All posts by lawpod

OA21: Second Amendment Masterclass, Part 1

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By listener request, we are bringing you this special “deep dive” episode into the history and jurisprudence underlying the Second Amendment.  This episode was originally broadcast on Atheistically Speaking earlier in 2016.

Just in time for the election, we tackle a thorny political issue:  exactly what does the Second Amendment mean and why?  What kind of gun control laws are permissible that remain consistent with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?  In this special episode, you’ll not only learn the answer to those questions, but also you’ll discovery exactly how many Second Amendment cases the Supreme Court tackled from our nation’s inception until the year 2008.  You’ll also get to hear Andrew’s definition of what really constitutes “judicial activism.”  We think you’ll enjoy it (even if you’ve heard it before).

As always, we’d love your feedback on this episode.  And stay tuned for Part 2, where we look at the potential future for the Supreme Court on this hot-button issue.

Show Notes & Links

  1. District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008).
  2. United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939).

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OA20: What Happened With Ammon Bundy? SPECIAL EDITION

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In this special episode, we look at breaking news:  the jury verdict in United States v. Ammon Bundy et al., a federal case brought in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon as a result of the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon in January of this year.

What happened??  Was there jury nullification?  Bias?  Racism?  We say this a lot, but we really mean it:  our answer may surprise you!

In our opening segment, we tackle the equally breaking news regarding the latest developments in the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, while giving the phrase “Weiner probe” all the decorum it deserves.

Finally, in our closing segment, “Closed Arguments” returns with a look at some liberal outrage over the state of Kansas’s citation of the much-reviled Dred Scott v. Sanford decision.  Do we pile on, or do we take the left to task for making much ado about nothing?  You’ll have to listen to find out!

Show Notes & Links

  1. The grand jury indictment against Bundy et al.
  2. The Wikipedia entry for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  (Please edit!)
  3. Lane Crowder’s article alleging jury nullification.
  4. 18 U.S.C. 372, the statute under which Count I was brought.
  5. United States v. Gerhard, 615 F.3d 7 (1st Cir. 2010).

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OA19: Should Edward Snowden Be Pardoned?

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In this week’s episode, we look at some of the interesting details surrounding the intentional release of classified materials by Edward Snowden.  In particular, we looked at the legacy of Snowden’s leaks,  how they played out in the Second Circuit’s decision in ACLU v. Clapper, 785 F.3d 787 (2d Cir. 2015), and how they changed U.S. law.  In true Opening Arguments fashion, we don’t tell you what to think about Snowden… but we do tell you his impact on our government and the legal ramifications of what Snowden did.

We also tackle two fun listener questions.  One wants to know exactly how Andrew would go about defending the podcasts that made the phrase “puzzle in a thunderstorm” a household word while still maintaining decorum in court.   (If you’re one of those listeners who just loves hearing Andrew say massively inappropriate words and phrases, you’ll love this episode.)

Our second question takes a serious look at the crucial phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  What exactly does that mean?  We tackle burdens of proof and the most important four words in criminal law.

Show Notes & Links

  1. ACLU v. Clapper, 785 F.3d 787 (2d Cir. 2015).
  2. June 6, 2013 Guardian article showing FISA Court order of Verizon.
  3. The Guardian “Explainer” on Snowden.
  4. The criminal indictment of Edward Snowden.
  5. Count I:  18 U.S.C. 641
  6. Count II:  18 U.S.C. 793(d) (the Espionage Act)
  7. Count III: 18 U.S.C. 798
  8. Victor v. Nebraska, 511 U.S. 1 (1994).

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OA18: You Be The Supreme Court, Part 3

In this week’s super-sized episode, we conclude our three-part role-playing experiment “You Be The Supreme Court,” using an actual case that is currently pending before the Court:  Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley.

Last time, we went through the State of Missouri Department of Natural Resources’s response brief.  This week, we look at the Petitioner Trinity Lutheran Church’s reply brief, which is the final exchange before the Court hears oral argument and renders an opinion.

