Strict Scrutiny

Strict Scrutiny

Strict Scrutiny is a podcast about the United States Supreme Court and the legal culture that surrounds it. The show is hosted by three women, Leah Litman, Kate Shaw and Melissa Murray, who are three law professors, but they’re also swimmers, mothers (of humans and dogs), and celebrity gossip enthusiasts. They’re women who’ve practiced before and write about the Court in their professional lives. They have a different voice–one that celebrates the contributions and opinions of women and people of color. They provide intelligent and in-depth legal analysis alongside their unvarnished, respectfully irreverent takes. And they want to do it in a way that is accessible to a variety of listeners, including Supreme Court regulars, lawyers, law students, and members of the public who are looking for a window into the Court’s decisions, as well as its culture, personalities, and folkways. The hosts think SCOTUS is serious business—but they don’t take ourselves or the Court too seriously. They’ve got hot takes, jokes, and a lot to say.

Episodes

August 8, 2022 59 min

Leah talks with Lee Kovarsky of the Capital Punishment Center at the University of Texas about the Supreme Court's treatment of death penalty cases.  Before 2020, there hadn't been a federal execution since 2003. In the last six months of the Trump presidency, there were 13. Lee tells us how that came to be, and what the justices' writings signal for future death penalty cases.

  • Read Lee's article, "The Trump Exec...
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    It's a deep dive into law and religion in this conservative supermajority iteration of the Supreme Court. Kate talks with Micah Schwartzman of UVA and Nelson Tebbe of Cornell about some of the major religious liberty cases that have come before the Court in recent years, and what the Court may be signaling for the future.

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    July 25, 2022 63 min

    Melissa interviews journalist Joshua Prager about his book, The Family Roe: An American Story. Prager spent hours interviewing Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe), her daughters, and other key figures throughout the decades-long debate over abortion rights in America.

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    July 18, 2022 60 min

    While the Supreme Court gets all the focus, lower federal courts are just as much in need of reform. Unfortunately, rigging the courts is a game the GOP knows how to play. In this episode, Leah talks with Rakim Brooks of Alliance for Justice, and Brandon Hasbrouck* of Washington & Lee Law School, about how federal judges get picked, how Mitch McConnell has played the long game, and how the Democrats need to move forward in the ...

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    July 11, 2022 82 min

    It was a long term. It's over. Leah, Melissa, and Kate recap what all happened, what we maybe learned out of it, and what we have to look forward to.

     

     

    For a transcript of this episode go to https://crooked.com/podcast-series/strict-scrutiny/

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    The Supreme Court finally finished the OT2021 term-- and it was a doozy. Kate and Leah recap the last few opinions, including Oklahoma v. Castro Huerta, with special guest Greg Ablavsky of Stanford Law [3:55], and the "praying coach" case, Kennedy v. Bremerton School District [34:22]. Then, a lighting round of four more opinions and other Court-related news [53:06].

     

    You’re angry. We’re angry. Let’s do something about it. Fr...

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    Kate and Leah break down the "free-wheeling, free association analysis" of the Supreme Court's opinion in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. Basically, it's bad! And not just because of the impending climate apocalypse!

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    The pace of opinion releases has accelerated considerably as we speed toward the end of June and the justices' vacations. Even though last week brought us blockbuster cases about guns and abortions, there are still lots of consequential opinions getting overlooked. Leah, Kate, and Melissa break them down-- after a few more thoughts about Dobbs [5:32]. Plus, Melissa gets to finally flex her British Royals Brain in the court cult...

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    June 24, 2022 65 min

    Today the Supreme Court issued their opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. It overruled Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, meaning there is no longer constitutional protection for the right to an abortion. Melissa, Leah, and Kate recap the horrific opinion by Justice Alito and the somehow-worse concurrence by Justice Thomas, and also read some passages straight from the dissent.

    You’re angry. We’re a...

