Voting Battles Head to Court


We’ve already seen record early turnout this election cycle. Our hosts have three major takeaways from the surge: 1) It means the polls are more likely to be accurate (the registered voter number is likely to reflect the actual voter number), 2) It means that we’re going to see interesting shift in how both candidates’ spend time on the campaign trail before Tuesday, 3) It means we have a record number of absentee ballots, which will lead to a concomitant surge in election litigation. In the hopper for the rest of today’s podcast: judicial oaths of office, turnout in swing states, and election litigation galore (with a close look at Wisconsin and Pennsylvania!)

Show Notes:

-Join The Dispatch for a post-election gathering featuring congressional leadership and top policy experts November 9-10: Sign up here!

-Marquette Law poll on voters’ optimism that their preferred candidate will win, Wednesday’s Morning Dispatch: “Election Litigationpalooza,” a statement on the Pennsylvania ballot deadline litigation from Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Thomas.

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Episodes (86)

Episode 66 · 3 months ago

Democrats Go Virtual, Bannon Goes to Court

Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon was arrested Thursday—along with Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea—after federal prosecutors discovered they defrauded donors involved with the “We Build the Wall” campaign, a GoFundMe that shored up $25 million in donations since its inception in 2018. The unsealed federal indictment is damning, and even shows evidence of the grifters’ amusement with scamming their donors and misappropriating the funds for personal use. The grift looks a lot like what happened recently with the NRA with Wayne LaPierre, and reminds us that scamming donors is an ever-present problem on the Right. As David says on today’s pod, “Right-wing institutions are bilking from angry grandpas and grandmas—their extra dollars—to fight for the people, when they’re really conning the people.” Catch the latest episode for some highlights (and lowlights) of the Democratic Convention, a primer on employment law in relation to the Goodyear diversity slideshow, Facebook’s strike against QAnon and Antifa, and an answer to a listener question from about the citizenship of a tv show character.

Show Notes:

-Trump embracing QAnon in front of reporters, Sarah’s “Mid Week Mop-Up With Mo Elleithee”, parody Orrin Hatch tweet, and the indictment against Steve Bannon, Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea.

Episode 65 · 3 months ago

Legacy Nerds

The 9th Circuit recently heard an appeal from a challenge to the state of California’s ban on large capacity magazines (in this case, any magazine that holds 10 or more rounds). California didn’t just ban the sale of these magazines, it banned their transfer, importation, and outright possession in the state. The 9th Circuit ended up striking down this law and departing from its sister circuits on the question of scrutiny. The precise contours of the Second Amendment remain up in the air in the post-D.C. v. Heller era, but our podcast hosts are armed with a war chest of constitutional history that helps break down gun rights precedent for our listeners. In today’s episode,  Sarah and David also dive into the John Durham probe into former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith’s falsified surveillance warrants against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

In keeping with August’s Monday nerdery trend, our hosts are joined today by Rob Daviau, a professional legacy board game creator. Daviau has worked on more than 80 published games—including Risk 2210 AD, Axis & Allies Pacific, Star Wars Epic Duels, and Clue Harry Potter—and has been a professor of game design at Hampshire College and NYU. Tune in to today’s episode to learn the ins and outs behind legacy board game creation and to learn why a game with bad math doesn’t work.

Show Notes:

-United States v. Carolene Products Company and Harlan Fiske Stone’s famous Footnote Four.

Episode 64 · 3 months ago

Here We Go Again

In 2017, an anonymous individual named “Q” began posting on a public messaging board called 4chan about “Pizzagate,” a conspiracy theory alleging that a restaurant called Comet Ping Pong was really an underground child sex trafficking ring run by deep state political elites. Q quickly gained acclaim online after he continued posting unsubstantiated clues—what QAnon followers call “bread crumbs”—about a prophetic “Great Awakening” that is in store, when deep state Democrats will supposedly be held accountable for their “crimes.” On Tuesday, avowed QAnon sympathizer Marjorie Taylor Greene won a Republican congressional primary in Georgia. Beyond her avowal of QAnon, she is a 9/11 truther, has called black people “slaves” to the Democratic Party, and has characterized the 2018 House midterms “an Islamic invasion of our government.” What’s worse, the president congratulated her win on Twitter after her victory. Given Georgia’s 14th District is a reliably red district, she’s almost certainly headed toward Congress. What does this mean for the future of the GOP? David and Sarah have some thoughts.

Be sure to listen to today’s episode to hear our podcast hosts discuss the new police officer body camera footage leading up to George Floyd’s killing, as well as the constitutional underpinnings of John Eastman’s Newsweek piece questioning Kamala Harris’ eligibility for office on birtherist grounds.

Show Notes:

-John Eastman’s Newsweek piece on Kamala Harris, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, Thomas v. Lynch 5th circuit case, D.C. circuit case, statutory citizenship rights explainer.

-Police officer body camera footage leading up to George Floyd’s murder.

-Professor Ted Sampsell-Jones on the charges in the George Floyd case.

-Pew Research Center polling on QAnon.

Episode 63 · 3 months ago

Our Place in the Stars

How realistic is the SpaceX dream to get to Mars? What does the latest scientific literature have to say about supernovae? Is there intelligent life in the universe? Today, Sarah and David are joined by Atlantic staff writer Marina Koren for a deep dive into all things space. Hear everything there is to know about the space race between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, colliding black holes, and other crazy interstellar phenomena.

But today’s episode would be incomplete without its requisite dose of legal nerdery. Tune in to hear David and Sarah break down the legality of Trump’s latest executive actions and offer some insights on the D.C. circuit’s decision regarding the House Judiciary Committee and former White House counsel Don McGahn.

Show Notes:

-The D.C. Circuit McGahn case and the president’s executive actions this weekend: student loan payment relief memorandum, executive order on evictions, payroll tax deferral memorandum, unemployment insurance memorandum.

-Advisory Opinions episode with Josh Blackman, associate professor of law at the South Texas College of Law Houston.

-“Black Holes Really Know How to Savor Their Meals” by Marina Koren, and her author page at The Atlantic.