In our opening segment, we tackle a pair of viral election what-ifs, examining whether Bernie Sanders (or Evan McMullin) could really win the Presidency if they manage to win one state.  (Hint: there’s a reason we tackled this in “Closed Arguments”!)  In our closing segment, Andrew predicts how the Supreme Court will actually rule in the case.

Be sure to turn in next week when we tackle another famous Espionage Act case — Edward Snowden!

Show Notes & Links

  1. How Bernie Sanders Could Become President With Only 130,000 Votes
  2. 538’s slightly-less-ridiculous-but-still-clickbaity “How Evan McMullin Could Win Utah and the Presidency.”
  3. All of the briefs filed in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley are online.
  4. Petitioner’s reply brief can be found here.
  5. McDaniel v. Paty, 435 U.S. 618 (1978)
  6. Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Ass’n, 485 U.S. 439 (1988)
  7. Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, 515 US 819 (1995)

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OA17: You Be The Supreme Court, Part 2

In this week’s episode, we return to our little role-playing experiment “You Be The Supreme Court,” using an actual case that is currently pending before the Court:  Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley.

Last time, we went through the Petitioner’s brief seeking to overturn the lower court’s decision to deny Trinity Lutheran Church the opportunity to participate in a Missouri program that recycles tires into playground surfaces.  This week, we look at Missouri’s response and find out if the Petitioner’s case holds water.

In our weekly listener question segment, we answer a question from David in Kentucky, who wants to know why defendants don’t simply counterclaim against plaintiffs for attorneys’ fees.  Andrew actually answers this question, and along the way provides some helpful distinctions between the American model and the so-called European model of civil lawsuits.

Finally, in our closing segment, “Closed Arguments” returns with a First Amendment lawsuit brought by (legal) teenage strippers who are ready to fight for their First Amendment rights.  (Don’t worry, this episode is still safe for work.)

Be sure to turn in next week for Part 3 of “You Be The Supreme Court!” when Trinity gets another crack in their reply brief, and we’ll evaluate where things stand as this case goes before the Supreme Court this Fall Term!

Show Notes & Links

  1. All of the briefs filed in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley are online.
  2. Respondent’s brief can be found here.
  3.  This (totally safe for work, picture-free) article from Consumerist explains the stripper lawsuit.

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OA16: Dump Trump?

In this week’s bonus episode, we tackle the breaking legal question of whether the RNC can legally replace Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for President, and if so, what the consequences would be.  You don’t want to miss this episode!

In our opening segment, we bring back a classic “Breakin’ (Down) the Law” by examining whether President Trump (unlikely as that may seem) can legally ban all Muslims from entering the U.S.  The answer may surprise you!

Finally, in our closing segment, we tackle a listener question from Daniel Andrew Duncan, who asks us to explain why you keep hearing that laws require 60 votes instead of a simple majority.

Show Notes & Links

  1. The relevant law that permits Trump to ban all Muslims from emigrating into the US is 8 USC § 1182(f).
  2. You can find the RNC Rules here.
  3. Here’s a link to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in New Jersey Democratic Party v. Samson, 814 A.2d 1028 (2002); that’s the Torricelli/Lautenberg case.
  4. Here’s a link to all the states that have early voting.
  5. Finally, here’s a link to the “faithless elector” laws in 26 states.

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OA15: #SaveTheInternet

In this week’s episode, we tackle a breaking legal issue:  is Andrew’s old law school buddy Ted Cruz correct that the U.S. government just “gave away the Internet?”  (Hint:  Ted Cruz is never right about anything.)  We walk you through everything you could possibly want to know about #savetheinternet.

(If you’re looking for Part 2 of “You Be The Supreme Court,” don’t worry; it’ll be back next Wednesday.)

In our intro segment, we discuss exactly what it means to get a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order.  And in our weekly listener question segment, we (sort of) tackle Sean Zipperer’s question about FISA courts and standing.

So if you enjoy crazy hashtag conspiracies on Twitter, or if you just like hearing more dirt on Ted Cruz, either way we’re certain you’ll love this week’s Opening Arguments!

