ways the state is trying to intervene in federal police powers and responsibilities. In a series of increasingly urgent filings, the Justice Department is pleading with the Supreme Court to intervene to let Federal agents enforce Federal laws.  Rochelle Garza, president of the Texas Civil Rights Project, joins the show to discuss how the cruelty of Abbott’s approach is undermining Texas communities and creating a constitutional crisis that may originate in Texas, but will not remain there.  Dahlia is joined by SCOTUS-whispering wingman Mark Joseph Stern in today’s Slate Plus segment to discuss why the High Court’s response to Texas’ game of chicken with the Feds is so dangerously sluggish. Next, they explore the oral arguments in the big Chevron-overturning vehicle that is Loper Bright, a case that was supposed to be about fishermen but is actually about overturning tens of thousands of agency law decisions and grabbing power from the elected branches and handing it to the judiciary.   Sign up for Slate Plus now to listen and support our show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 20
51 min
The Supreme Court Gave Itself Huge Extra Powers and It’s Becoming a Big Problem
There’s an ever-growing queue of cases concerning Donald Trump headed for the Supreme Court that threaten to further dent the legitimacy of an institution that has tumbled in the public’s estimation in the last few years. This week’s show examines some of the interlocking issues raising the already sky-high stakes at One, First Street. First, Dahlia Lithwick kicks off the show with an update from Slate’s Law of Trump chief correspondent Jeremy Stahl about arguments in Trump’s immunity appeal at the DC Circuit Court this week. Next, we turn to a conversation with Professor Ben Johnson, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. He recently wrote about the very long history of how the Supreme Court granted itself vast power to shape the law and policy by picking and choosing not only which cases it would hear, but also which questions it would answer when it hears those cases. Next week’s arguments in Loper Bright Enterprises v Raimundo are a case in point, and the question of questions also poses a conundrum for a court in a downward legitimacy spiral, as a parade of Trump cases head toward the High Court.  In this week’s Amicus Plus segment, Dahlia is joined by Slate’s Jeremy Stahl to discuss the bread and circus of closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial in New York, and the next phase of litigation involving the former President and E Jean Carroll that gets underway next week.  Sign up for Slate Plus now to listen and support our show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 13
1 hr 3 min
Deja Coup: Donald Trump and the Slow Civil War
On January 6, 2021, supporters of Donald J Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building hoping to stop Joe Biden from becoming president. Three years later, a quarter of Americans believe the FBI instigated the events of that day.   This week on Amicus, we’re trying to understand the myth-making that helped foment the riot, and the religious fervor that binds and buoys Trump’s supporters today. Dahlia Lithwick is joined by Jeff Sharlet, author of “The Undertow: Scenes From a Slow Civil War” to explore the stories and symbols that are shaping Trump’s march toward fascism, and to figure out what place the rule of law has in this struggle.  In this week’s Amicus Plus segment, Slate’s dynamic legal duo of Mark Joseph Stern and Jeremy Stahl break down the latest in Trump’s cascading court cases, and the Texas abortion case that’s on a fast track to the Supreme Court.  Sign up for Slate Plus now to listen and support our show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 6
58 min
The Very Worst of SCOTUS 2023
From the Chief Justice seeing the funny side of stalking and harassment, to Justice Samuel Alito’s tiny violin, to fighting in the footnotes and a bench dissent snapback, to THAT painting, it’s been quite a year at One, First Street. Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Stern are back with their bottom 10 picks for the Supreme Court’s worst moments of 2023. But don’t despair, there is a glimmer of hope, one part of the SCOTUS beat sucked less this past year… Stay tuned to hear Dahlia and Mark reveal what facet of the Supreme Court multiverse actually improved in 2023.  Sign up for Slate Plus to support our show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 30, 2023
56 min
Load more