24 episodes

Prohibitions on excessive fines date back at least as far as Magna Carta in 1215, and the U.S. Constitution has barred excessive fines since 1791. But the Supreme Court has only recently begun to interpret what the Excessive Fines Clause means, and it wasn't until 2019 that the Court said the Clause applies to the states.





On this episode: the story of how the Supreme Court finally began to incorporate the Bill of Rights rights against the states and the history of excessive fines.

Bound By Oath by IJ Institute for Justice

    • Government
    • 4.8 • 268 Ratings

Prohibitions on excessive fines date back at least as far as Magna Carta in 1215, and the U.S. Constitution has barred excessive fines since 1791. But the Supreme Court has only recently begun to interpret what the Excessive Fines Clause means, and it wasn't until 2019 that the Court said the Clause applies to the states.





On this episode: the story of how the Supreme Court finally began to incorporate the Bill of Rights rights against the states and the history of excessive fines.

    Trailer: Season 2

    Trailer: Season 2

    Why is it so hard to sue officials who violate the Constitution? Season 2 of Bound By Oath is coming soon.



    Click here for transcript.



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    • 3 min
    They're Going to Kill This Man

    They're Going to Kill This Man

    In 2014, two members of a joint state-federal fugitive task force beat up an innocent college student, James King, after mistaking him for a suspect who looked nothing like him. The officers had James prosecuted for resisting arrest, which a jury quickly threw out. Then, in 2015, he sued the officers for violating his rights. In 2020, James' suit reached the U.S. Supreme Court, where the question the Court faced was a narrow one: Can he even sue the officers in the first place?



    On Season 2 of Bound By Oath, we'll explore why it is so hard to sue government officials who violate the Constitution.



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    • 38 min
    Death By a Thousand Cuts

    Death By a Thousand Cuts

    For victims of government misconduct, whether you can sue the officials who violated your constitutional rights often depends on whether the officials are federal, state, or local government employees. On Episode 2, we look at federal officials. We'll head out to Wyoming where a rancher subjected to a 12-year campaign of harassment found out the hard way that all too often the Constitution simply isn't enforceable against federal officials.



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    • 1 hr 5 min
    The Bubble

    The Bubble

    By any measure, the conditions that Lee Saunders endured in the psych unit at the Brevard County jail in Florida were shockingly inhumane. But when he sued over the overcrowding, abusive treatment, and denial of basic sanitation, the courts ruled that the officer in charge was immune from suit. On this episode, we explore the state of qualified immunity doctrine today and whether the Supreme Court’s justifications for its policy of shielding officials from suit—even when they have violated the Constitution—hold water.



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    • 1 hr 9 min
    Outrage Legislation

    Outrage Legislation

    Section 1983 is one of the most important civil rights laws on the books; tens of thousands of plaintiffs file Section 1983 cases each year seeking to hold state and local officials to account for unconstitutional conduct ranging from excessive force and false arrest, to violations of free speech rights and much else. But where does the law come from? In this episode, we explore the origins of Section 1983, or, as it was originally called, Section One of the Ku Klux Klan Act 1871.



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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Under Color of Law

    Under Color of Law

    In Chicago in 1958, over a dozen police officers barged into the home of a sleeping family with guns drawn. They didn't have a warrant, and it turned out they didn't have the right man. When the family's civil rights claim reached the Supreme Court, it resulted in the landmark case of of Monroe v. Pape, which finally — 90 years after Congress authorized such suits — opened the doors of federal courthouses to victims of unconstitutional misconduct by state and local officials. On this episode, we hear about the raid from people who experienced it firsthand. 



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    Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, and Stitcher.

    • 1 hr 9 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
268 Ratings

268 Ratings

4Bivens ,

Better Than Going to Law School

As a lawyer, I can honestly say this podcast is better than any legal class I ever took. It’s informative and fascinating, just vital to understanding constitutional litigation in our country.

Mr. Buster! ,

Searing and sobering

If you appreciate shows like the Forgotten Wars Podcast that strive to tell meaningful, informative history without being sensational or crass, then Bound By Oath is for you. Warning, this is sobering stuff.

Gelatinous Parcel ,

Makes you want to go to law school

On the one hand, the podcast is a depressing parade of injustice; on the other, there are occasional victories, and it's the victories that make you have some hope, and also a lot of admiration for the attorneys who make it their mission to take on these often frustrating constitutional cases.

The show is well-paced, and not so technical that it makes it hard for those outside the law to follow the stories. Well-produced, too: aside from some questionable dramatizations, the podcast isn't overproduced with snappy editing, music, and sound effects. It's pared-down and to the point.

Very much hoping for a new season.

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