Show Notes & Links

  1. Andrew was on Episode 25 of the Atheists on High podcast for nearly two full hours talking politics.
  2. Andrew also did a lengthy, sometimes personal, interview with Zach Law for the Zachrilege cast, aided by a large glass of wine.
  3. Here’s Ted Cruz, in Ted Cruz’s own words, pleading with you to #savetheinternet.
  4. And here’s the lawsuit discussed in the episode filed by four actual state attorneys general.
  5. The guy who invented the World Wide Web, along with another really smart MIT professor, thinks Ted Cruz has no clue what he’s talking about.

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OA14: You Be The Supreme Court, Part 1

In this episode, we try something a little bit different.  Instead of simply analyzing a case, we let you play the role of Supreme Court Justice working your way through a difficult case that is currently pending before the Court:  Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley.

You’ll learn what kind of cases make their way to the Supreme Court, and, in this episode, take a look at the Petitioner’s brief seeking to overturn the lower court’s decision to deny Trinity Lutheran Church the opportunity to participate in a Missouri program that recycles tires into playground surfaces.

In our opening segment, we answer a listener question about age being a protected class.  In our closing segment, “Closed Argument” returns with a Wyoming judge who’d like to remain a judge but not do her job.  (That’s a bad thing.)

Be sure to turn in next week for Part 2 of “You Be The Supreme Court!” when we turn to the state’s case.

Show Notes & Links

  1. All of the briefs filed in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley are online.
  2. The Petitioner’s opening brief can be found here.
  3. Here’s an NBC News story on Wyoming Judge Ruth Neely.
  4. And here’s the same story, but from the perspective of the WyomingTribuneEagle.

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OA13: Hillary Clinton’s Damned Emails!

In this episode, we delve — at long last, and just in time for the first Presidential debate — into the question of Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State.

In particular, we answer the question:  “did Hillary Clinton receive preferential treatment” when the government declined to indict her on the facts determined by the FBI?

Our answer may surprise you!

In our opening segment, we tackle a follow-up question from Eric Brewer regarding legal fees, and get more practical tips from Andrew.  And in our closing segment, fan favorite “Closed Argument” returns with a novel (but wrong) argument about the Third Amendment.

Show Notes & Links

  1. You can click here to read Andrew’s companion blog post setting forth more details on the cases (and supporting links).
  2. Here’s the Ars Technica article on the 3rd Amendment and surveillance.

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OA12: Tax Protesters, Sovereign Citizens, and Other Wackiness

In this episode, we delve into the wacky world of tax protesters and “sovereign citizens,” people who believe that the legal world is a magical place filled with secret code words that, if invoked properly, can force the Illuminati-run courts to admit you into the secret chamber where nobody has to pay their taxes or be held responsible for anything.

In our opening segment, we tackle a serious question from Matthew Maxon, who asks why lawyer fees are so damn expensive.  In answering (and also not answering) the question, Andrew gives us some practical tips on how best to choose an attorney and how to avoid paying too much for too little in services.

Finally, in our closing segment, we discuss Vulgarity for Charity 2, which brings together your favorite podcasters to raise money for Modest Needs.

Show Notes & Links

  1. Please check out Vulgarity for Charity 2, and please consider supporting the Modest Needs charity.
  2. As skeptics, you might want to read Charity Navigator’s report on Modest Needs, which gives them high marks for transparency and minimizing overhead costs.
  3. You absolutely MUST watch this amazing video advising you how to “win” your case by mouthing a whole bunch of crazy that neither you nor the sitting judge is likely to understand.
  4. Here’s a link to the Nonnie Chrystal v. Huntington Nat’l Bank decision we discuss, where you can see the delightful lower case and punctuation marks sovereign citizens use (unsucessfully) to evade jurisdiction.  “Ambassador nonnie: chrystal”, indeed.
  5. Finally, here’s the legal definition of capitis diminutio maxima, which — you may notice — has nothing to do with whether a document contains capital letters.

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