Transcript of OA334: IVF, LIHEAP & the Russians

Listen to the episode and read the show notes

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[Show Intro]

Thomas:         Hello and welcome to Opening Argument!  This is episode 334, I’m Thomas Smith, that’s Andrew Torrez!  How’re you doing Andrew?

Andrew:         I am doing fantastic Thomas!  We just recorded episode 35 of Law’d Awful Movies!

Thomas:         Ha-hah!

Andrew:         We watched the pilot of Bluff City Law and, you know, they’re all great.

Thomas:         [Laughs]

Andrew:         All of our Law’d Awful Movies are great, I dunno, I felt like this was a pretty good episode.

Continue reading “Transcript of OA334: IVF, LIHEAP & the Russians”

OA334: IVF, LIHEAP & the Russians

Today’s episode features a deep dive into what used to be a core Republican program, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. Did you know that every year, over a thousand people — most of them with homes — freeze to death in the U.S.? Did you know that both political parties used to want to do something about that?

We begin, however, with some listener feedback from our popular recent Episode 330 in which we broke down a recent decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court regarding “pre-embryos” and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Hear from a published scientist and an IVF mom!

Then, it’s time for our deep dive into LIHEAP, 42 U.S.C. § 8621 et seq. You’ll learn all about the problem of home heating in this country and what we do about it… at least for now. You’ll also learn exactly how much the Trump administration would like to fund this program, which you won’t be surprised to learn is $0.

But that’s not all! Our “C” segment features a lengthy explanation from election law expert Beth Kingsley who answers the question “Could Donald Trump just hire Vladimir Putin to work on his 2020 re-election campaign if he discloses it?” The answer is more complicated than you’d expect and just might surprise you.

After all that, it’s time for the answer to Friday’s #T3BE 153 about the admissibility of a doctor’s note in court. Will Thomas get this one right?? Listen and find out!


None! If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at

Show Notes & Links

  1. Please do participate in our favorite charity event of the year, Vulgarity for Charity! To participate, just donate $50 or more to Modest Needs, and then send a copy of the receipt to along with your request for a roast. You can even request that Thomas & Andrew roast the victim of your choice.
  2. We discussed both the IVF decision and the election hypothetical back in Episode 330.
  3. You can read the LIHEAP law for yourself; it’s 42 U.S.C. § 8621 et seq. The data we discussed on the episode comes from Olivia Wein’s study, and the funding numbers come from this government document.
  4. This is the link to the FEC’s guidance we discussed in the “C” segment.
  5. Finally, check out an actual IVF contract, thanks to Valerie Smith!

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OA197: Undetectable, Untraceable, 3-D Printed Guns

Today’s Rapid Response Friday breaks down all of the legal wrangling regarding the Trump Administration’s secret settlement with a self-described “crypto-anarchist” who uploaded material that allows anyone with access to a 3-D printer to make their own plastic, undetectable, untraceable firearm.

We begin, however, with a  listener who’s considering coming over to the “dark side” and wants an honest answer about getting electoral help from overseas.  What if the Irish want to help elect Liz Warren in 2020?  Listen and find out!

The main segment breaks down the “Defense Distributed” settlement and subsequent litigation — and along the way you’ll learn about Cold War arms sales, the Export Control Act, F-15s, Richard Nixon, and… well, let’s just say there’s a lot on the table!

Finally, we end with an all new Thomas Takes The Bar Exam #87 regarding a state supreme court ruling over whether witnesses must face their accusers.  If you’d like to play along, just retweet our episode on Twitter or share it on Facebook along with your guess and the #TTTBE hashtag.  We’ll release the answer on next Tuesday’s episode along with our favorite entry!

Recent Appearances

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Show Notes & Links

  1. We most recently discussed election law and the relevant statute, 52 U.S.C. § 30121, back in Episode 116 with Beth Kingsley.
  2. The seminal Foreign Affairs (1982) article referenced by Andrew is here; and you can also verify the current arms sales numbers from this report in Newsweek.
  3. This is the confidential Trump administration’s settlement with Defense Distributed; here is the Complaint filed by 8 states, along with the opposition brief filed by Wilson as well as the one filed by the Government.  Ultimately, the Court granted the TRO.
  4. You can read the Arms Export Control Act, 22 U.S.C. § 2751 et seq., and the implementing regulations at 22 C.F.R. § 125.4(b).
  5. The Pentagon Papers case is more formally known as New York Times Co. v. U.S., 403 U.S. 713 (1971).
  6. Here’s a Harvard Law Review article summarizing Wilson’s loss at the 5th Circuit.
  7. Finally, check out the author note for (but please do not buy!) the Anarchist Cookbook, for sale on Amazon.

Support us on Patreon at:

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs


Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki

And email us at


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