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    June 24, 2022 70 min

    Today the Supreme Court released its opinion in NYSRPA v. Bruen, saying that the constitutional right to carry a gun extends beyond the home. Kate, Leah, and Melissa break down the opinion and what it means for the future of gun regulations and states' rights.

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    June 20, 2022 68 min

    The Supreme Court handed down 11 opinions last week-- 18 more to go. Leah and Melissa recap the outcomes, and then turn to our weekly "Ginni Tonic" segment, because there's always something new there.

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    June 16, 2022 73 min

    It's a special Pride episode of Strict Scrutiny! Special guests Joshua Matz and Chase Strangio join Melissa, Kate, and Leah to highlight developments and ongoing litigation around LGBTQ rights.

    This year, Crooked Media’s Pride fund is supporting three incredible organizations that provide community building, gender affirming, and life saving resources to the queer and transgender community. Visit crooked.com/pridefund to donate ...

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    June 13, 2022 56 min

    The Supreme Court released four opinions last week (still 20-something to go before the end of the term), so Leah, Kate, and Melissa break them all down. Plus, they address the need for increased security for all federal judges, and offer a recipe for a new, refreshing cocktail to sip while you take in all the news.

    Recapped opinions include the bankruptcy case Siegel v. Fitzgerald [8:26], the Medicaid case Gallardo v. Marstiller [1...

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    June 6, 2022 71 min

    Melissa interviews Elie Mystal about his new book, Allow Me To Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution.

    P.S. Melissa, Kate, and Leah will be on The Problem with Jon Stewart this Thursday, June 9th! Don't miss it.

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    May 30, 2022 72 min

    Investigative journalist Liliana Segura joins Kate, Melissa, and Leah to tell the story of Barry Jones, who was the center of one of the cases in Shinn v. Martinez Ramirez [3:30]. The Supreme Court released an opinion in the case last week, and it's bad. There is a miniscule moment of joy, though, in the recap of the opinion in Morgan v. Sundance, which is about arbitration and also Taco Bell [51:58]. Finally, we do a quick rou...

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    May 23, 2022 68 min

    Ellen Weintraub, commissioner of the Federal Election Commission since 2002, joins Kate and Leah to break down the Supreme Court's opinion in FEC v. Ted Cruz, an important campaign finance case [2:07]. (Commissioner Weintraub also joined us to preview the case before oral arguments-- go back and listen to that episode if you haven't!) Kate and Leah also debrief the opinion Patel v. Garland, a major immigration case with a p...

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    May 16, 2022 81 min

    Kate and Leah spend some additional time on possible fallout from a Dobbs opinion overruling or eviscerating Roe. They interview two people with insight on what we can expect in a post-Roe world. Diana Greene Foster is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences and a researcher on reproductive health at UCSF. She's also the author of The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, a Thousand Women, and t...

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    May 9, 2022 74 min

    Kate, Melissa, and Leah recap the remaining arguments from the April session: Nance v. Ward [1:38] and Biden v. Texas [18:04]. They also get into a unanimous opinion about religious speech [43:28], and of course, break down some court culture before continuing their investigation into the leaked draft opinion [52:30].

    Protect Abortion Access. Donate to Abortion Funds. VoteSaveAmerica.com/roe

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    Kate, Leah and Melissa get together for an emergency episode to discuss a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that indicates the justices are prepared to overrule the decisions protecting and reaffirming the constitutional right to an abortion.

     

    Protect Abortion Access. Donate to Abortion Funds: http://votesaveamerica.com/roe

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    May 2, 2022 73 min

    Leah, Kate, and Melissa bring you a jam-packed show recapping news, arguments, and opinions from the Supreme Court in the past couple weeks. Recaps include "the praying coach case," aka Kennedy v. Bremerton School District [10:26], Shoop v. Twyford [45:27], and Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta [50:05]. We also do some math trying to figure out who might-- or might not-- have the still-to-come opinion in Dobbs [57:21], and get out ...

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