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My name is Ian and I am fascinated with constitutional law. This podcast examines constitutional issues surrounding the governmental “lockdown” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This podcast will also feature discussions about COVID-19 legal issues in the workplace. It is easy for people to say laws are unconstitutional but it is hard to understand why. I hope you learn more about our countries history and constitution so you can better understand the issues we face today.The information ...
 
Law, politics, crime, and culture—in a word, "conflict". If you have trouble telling the good guys from the bad guys, Law and Legitimacy is your podcast. Norm Pattis is a trial and appellate lawyer focused on criminal defense and constitutional rights. Norm is also a long-time newspaper columnist and the owner of one of New England's oldest bookstores. A contrarian by nature, he believes that no group is quite so frightening as a self-righteous mob. His objective? To make you think. Welcome ...
 
Professor Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University and one of the nation's leading authorities on the Constitution, offers weekly in-depth discussions on the most urgent and fascinating constitutional issues of our day. He is joined by co-host Andy Lipka and guests drawn from other top experts including Bob Woodward, Nina Totenberg, Neal Katyal, Lawrence Lessig, Michael Gerhardt, and many more.
 
The Sir David Williams Lecture is an annual address delivered by a guest lecturer in honour of Sir David Williams, Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of English Law and Emeritus Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University. The lecture series is hosted by the Centre for Public Law (CPL). The Cambridge Faculty of Law has a long tradition of outstanding scholarship in Constitutional and Administrative Law as can be seen from the contributions of E.C.S. Wade, Stanley de Smith and Sir William Wade. Today ...
 
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Akhil and Andy move from The College of New Jersey - Princeton in the period of America’s Founding - to the Princeton University of today, and discuss matters of agreement and disagreement between Akhil and some of the Orange and Black’s leading faculty lights. Topics range from the 1619 project to the Electoral College and some of Andrew Jackson’s…
 
This was an odd week on the frontiers of the emerging racial divisions in the United States. From the federal appellate courts, good news — the 6th Circuit struct down a federal program giving preferential access to federal coronavirus relief funds on the basis of race and gender. From Yale University, troubling news — it took the university months…
 
In, “Motherhood on Trial: Pregnant and Incarcerated,” Legal Administrative Associate Afrika Owes spoke with De'Jone Watts about her experiences as an incarcerated mother and shed light on the traumatizing experience of preparing to give birth while incarcerated. De'Jone, a women's support and social services manager at Root & Rebound, whose mission…
 
Akhil and Andy continue their look around the Ivy League. Having dispensed with Harvard, Princeton enters their sights, particularly their great early product, James Madison. Was he truly “the father of the Constitution,” and why does it matter? Two of the most important early Supreme Court cases are implicated - one you probably have heard of, and…
 
Episode 32 is special in more ways than one. Last week, the world lost a titan of American jurisprudence and criminal advocacy, F. Lee Bailey. This episode is thus devoted entirely to the man and the legend F. Lee Bailey was and will forever be known to be. We start with a reading from the Norm Pattis Blog, Farewell to a Legend: F. Lee Bailey, whic…
 
I took a road trip to Vermont the other day. I found myself myself, in the end, standing along the border to Canada deep in the woods, looking at a marker dividing one country from another. It was a source of delight, really, imagining myself as Humpty Dumpty on the wall, looking down on a continent filled with scrambling folks trying to reassemble…
 
That little-known school in Cambridge, Massachusetts keeps popping up. Akhil and Andy, objective Yale men as always, look at how Harvard was in the room at the American Revolution’s first stirrings, how generations of Harvard men kept a version of that story alive, and how today’s Cantab Crowd stumble over their own stories in ways that profoundly …
 
My second long-form interview guest for Law and Legitimacy is a law student. We'll call him 'Student X'. Some say lawyers are born and not made. I’m not so sure about that. Lawyering is hard work; it takes training to earn the right to stand in the law’s trenches. In this interview, we’ll discuss what it’s like to be a law student. Student X is a r…
 
The men of Law Talk are getting Memorial Day weekend off to an early start with a spirited session in the faculty lounge. On the agenda: does a new Mississippi case mean Roe v. Wade is living on borrowed time? Does international law provide a remedy for a journalist’s imprisonment in Belarus? Or a potential lab leak in China? Will Florida get laugh…
 
Calls for a commission to study the January 6 “insurrection” at the Capitol present an interesting opportunity to take a long and sustained look at what ails the American republic. But the Commission needs to ask the right questions. And? It needs to be staffed by the right scholars. In this podcast, I provide what I believe to be the proper framin…
 
For more than 50 years, any discussion of criminal defense attorneys, legal academics, and civil libertarians - as well as staunch advocates for Israel - included Professor Alan Dershowitz. Today he joins “Amarica’s Constitution” for a far-ranging conversation. Torture warrants, Trump’s misdeeds, the life of a principled advocate and his family, ce…
 
