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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OA11: Abortion, Roe v. Wade, and the Constitution, Part 3

In this week’s hour-length episode, we finally conclude our three-part discussion of abortion and defending the jurisprudence behind the Supreme Court’s 1973 opinion in Roe v. Wade… only to leave you with another cliffhanger and a topic for a future show.  (Bingo!)

Also, given our Patreon support, we’ll now be answering a viewer question every episode!  In this episode, we go back to frequent supporter Eric Brewer, who asks “Is a lawyer obligated to tell his clients the hard truths?”  Andrew, true to form, answers without really answering the question.  Don’t you just hate lawyers??

Finally, in our closing segment, we crank up Judas Priest for Breakin’ (Down) the Law and answer the question “How does one amend the Constitution, anyway?”  Of course, no answer is ever simple here on OA, and in so doing, Andrew takes us through the very strange history of the 27th Amendment, which took more than 200 years to become ratified by the states.  Seriously!

Show Notes & Links

  1. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).
  2. The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, starting with the preamble, set forth the baseline of ethical rules that lawyers must follow in most jurisdictions.  Read all about “zealous advocacy” if you enjoy reading model ethics rules.
  3. The American Prospect has a fun article that tells the story of the passage of the 27th Amendment; give it a read.

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OA10: Abortion, Roe v. Wade, and the Constitution, Part 2

Our discussion of abortion continues as we walk through the Supreme Court’s opinion in Roe v. Wade and its aftermath.

In our first segment, “Closed Arguments” continues with a look at whether you should call your law professor by her first name.  (No.  No, you should not.)  And in our closing segment, we answer a question from listener Ben Young III on courts as an agency for change and social justice.

Show Notes & Links

  1. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).
  2. Read the Wall Street Journal story about the law professor who just wants her students to call her Professor Baughman.

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OA9: Abortion, Roe v. Wade, and the Constitution, Part 1

In Episodes 7 and 8, we discussed a recent decision by a federal court in Missouri dismissing a lawsuit brought by the Satanic Temple challenging certain Missouri laws that arguably restrict abortion rights.  In this episode, we take a step back and look at the right to abortion itself and the sometimes-controversial Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade.

Our opening segment answers a listener question from Russ Kanjorski about the future of the Supreme Court, and fan favorite “Closed Arguments” continues with a look at the Cato Institute’s survey and ranking of states by “freedom.”  (Hint:  it has nothing to do with actual freedom, apparently.)

Show Notes & Links

  1. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).
  2. The Cato Institute’s stupid “Freedom in the 50 States” survey.

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OA8: You Won’t Have the Satanic Temple to Kick Around Any More, Part 2

In this episode, we wrap up the recent decision by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri dismissing a lawsuit brought by the Satanic Temple challenging several laws relating to getting an abortion in Missouri.  Andrew tells you what “motions to dismiss” are, and Thomas proves that he knows more about the law than both the Attorney General of Texas AND a sitting federal judge in Missouri.

Our opening segment begins with another “Closed Arguments,” where we look at the aforementioned Texas Attorney general, Ken Paxton, who has decided to write an opinion letter on the Establishment Clause without referring to the one Supreme Court case that tells you how to interpret the Establishment clause!  In our closing segment, we answer another listener question, this one from law student Jason Burkhead.

Show Notes & Links

  1. Andrew’s law firm blog post that explains the basics of standing.
  2. The Complaint filed by the Satanic Temple in federal court.
  3. The decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri dismissing the Satanic Temple’s lawsuit.
  4. Hemant Mehta’s discussion of the case on the Friendly Atheist blog.
  5. Attorney Marci Hamilton’s opinion that the case will be overturned on appeal.
  6. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).
  7. The Courthouse News Service reported that the Texas Lt. Governor asked the state’s Attorney General, Ken Paxton, to issue an advisory opinion as to the legality of opening courtroom proceedings with a prayer.
  8. This is the text of Paxton’s letter, which is remarkably Lemon-free.

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OA7: You Won’t Have the Satanic Temple to Kick Around Any More, Part 1

In this episode, we look at a recent lawsuit filed by the notorious Satanic Temple challenging abortion restrictions in the state of Missouri.  In the main segment, Andrew tells you how to read a Complaint, and Thomas offers advice to the Satanic Temple’s lawyers about which arguments are more persuasive to him.

Our opening segment begins with “Breakin’ (Down) the Law,” where we discuss a catchy legal phrase, “in perpetuity throughout the universe.”  Why would anyone say that??  Andrew explains why.  In our closing segment, we look at a Tennessee state representative, who tells us that everyone knows you should burn those red light camera tickets!  (No.  No, you should not.)

H/T for both the episode content and the “Closed Arguments” segment goes to the newly-married Eli Bosnick!  Congratulations and thanks.

Show Notes & Links

  1. The Complaint filed by the Satanic Temple in federal court.
  2. The decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri dismissing the Satanic Temple’s lawsuit.
  3. Hemant Mehta’s discussion of the case on the Friendly Atheist blog.
  4. Attorney Marci Hamilton’s opinion that the case will be overturned on appeal.
  5. The Knoxville News-Sentinel article about state Rep. Andy Holt, who is encouraging citizens to burn their red light camera tickets.

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