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The Citizen's Guide to the Supreme Court

Brett and Nazim are two attorneys who hate being attorneys. In lieu of practicing law, they have instead developed a podcast to help make the Supreme Court more accessible to the average person. Each week, Brett and Nazim will discuss current Supreme Court cases and how they affect your daily life, while also ruminating on how their dreams of fame and fortune resulted in jokes about Star Wars and wondering how Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks about Facebook. This Podcast is for entertainment purposes only and is not legal advice. If anything you hear leads you to believe you need legal advice, please contact an attorney immediately.
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Now displaying: 2016

This podcast is for entertainment purposes only and is not legal advice.  If you hear anything that leads you to believe you need legal advice, please contact an attorney immediately.

Dec 25, 2016

This week's episode covers whether or not Christmas displays are a violation of the Establishment clause, by going through cases like Lee v. Weisman, Lynch v. Donnelly, Allegheny County v. ACLU, & McCreary County v. ACLU.  In addition, Brett and Nazim discuss the current cases of Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapelton, Saint Peter's Health Care System v. Kaplan, and Dignity Health v. Rollins, which cover whether or not institutions that are religious, but not churches, qualify for ERISA exceptions .  The law starts at (03:59).

Dec 21, 2016

This min-episode covers the Court's recent decisions in Shaw and Salman, two criminal procedure cases where technical arguments were denied in favor of keeping the law as is.

Dec 18, 2016

This week's episode covers two cases that relate to the rights of children in schools, including the older case of Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (covering free speech) and the more recent case of Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools (covering administrative remedies for disabled children).  The law starts at (06:16), but jumping ahead would deprive you of the joy of discovering which host is more likely to eat food out of the garbage.

Dec 11, 2016

This week's episode is a rip-roaring dive into the exciting world of civil procedure.  Brett and Nazim discuss how to start a lawsuit, why some lawsuits get dismissed before trial, and why the case of Venezuela v. Helmerich & Payne International is as much about international relations as it is about pleading standards.  Law starts at (03:12), and we mention a lot of listeners by name in this one.

Dec 6, 2016

Brett and Nazim drop by early this week to cover possible lawsuits challenging Donald Trump's presidency, election, and impeachment, and why the Jill Stein Green Party lawsuits are likely to be dismissed by on procedural grounds. 

Dec 4, 2016

There is a lot to unpack with the case of Packingham v. North Carolina, a First Amendment case that asks whether or not the government can criminalize a sex offender's use of social media and other popular websites.  This week, Brett and Nazim discuss how this plays into general Free Speech Law, Due Process considerations, and ex post facto precedent.  This week stays pretty on topic, so the law generally starts at (02:45).

Nov 27, 2016

With topics like this, one would think this would be the most exciting episode of the year; however, that premise ignores the fact that the Supreme Court is a mostly boring institution.  This week, Brett and Nazim cover Shaw v. U.S., Salman v. U.S., and Glouchester County School Board v. G.G. to show why most of the what the Supreme Court does is ticky-tacky administrative decisions that do not always affect broader civil rights.  The law starts at (04:36), but things generally stay on topic from the beginning until Empire Strikes Back comes up around the twenty-six minute mark.

Nov 23, 2016

Just in case you're traveling this week, enjoy this mini-episode to pass the time.  There is no specific Supreme Court case , but instead Brett and Nazim talk about where they stand with the legal profession, whether they regret going to law school, and whether they would advocate for others to go to law school.   Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 20, 2016

This week's episode looks at the vacant 9th seat to the Supreme Court and the Court's history with Justices who were appointed but never sat on the bench.  FULL DISCLOSURE - This episode was recorded in the sweet, innocent time of early September, so there's some sections of this that are moot based on the election.  In other words, come for the history, stay to laugh at the bad predictions from a month ago.  Technically the law starts at (06:39), but the intro sets the table amidst a few short tangents.

Nov 13, 2016

However you feel about the election, it is undeniable that the Supreme Court will be changing over the next few years.  To help map out some of those changes, Brett and Nazim cover a host of different topics stemming from Donald Trump's most recent win the presidential election; including, will Garland be appointed, will a new Scalia be appointed, and will Roe v. Wade be overturned.  No time-stamp because there is generally less nonsense then usual.

Nov 6, 2016

Seriously, though.  Justice Elena Kagan has the least amount of time on the bench, has been recused from big cases, and rarely writes majority opinions or dissents.  Brett and Nazim tackle that question (i.e. "the Deal") by looking at political cases that balance policy and procedure, including AZ Christina School Tuition Organization v. Winn and AZ Free Enterprise Club's Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (i.e. Arizona v. the Super PACS), and the current case of Bethune Hill v. VI State Board of Elections.  Law starts at (07:40).

Oct 30, 2016

This week's episode covers Justice Samuel Alito, and instead of focusing on his "Scalito" moniker, Brett and Nazim cover three cases regarding free speech that present a more tempered and emotional view of Justice Alito that rarely gets talked about.  Those cases include Morse v. Frederick (Bonghitz 4 Jesus), Snyder v. Phelps (Westboro Baptist Church), and Reed v. Town of Gilbert Arizona (Religious Signs).  Law starts at (06:26).

Oct 23, 2016

This week's episode takes a deep dive into Justice Anthony Kennedy, including his background, his famous decisions and how similar he is other noted Republican-but-also-super-liberal Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.  Brett and Nazim also discuss how his writing on the same marriage cases may affect the transgender rights cases likely to be arriving within the next year.  The law false-starts around (04:47) but then goes for real at (07:22).

Oct 16, 2016

Good news and bad news this week.  Good news - there's been a new addition to the Citizen's Guide Family.  Bad news - the 4th Amendment is getting ground into nothing.  This week's spotlight shines on Justice Sotomayor and the case of Manuel v. City of Joliet.

Oct 9, 2016

Everyone knows Ruth Bader Ginsburg the Justice, but this week takes a look at Ruth Bader Ginsburg the creative ACLU attorney who helped shape intermediate scrutiny through gender disparity cases.  These cases, including Fronterio v. Richardson, Weinberger v. Wisenfeld,and Duren v. Missouri, show how equal protection and gender was first developed, often with unexpected methods and angles.  Brett and Nazim then cover the case of Lynch v. Morales Santana, which is either a continuation of Ginsburg's jurisprudence, or a totally new path based on immigration.  Law starts at (08:55).

Oct 2, 2016

This week's spotlight shines on Justice Clarence Thomas and how Thomas' conservative views were bolstered by the presence of Justice Scalia.  Brett and Nazim discuss popular Establishment Clause cases to give context to how Thomas and Scalia worked together and then address the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Pauley, which asks whether or not Missouri can use the First Amendment to avoid giving nominal government services to a church-run day care.  Law starts at (9:04).

Sep 25, 2016

This week's episode continues our weekly focus on individual Justices, with this week's Justice du jour being Stephen Breyer.  Brett and Nazim discuss Breyer's background and cover influential death penalty cases over the last four decades to see if there is traction on finding the death penalty unconstitutional.  Lastly, the current pending case of Moore v. Texas is covered, which asks whether or not the Court has the power to overturn State standards for instituting death that appear at face value to be out of touch.

Sep 18, 2016

This week's episode starts a series of episodes that will examine individual justices, including their background, their big cases, and one big question about them moving forward.  This week covers Chief Justice Roberts, and specifically how Roberts stacks up against Rehnquist, Burger, and Warren.  Law starts at (02:06).

Sep 11, 2016

This week's episode covers a recent Supreme Court denial of an emergency petition by Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson to appear as "Libertarian" and not "Independent" on an Ohio voting ballot.  Surprisingly enough, how you appear on a voting ballot has a history with the Supreme Court and it's own test.  Also surprising this week is the revelation that one of the hosts currently serves as an elected government official.  You'll never guess who! (Spoiler: you probably can).  Law starts at (03:12).

Sep 8, 2016

In what is hopefully the end of our discussion on the Voting Rights Act, Brett and Nazim take one more spin around North Carolina NCAAP v. McCrory to discuss what the most recent decision denying a stay of the 4th Circuit's decision means both practically and politically.  Brett and Nazim also discuss the most recent Michigan case where the Voting Rights Act was used to strike down a ban on straight ticket voting.  The law starts at (03:28), but listening from the beginning may add more context to all the Star Wars jokes.

Sep 4, 2016

This week's episode is a good representation of why its difficult to cover current events in podcast form.  Brett and Nazim begin by discussing the 4th Circuit decision in North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory, which struck down a North Carolina law under grounds that it violated the broad provisions of the Voting Rights Act.  Then, future Brett and Nazim from two weeks later come in to discuss the Supreme Court's grant of cert to this case.  Then finally, just Brett updates the most recent ruling declining a stay from last Thursday.  Law starts at (05:26).

Aug 28, 2016

In part one of a two part CLIFFHANGER (!!!), this week's episode introduces the Voting Rights Act, and specifically how it created a dunce corner for States who could not be trusted to pass fair, non-racist voting laws.  After the goodness of the statute is covered at length, Brett and Nazim discuss how the Supreme Court destroyed that part of the statute in Shelby County v. Holder.  General law talk begins around (03:44) but specific Voting Rights Act law starts at (10:10).

Aug 21, 2016

This week's episode takes us back to the year 2000 when all hell broke loose in the Presidential Election.   Brett and Nazim dive deep into the Bush v. Gore case, including why the case came before the Supreme Court, the lower decisions that put the Supreme Court in place to "decide" the election, and how much blame the Supreme Court should take from this with sixteen years of hindsight on our side.  The entire episode covers the broad context of the issue, but the most specific law starts around (09:30).

Aug 17, 2016

This week's mini-episode covers two State law issues that deal with victorious and/or spiteful Public Defenders, with the first being Delaware's Death Penalty being declared unconstitutional after a case involving the PD's office, and the second being Missouri's PD Office appointing public officials to criminal cases as revenge for a lack of funding.  The recent Third Circuit decision denying New Jersey's sports gambling law is also tacked on, which covers the extent of federal power over selective States.  Law starts at (02:54).

Aug 14, 2016

This week's episode continues the discussion from last week about non-BOR amendments, only this week is decidedly more positive.  This week centers mostly on voting, equality, and taxes; and to liven things up, Brett and Nazim suggest fairly unworkable changes to our existing system of government.   Finally, Brett and Nazim discuss whether or not Citizens United, or any other proposal, will be the next amendment on this list.  Law starts at (06:52).

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