A son in search of his father; a mother’s fearful tears; and the fidelity of lifelong friends. You will find some part of your life in these pages. Too busy to read? Fine—I will read for you. Listen as though your soul’s life depends on it, because, in fact it does. Herewith, Book IV of Homer’s Odyssey. See: LAL #024 for my reading of Book III. See…
 
I re-read Orwell’s 1984 the other day — one of the joys afforded by cross-country travel is the plenty of downtime in airports and on planes. How well does Orwell’s fears of a totalitarian society account for what we have become, and are becoming? The work is bleak, as those of you who read it through to the end know. But don’t assume that just bec…
 
My first long-form interview guest for Law and Legitimacy is one of America's great trial lawyers, R. Rex Parris. Rex is also a mayor, the founder of a biotech company, and an environmental activist. My main question to Rex: what do you see in a courtroom? His answers will surprise you. Rex has spent several decades mastering cognitive sciences, tr…
 
Our series on civil liberties, including especially the First Amendment and free speech, continues with perhaps its greatest advocate before the Supreme Court, Floyd Abrams. It’s natural to assume that Floyd would be an absolutist on such bedrocks as the case New York Times v. Sullivan - especially since he has represented The NY Times for years. B…
 
What's going on?! However this episode is reaching you, I hope it finds you well. My name is Michael Boyer. I am the managing attorney for Carolina Craft Legal here in beautiful Greensboro, North Carolina. I have for the last six-or-so weeks been assisting Norm from afar on all things technical and quality for this podcast, Law and Legitimacy. I tr…
 
In the wake of the publication of The Words That Made Us, Akhil comes full circle, as his first book was The Bill of Rights. To complete that circle, Professor Nadine Strossen, the youngest person and first woman to lead the ACLU as its president (for 17 years!) joins Akhil and Andy for a discussion that ranges from the current Supreme Court case o…
 
"Though as for death, of course all men must suffer it: the gods may love a man, but they can’t help him when cold death comes to lay him on his bier." Too busy to read? Fine—I will read for you. Listen as though your soul’s life depends on it, because, in fact it does. Herewith, Book III of Homer’s Odyssey. See: LAL #022 for my reading of Book II.…
 
The law is a clear: a defendant is entitled to a fair trial, not a perfect trial. In the case of Minnesota v. Derek Chauvin, there are good reasons to doubt whether Chauvin received a fair trial. Even the federal government seems to acknowledge that; why else would federal prosecutors bring federal charges before sentence is even imposed? Chauvin’s…
 
Too busy to read? Fine—I will read for you. Listen as though your soul’s life depends on it, because, in fact it does. Herewith, Book II of Homer’s Odyssey. See: LAL #020 for my reading of Book I. _____________________________________ I’ve a confession: Months go by without my ever turning on the television; I cannot recall the last time I watched …
 
As Akhil and Andy celebrate the publication this week of The Words That Made Us, Akhil tells a story from the book - the crazy election of 1800 and its just-barely-peaceful transfer of power. And what is John Marshall up to? He’s everywhere: Secretary of State and Chief Justice at once, a pseudonymous scheming columnist, and in the end, the man wit…
 
Big news! Next week, Law and Legitimacy will conduct its first guest interview! We’ll aim to interview at least one person a week in a long-form format. If you’d like to be a guest or want to suggest a guest to be interviewed, shoot a note to npattis@pattislaw.com. Put “Law and Legitimacy” in the subject line. Onward . . . I’d prefer to have option…
 
I’ve a confession: Months go by without my ever turning on the television; I cannot recall the last time I watched cable news. I see the talking heads, and I think Macbeth: “Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, ful…
 
Brooklyn prosecutors rushed a prosecution to trial involving alleged “true threats” against federal officials. They did so for political reasons. That should worry everyone who cares about freedom of speech. Although the first amendment to the United States speaks in terms so clear as to defy confusion — “Congress shall make no law … abridging the …
 
I support the religious exemption to childhood vaccination and I will happily fight for repeal of the law abolishing it in Connecticut. The law scares me. It should scare you, too. Who gets to decide the goals by which you live your life? Certainly not the state. Jesus once asked, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his…
 
There’s no spring break in the faculty lounge, as Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo turn their attention to a bevy of cases before the Supreme Court. Will the justices strike down New York’s strict gun control laws? Can California force non-profits to disclose their donors? Will an angry high school cheerleader in Pennsylvania change the face…
 
On April 12, 2021, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed petitions on behalf of clients who were sentenced to Death By Incarceration by non-unanimous juries in Louisiana, where they remain in the Louisiana State Penitentiary colloquially known as “Angola,” despite the Supreme Court’s clear ruling that their convictions were unconstitutional. W…
 
The Biden Commission is in the news, with a mandate to produce ideas on judicial reform, especially at the Supreme Court level. It just so happens that Akhil has been writing about this for almost 20 years, and has fully formed ideas. How many ways would these changes make the Court better? We’ll count. Of course, the historical and constitutional …
 
Police reform is easy. It starts with an act of Congress requiring each and every shooting death case to be heard by a jury. Let the people decide what is and is not reasonable. We get the government we deserve, but that doesn’t mean we should accept whatever is dished out in the name of justice. When government fails, we the people should have the…
 
