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Episode 62 · 3 months ago

Castle Doctrine Differences

People who watch and comment on politics do so very differently than campaign operatives do. Campaigns use voter scores and voter modeling—which is essentially “Moneyball” for politics—to gauge which voters are worth spending money on. As Sarah explains: “It’s a quadrant: on the y axis you have who you’re going to vote for, and on the x axis, you have your likelihood to vote. So you may be the most Trump-y Trump person ever.” But here’s the kicker: “If I go and look back and you haven’t voted since Jimmy Carter, your propensity to vote is so low, that how much money we’re going to spend on reaching you as a voter is going to actually be pretty low.” Be sure to listen to this episode so our podcast hosts can get more into the weeds about how those voter scores are being used behind the scenes in future episodes.

The country is still mourning the death of Breonna Taylor, an African American woman who was shot and killed by police officers in her Kentucky home during a no-knock raid in March. For years, no-knock warrants have withstood the test of time, given their alleged capacity to protect police and preserve evidence. But as David says, “there’s evidence that no-knock warrants are constitutionally deficient,” and “as a practical matter, castle doctrine and no-knock warrants are incompatible.” Sarah, on the other hand, doesn’t believe the castle doctrine should apply to police. Are no knock raids worth preserving? Why are they so broadly granted to police officers? Sarah and David have answers. Catch up on the latest episode for an update on the Michael Flynn case, subpoenas for Trump’s financial records, and the Hatch Act.

Show Notes:

-Sarah’s newsletter, The Sweep, Jonah’s column on silent MAGA voters.

-SCOTUS opinion authored by Justice Alito on no-knock raids, D.C. v. Heller.

-“Flip It and Reverse It: Squirrel Edition” episode of Advisory Opinions.

-“Trump’s Bank Was Subpoenaed by N.Y. Prosecutors in Criminal Inquiry” in the New York Times.

Episode 61 · 3 months ago

12 Angry Dinosaurs

Rewind millions of years and a dinosaur-killing asteroid is racing toward Earth at breakneck speed. But what exactly happened in the immediate aftermath of this event? Which species survived and which ones were met with instantaneous extinction? In a much-needed break from today’s partisan political climate, David and Sarah are joined by Steve Brusatte, a professor of paleontology and evolution at the University of Edinburgh, for some in-the-field expertise on the dinosaur age. “When the dinosaurs died,” Steve Brusatte explains on today’s podcast, “they died literally because a six-mile wide rock fell out of the sky, traveling faster than a speeding bullet.”

Fast forward to 2020, and paleontology is in high demand. “We’re in this golden age right now,” Brusatte tells David and Sarah. “There’s fifty-something new species of dinosaurs being found every single year.” But realistically speaking, most people have a limited knowledge base about dinosaurs. Was the Tyrannosaurus rex an intelligent dinosaur? Are pterodactyls birds? What are the personality traits that make a good paleontologist? Steve Brusatte has answers. Tune in for some fun facts about pinocchio dinosaurs, banana-sized T-rex teeth, and birds (which are dinosaurs, by the way). For all you Jurassic Park fans out there, you won’t want to miss this one (especially since Brusatte is now a science consultant for the series.)

Show Notes:

-Steve Brusatte’s book, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World, The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman, and She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity by Carl Zimmer.

Episode 60 · 3 months ago

Flip It and Reverse It: Squirrel Edition

The D.C. Circuit has decided to hear the Michael Flynn debacle en banc. For the meantime, as Sarah reminds us on today’s episode, “Michael Flynn seems to be getting some extra justice that a lot of criminal defendants would be really happy to get.” If it goes back to the district court, would Trump pardon him? Our podcasters weigh in.

On Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted that we should consider delaying the election over mail in ballot concerns, which of course he can’t do without congressional approval. Based on data collected from states that regularly use mail-in voting in elections, election fraud isn’t a real concern. But it’s also worth noting that these states were able to plan for their elections years in advance, whereas the pandemic is forcing states into preparing for mail-in voting on a mass scale on very short notice. Are states ready for the legal discrepancies and inevitable ballot invalidations that will ensue? Beyond some election punditry, our podcast hosts also touch on the Supreme Court conference leaks to CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic, the latest updates with DACA, and some hot takes on the importance of the bar exam.

Show Notes:

-Trump tweet about delaying the election.

-Inside scoop on conservative justices from CNN’s Joan Biskupic.

Episode 59 · 3 months ago

99 Problems and an Election is One

Our esteemed podcast host Sarah Isgur launched her new Dispatch newsletter called “The Sweep” today, in which she broke down the effectiveness of the new presidential campaigns ads. Conclusion? Biden’s new ads are strategically boring to offset his opponent’s predictable unpredictability, whereas Trump’s play up the anarchy of the radical left. As Sarah reminds us, persuasion ads don’t work. This leaves candidates with two options: 1) Run up their existing base in enthusiasm and support, or 2) Get their opponent’s base not to vote.

Justice Roberts trended on Twitter Friday night after joining the four liberal justices in denying a Nevada church’s application for injunctive relief over coronavirus restrictions. Religious liberty lovers sounded the alarm for First Amendment violations. But our podcast hosts are less concerned about this case’s long-term effect on religious liberty case law, given the state’s interest in restricting mass gatherings will soon be subverted to transcendent religious liberty concerns once the pandemic subsides. As David says, “The real enemy is not Justice Roberts, the real enemy is the coronavirus.”

Speaking of Supreme Court drama, Josh Hawley told the Washington Post on Sunday that he won’t support any SCOTUS nominee who does not explicitly acknowledge that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided: on the record, and before they are nominated. Was this ridiculous fanfare to fuel his base? Our hosts have some thoughts. Sarah and David wrap up the podcast with some revisionist history on a Merrick Garland Supreme Court tenure and some parental advice on how to teach your kids risk tolerance and moral courage.

Show Notes:

-Sarah’s pilot newsletter, The Sweep: “T-Minus 99 Days and Counting …” and Thursday’s French Press, “Dump Trump, but Don’t Burn Down the GOP.”

-Friday’s Supreme Court dissents on Nevada church case.

-“Sen. Hawley lays down new antiabortion marker for Supreme Court nominees,” Josh Hawley’s recent speech on the failures of the conservative legal movement, and Adrian Vermeule’s case for common-good constitutionalism in the Atlantic.

-Supreme Court opinions: NIFLA v. Becerra, Bostock v. Clayton County, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission , Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey Berru, June Medical Services, United States v. Davis.

-The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff.