An episodic podcast taking a closer look at landmark civil rights decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court. Host Joe Dunman walks listeners through the arguments and decisions of each case.
Episode 10: Marsh v. Chambers
Maverick Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers sued the state legislature to stop the practice of paying a chaplain to deliver prayers during each session. In 1983, the Supreme Court took up his case, and ruled that such a practice, long a part of American history, should receive a First Amendment pass.
Extra Scrutiny: Before the Court
There are over 1 million attorneys in America. Almost none of them will ever get to argue a case before the US Supreme Court. But for those who do, it is a high honor. Some of the Court's own members have had that honor, including four current Justices.
Episode 9: R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul
In 1990, a St. Paul, MN teenager was arrested for burning a cross in the yard of a black family and charged with violating a city ordinance banning hate speech. Two years later, the US Supreme Court ruled that the ordinance violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment.
Episode 8: Palmer v. Thompson
In the early 1960s, Jackson, Mississippi was ordered by a federal court to desegregate its swimming pools. It closed them all down instead. The Supreme Court ruled that closing all the public pools, even if for a racist reason, was not a violation of the Constitution. The social impact would be felt for generations.
Extra Scrutiny: The "Breyer Pages"
Justice Stephen Breyer likes to ask very long questions. Law professor Josh Blackman tracks those questions in an archive called the Breyer Pages. Listen as Extra Scrutiny briefly explores Justice Breyer's record-setting verbosity.
Episode 7: Employment Division v. Smith
In 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment did not provide an exemption from drug laws for religious practices. In its wake, Congress passed RFRA, which has changed the landscape of religious freedom in America.