Strict Scrutiny

Strict Scrutiny

Strict Scrutiny is a podcast about the United States Supreme Court and the legal culture that surrounds it. Hosted by three badass constitutional law professors-- Leah Litman, Kate Shaw, and Melissa Murray-- Strict Scrutiny provides in-depth, accessible, and irreverent analysis of the Supreme Court and its cases, culture, and personalities. Each week, Leah, Kate, and Melissa break down the latest headlines and biggest legal questions facing our country, emphasizing what it all means for our daily lives. Whether you’re a lawyer or law student, or you’re just here for the messy legal drama, Strict Scrutiny has you covered. New episodes out every Monday… plus bonuses whenever SCOTUS takes away another one of our rights.


February 19, 2024 77 mins

Kate, Melissa, and Leah preview the cases the Supreme Court will hear this week, explain the latest news in the Trump criminal cases, and survey the significant decisions happening in lower courts.

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The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case about whether Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment disqualifies Donald Trump from appearing on the presidential ballot or holding the office of the presidency because of his role in January 6th. Melissa, Kate, and Leah break down the arguments and what it will mean if the Supreme Court reverses the Colorado Supreme Court's decision.


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February 7, 2024 31 mins

This morning, the US Court of Appeals for the DC circuit ruled that Donald Trump doesn't have immunity in the D.C. election interference case. Kate, Melissa, and Leah break down the D.C. Circuit's decision, Trump's arguments and whether or not it was all worth the wait.

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This week the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case about whether Donald Trump is eligible to run for president, or whether he's disqualified from doing so by a provision of the 14th Amendment that prevents individuals from holding public office if they've engaged in insurrection. As part of the preview of the arguments, Kate, Melissa, and Leah welcome Rick Hasen, author of A Real Right To Vote: How A Constitutional Amendme...

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E. Jean Carroll and attorney Robbie Kaplan join us to share the process and aftermath of Carroll's defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump-- in which a jury just awarded her $83.3 million. What was Trump's vibe in the courtroom? Will he actually pay up? And what does E. Jean plan to do with all that money? Melissa, Kate, and Leah get all these answers and more.

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January 29, 2024 85 mins

Kate, Melissa, and Leah break down the legal fight in Texas at the U.S.-Mexico border, and the Supreme Court's take on it all. Plus, Melissa and Kate do a deep dive on another outlandish era in the Supreme Court's history with Cliff Sloan, author of The Court At War: FDR, His Justices, & The World They Made.

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January 22, 2024 66 mins

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a pair of cases that threaten to topple four decades of precedent about federal agencies' authority to interpret statutes. Leah, Melissa, and Kate recap the arguments and outline the Koch-funded basis for the Supreme Court's latest power grab.

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Melissa, Kate, and Leah recap oral arguments in cases about the No Fly List, the confrontation clause, and what qualifies as a government taking. They also preview the cases the Supreme Court will hear this week about Chevron, the doctrine that gives federal agencies the authority to interpret statues. Plus, they recap the arguments in the DC Circuit in which Trump argues he's immune from criminal prosecution (and in which his lawy...

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We're only one week into 2024, and there's so much news to catch up on! Melissa, Leah, and Kate discuss ProPublica's reporting about rich guys giving Justice Thomas money when he hinted at retiring because his salary as a justice was too low. Then, they look to the latest in state courts, which are deciding issues such as Donald Trump's presidential eligibility, women's access to emergency abortion care, and fairly drawn electoral ...

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January 1, 2024 61 mins

To start the new year off right, Jonathan Van Ness joins Kate, Leah, and Melissa to suggest some resolutions for the justices of the Supreme Court.

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Before we settle in for a long winter's nap, we have a LOT to catch up on. First, Jodi Kantor joins the pod to talk about her reporting, with Adam Liptak, on what went down behind the scenes at SCOTUS as the conservative majority sought to overturn Roe. Then we go over some new grants of cases the Supreme Court will hear in the near future-- including the mifepristone case, and a case about January 6th convictions. We also recap so...

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December 11, 2023 74 mins

Melissa, Kate, and Leah recap arguments in a big tax case, Moore v. United States, and a bankruptcy case involving Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family. Plus, we have a breaking (and heart-breaking) update on an abortion-related case out of Texas.

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December 4, 2023 89 mins

Leah, Melissa, and Kate recap the arguments in the hugely important administrative law case, SEC v. Jarkesy. Plus, they welcome Oona Hathaway and Sam Sankar-- two former clerks to the late Justice Sandra Day O'Connor-- to discuss her life and legacy.

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November 27, 2023 63 mins

For its final sitting of 2023, the Supreme Court will hear cases on the Armed Career Criminal Act, double jeopardy, and whether the government is, well, constitutional. Leah, Melissa, and Kate preview those cases, and look into a hot mess of a voting rights case in the Eighth Circuit. Plus, US Representative Ro Khanna stops by to chat about SCOTUS ethics reform.

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November 20, 2023 78 mins

After months of public pressure, the Supreme Court has released its newly adopted code of ethics. But it leaves a lot to be desired! Melissa, Kate, and Leah analyze the code and find all the possible loopholes. We also talk to Molly Duane, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers in the Zurawski case out of Texas, where women suffered serious health and emotional consequences after being denied abortions. And then we welcome Ashley Coffield,...

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November 13, 2023 72 mins

Kate, Melissa, and Leah recap the arguments in United States v. Rahimi, the case about the constitutionality of gun regulations, featuring diss tracks by KBJ.

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November 6, 2023 68 mins

Melissa, Leah, and Kate recap cases the Supreme Court heard last week about whether government officials can block people on social media platforms. Do the justices actually understand how social media, or even the Internet, works? Unclear! Plus, a recap of the case over whether the phrase "Trump Too Small" can be trademarked. They also preview the upcoming second amendment case, United States v. Rahimi, which challenges a federal ...

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October 30, 2023 67 mins

Leah, Melissa, and Kate get up to date on the various cases against former President Trump and analyze the arguments being brought in his defense. Plus, they preview the First Amendment cases the Supreme Court will hear this week-- including one about the legality of trademarking the phrase "Trump Too Small." 

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October 23, 2023 73 mins

ProPublica's Andrea Bernstein joins Kate and Leah to talk about the new investigative podcast, "We Don't Talk About Leonard." Then, Melissa, Kate, and Leah are live from the University of Texas to talk about all the special things the state brings to the federal judiciary.

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October 16, 2023 68 mins

Melissa, Kate, and Leah recap the oral arguments the Supreme Court heard last week, including a big one about voting rights and redistricting (Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP). Plus, an update on the shenanigans around the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the tomfoolery in the Fifth Circuit.

  • Read ProPublica's reporting on  how U.S. Representative James Clyburn was involved in the South Carolina redistricting...
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