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25 minutes | Oct 18, 2020
The Law episode 83: Presser v. Illinois
In a U.S. Supreme Court opinion written between the passage of the 14th Amendment and when the Court started “incorporating” the Bill of Rights against the states, the Court upheld the conviction and $10 fine against Herman Presser. Presser had led a group of about 400 armed people calling themselves Lehr und Wehr Verein (The Teaching and Defense Association), a pro-labor socialist group, in a parade through Chicago. In what must have quite the spectacle, Presser led the parade on a horse and carried a cavalry sword. Such armed parades were against Illinois law. Sometimes this case is cited, erroneously, by gun control advocates. Find out why. The post The Law episode 83: Presser v. Illinois appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
36 minutes | Aug 14, 2020
The Law episode 82: Jacobson v. Massachusetts
What is the extent of government authority to “protect” the common good during a public health crisis? Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court denied a California church’s request to stop the enforcement of certain public health rules that negatively affected the way the church conducted religious services. In doing so, the Court relied upon the 115 year old Jacobson case that upheld a mandatory smallpox vaccination. The language used by the Court in Jacobson is frightening: “The possession and enjoyment of all rights are subject to such reasonable conditions as may be deemed by the governing authority of the country essential to the safety, health, peace, good order, and morals of the community.” We discuss where that standard leads. The post The Law episode 82: Jacobson v. Massachusetts appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
29 minutes | Aug 7, 2020
The Law episode 81: Bostock v. Clayton County
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of the United States — in a 6-3 decision in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County — held that homosexual and transgender people are protected from employment discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act prohibits discrimination against anyone “because of sex.” Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, concluded that firing someone from a job due to their homosexuality or transgender status is prohibited by that language. The post The Law episode 81: Bostock v. Clayton County appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
36 minutes | Jul 30, 2020
The Law episode 80: Chiafalo v. Washington
In the conclusion to the rogue elector saga we have been following, the Supreme Court applied what I refer to as the “Erosion Doctrine” to unanimously hold that states can turn their presidential electors into mere rubber stamps, thus depriving them of any discretion when selecting the president. Over two centuries, the power of electors to use their discretion slowly eroded until this case, decided earlier this year, officially killing off that discretion and an original part of the Constitution with it. The post The Law episode 80: Chiafalo v. Washington appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
36 minutes | Jul 24, 2020
The Law episode 79: Ramos v. Louisiana
Earlier this year, SCOTUS overturned precedent by a 6-3 margin and held that states cannot convict someone of a criminal offense unless the jury verdict is unanimous. Evangelisto Ramos had been convicted by a 10-2 verdict and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in Louisiana. Ramos was granted a new trial by this decision. The post The Law episode 79: Ramos v. Louisiana appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
25 minutes | Apr 19, 2020
The Law episode 78: RNC v. DNC
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a controversial 5-4 decision, overruled a lower court order expanding Wisconsin statutory deadlines for submitting mail-in ballots due to the state government’s response to the Coronavirus. The five justice majority were all appointed by Republican presidents. The four justice minority were all appointed by Democratic presidents. Was this a strictly partisan outcome? The post The Law episode 78: RNC v. DNC appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
41 minutes | Apr 11, 2020
The Law episode 77: South Dakota v. Dole
I could drink, legally, during my freshman year of college, but not my sophomore year. Then I was legal again my junior year. Why? Because of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. What authority does Congress have to set the drinking age for the states? That’s what South Dakota wanted to know. South Dakota said Congress had no such authority. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, disagreed. They upheld the act. We discuss it. The post The Law episode 77: South Dakota v. Dole appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
38 minutes | Apr 4, 2020
The Law episode 76: Allen v. Cooper
Pirates! Blackbeard! Queen Anne’s Revenge! Sovereign immunity! Enumerated powers! And, sexiest of all, copyright law! Stare decisis and legislative history, and separation of powers, too. The U.S. Supreme Court, just two weeks ago, dealt with them all. Did I mention PIRATES?! Avast, check it out, matey. The post The Law episode 76: Allen v. Cooper appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
45 minutes | Mar 27, 2020
The Law episode 75: Ex parte Milligan
During the Civil War, Lambdin Milligan, a citizen of Indiana, was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced by a military tribunal to hang for alleged anti-Union activities. He argued his conviction was illegal and sought a writ of Habeas Corpus for his release. A unanimous Supreme Court ruled in Milligan’s favor. This case discussed the suspension of Habeas Corpus, martial law, and the power of government action during “exigencies” like a war (or coronavirus outbreak). A very timely case from the Civil War era. The post The Law episode 75: Ex parte Milligan appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
34 minutes | Mar 19, 2020
The Law episode 74: Bad Elk v. US