Social media companies enjoy the benefit of immunity from suit for the things they publish, thanks to Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act. Known commonly as "Section 230", this federal legislation gives the social media giants enormous competitive advantage over traditional media, who are not granted immunity. In theory, the grant…
 
Adam Smith published "Wealth of Nations" in 1776—the same year that Thomas Jefferson composed the Declaration of Independence. The two events are unrelated, of course, and, of the two works, I suggest that Smith’s has been the more influential. Smith asserted that an unregulated economy in which each individual were free to pursue their own sense o…
 
Recall Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, written in 1852? It helped galvanize abolitionists in the 1850s. Even if you’ve not read the book, you’ve no doubt heard the term “Uncle Tom.” It’s an insult leveled against persons of color if they appear to show too tender a regard for the white folks. Times have changed. In an era of Black Lives …
 
In the wake of the imminent release of The Words That Made Us, Akhil takes us to the end of the story - or was it? The deaths of America’s founders were all memorable in ways that reflected the character of each. This can’t be a coincidence, he maintains, and if it wasn’t, then what was it? The founders managed to leave their mark on the stage as t…
 
The verdict in the Derek Chauvin case was swift and unanimous: guilty on all counts. I would have acquitted, and, candidly, I think I would have won the case if I tried it, but … Attention now focuses on Mr. Chauvin’s appeal and post-conviction remedies. He stands an excellent chance of winning a new trial on the basis of the trial courts refusal t…
 
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters traveled from Washington, D.C., to suburban Minnesota last weekend to attend a rally related to the police shooting of Daunte Wright. She didn't need an investigation to conclude that this was yet more evidence on America's war on men of color. She couldn't sleep, she was so upset. And she had a message for the jurors in the…
 
The unvarnished truth is that there is a steady rate of police shootings in the United States, roughly 1,000 per year. And, each year, roughly 51 police officers are gunned down in the line of duty. On balance, when deaths are population adjusted, police officers are more likely to be killed doing their job than they are to be kill. Policing is dan…
 
Closing arguments have taken place in the Derek Chauvin murder trial in Minneapolis. This is the most significant criminal trial in America since John Adams' defense of the British soldiers following the famed Boston Massacre trial in 1770. The Rule of Law is on trial here. Do we assess the evidence against Chauvin under the rule of law, or do we l…
 
When the Supreme Court opened its doors in 1790, there were six (6) justices. The number of justices changed six times until the 1860s, and has been steady at nine (9) since then. The Constitution does not set the number of justices; Congress gets to do that. The last time there was a threat to increase the number of justices was when President Fra…
 
Don't get me wrong—I'm all in favor of vaccinations. But I hate the idea of vaccine passports. Once we get accustomed to limiting access to public places, and goods and services, based on compliance with public directives about what's good for us, there's no telling where it will end. China uses a social scoring method to ration access to goods and…
 
Derek Chauvin is sure to be convicted, right? I mean, isn't that what the press coverage says? Don't rely on the press. I've had plenty of cases that were widely reported as they were conducted. I used to read the coverage. It felt like I was getting access to the thirteenth juror. Win the case in the press and you're all set, right? Wrong. More of…
 
Query: What scares you more? Speech you can ignore, or the censor who decides what you can see? The United States Supreme Court rejected a petition we filed on behalf of Alex Jones of Infowars on April 5, 2021. It signals yet again that the Court is ripe to consider recognizing a hate speech exception to the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of …
 
The reparations bandwagon is gathering steam. Are you ready to pay race-based transfer payments or to allocate public goods on the basis of race? What about equal protection of the law? The Age of Reparations is upon us. More than 150 years after the abolition of slavery, a century after the dismantling of Jim Crow, and 60 years after comprehensive…
 
After two days of trial in the Derek Chauvin case, folks kept asking me: What's going on? Why isn't the defense objecting to the "expert" testimony of the mixed martial arts (MMA) fact witness, Donald Wynn Williams? I explore trial strategy and tactics in this podcast. I won't pretend to know what is on the mind of Derek Chauvin's lead counsel, Eri…
 
The truth is that I have issues with authority, and I am a contrarian. That's why I write about law and legitimacy; it's also why I represent unpopular people. I suspect I'd do the same thing in paradise, should I ever get there. In this episode I peel back the curtain and give you a glimpse of why these issues are so important to me. This is a dee…
 
Focus on the Causation. Did police officers actually cause the death of Mr. Floyd? If so, how? And if officers did, were their actions justified? No one has been charged with intentional homicide here. The legally significant questions are what did Mr. Chauvin know and when did he know it? Mr. Floyd was complaining that he couldn't breathe long bef…
 
Do you ever wonder about the difference between a police officer and a gang member? Both might be armed with a gun. Both can ask for your wallet. Odds are, you will give your wallet to both but feel differently about the reasons for compliance. The small difference between complying out of fear and complying out of a sense of duty is Legitimacy. LA…
 
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