In 1899, in a story that could have been an episode of Gunsmoke or Bonanza, tribal police officer John Bad Elk shot and killed another tribal officer who was attempting to arrest him. Bad Elk was convicted and sentenced to be hanged. The U.S. Supreme Court awarded Bad Elk a new trial based on the common law argument that he had the right to resist an unlawful arrest. Sometimes, even today, this case will be cited for that proposition. However, the common law rule has been changed by statute just about everywhere. Do not do what John Bad Elk did. His argument no longer holds up. The post The Law episode 74: Bad Elk v. US appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
31 minutes | Mar 12, 2020
The Law episode 73: Miller v. Wyoming
In November, 2013, Robert Miller was driving through Wyoming on his way to his home in Illinois. During a traffic stop, a state trooper discovered $470,040 in cash in his car. And took it. Just last week, the Wyoming State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the State of Wyoming had to return the cash it had taken from Mr. Miller during the stop. Criminal charges were never filed against Mr. Miller, yet the state intended to keep the cash it had confiscated pursuant to the Orwellian Newspeak term “civil asset forfeiture.” The post The Law episode 73: Miller v. Wyoming appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
36 minutes | Mar 6, 2020
The Law episode 72: Texas v. Johnson
In this 5-4 1989 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that burning an American flag was speech the government could not punish pursuant to the First Amendment. Gregory Johnson, a member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, participated in an anti-government protest during the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, TX. The protest ended in Mr. Johnson burning an American flag in front of Dallas City Hall. He was arrested and sentenced to one year in jai. The majority of the Court held this conviction was a violation of the First Amendment. The dissent, however, said the flag was such an important symbol, they would make an exception to the Constitution for it. The post The Law episode 72: Texas v. Johnson appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
32 minutes | Feb 27, 2020
The Law episode 71: U.S. v. Nixon
In this unanimous decision, the Supreme Court rejected President Nixon’s contention that all communication involving the Chief Executive of the United States—which just happened to be him—was immune from production in a criminal investigation. The case arose out of the investigation of the Watergate break-in and subsequent coverup. Nixon was ordered to comply with a subpoena to produce recordings of conversations he had made in the Oval Office. Sixteen days after this decision, Nixon resigned. The post The Law episode 71: U.S. v. Nixon appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
38 minutes | Feb 20, 2020
The Law episode 70: West Coast Hotel v. Parrish
This is the U.S. Supreme Court case that ended the Lochner era of jurisprudence. It is allegedly the “switch in time that saved nine,” a reference to the Court abruptly changing course shortly after FDR announced his court packing plan. Justice Owen Roberts, in a span of a few months, changed his vote from a similar case and allowed the State of Washington, in this case, to implement a minimum wage law for women. It was another step in the direction of the intrusive, bureaucratic, centrally planned regulatory state that now exists. The post The Law episode 70: West Coast Hotel v. Parrish appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
42 minutes | Feb 13, 2020
Speakeasy Today #60: “I Feel…” and the Rejection of Reason
The post Speakeasy Today #60: “I Feel…” and the Rejection of Reason appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
23 minutes | Feb 13, 2020
The Law episode 69: Blumenthal v. Trump
Just this week, a unanimous D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a lawsuit filed by over 200 members of Congress alleging Donald Trump is in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. The court held the members of Congress did not have standing to bring the lawsuit. So this week, we discuss the Emoluments Clause itself and the concept of judicial “standing.” What does they mean? Check out this week’s edition of The Law for the answer. The post The Law episode 69: Blumenthal v. Trump appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
26 minutes | Feb 6, 2020
The Law episode 68: Lochner v. NY
This 5-4 Supreme Court decision—which struck down a state regulation that made it a crime to allow an employee to work more than 60 hours a week as a violation of an individual’s liberty to contract—is largely ridiculed in law schools today and by modern central planners. Find out why. The post The Law episode 68: Lochner v. NY appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
45 minutes | Feb 4, 2020
Speakeasy Today #59: How Lessons From The Past Are Relevant Today
The post Speakeasy Today #59: How Lessons From The Past Are Relevant Today appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
18 minutes | Jan 30, 2020
The Law episode 67: The Death Penalty
The death penalty is back in the news this week as the Colorado General Assembly considers a bill to ban the punishment. Nationwide, the practice is on the decline. While the concept of a death penalty is constitutional, is it a good idea? Should the government be trusted with the power of execution? What role does the jury really play? Here are some thoughts for your consideration. The post The Law episode 67: The Death Penalty appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
31 minutes | Jan 23, 2020
The Law episode 66: Juliana v. US (9th Cir. 2020)
Just last week, in a 2-1 decision, the 9th Circuit correctly tossed out the “climate kids’” lawsuit seeking a judicial order requiring the executive and legislative branches to design and implement policy the plaintiffs had been unable to convince the political branches to enact. The plaintiffs sought no less than a judicial coup over the co-equal legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government. The Obama appointed federal judges rejected that unconstitutional request. The post The Law episode 66: Juliana v. US (9th Cir. 2020) appeared first on Speakeasy Ideas.
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