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Life of the Law

Justices on the Move

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

It’s hard to imagine Supreme Court Justices working outside of Washington, D.C. But for the first half of our country’s history, they spent much of their time traveling as circuit court judges. And it may have made them better Supreme Court justices.

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The Takeaway

Church, State & the Supreme Court

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The small town of GreeceNew York is thrust into the national spotlight this week as the Supreme Court hears arguments on whether the town’s council can open its meetings with Christian prayers. Sarah Barringer Gordon, professor of law and history at the University of Pennsylvania, examines the Greece case and the historical role of religion in public life.

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The Takeaway

Why You Did (Or Didn't) Quit Smoking

Monday, November 04, 2013

New York City has passed a new law setting 21 as the new legal age to purchase cigarettes, both tobacco and electronic. Will this law lead to fewer smokers? What anti-smoking efforts actually make a difference? Jody Sindelar, a health economist and professor at the Yale School of Public Health who uses behavioral economics to study addiction, explains.

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The Takeaway

Courts and the Constitution: Stop-and-Frisk and Abortion Restrictions

Friday, November 01, 2013

Yesterday brought two major legal decisions with big implications in two states. In Texas, a Federal Appeals Court reversed a ruling by a federal judge made just three days prior that would block key components of the state's new restrictive abortion law In New York City, a Federal Appeals Court halted a major decision from August that had deemed stop-and-frisk practices by New York City Police unconstitutional and in violation in the 4th and 14th Amendments. Jeffrey Toobin, legal analyst for The New Yorker, discusses these rulings.

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WNYC News

Mixed Reaction on Proposal Raising Judges' Retirement Age

Monday, October 28, 2013

One of the six ballot initiatives New Yorkers will see on November 5th calls for raising the retirement age of some judges to 80.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Gambling in NY; Robert Gibbs; Legal Realism; Density in NYC; New Words

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

There's a ballot referendum in New York about whether to allow seven new casinos in the state. Find out the pros and cons. Plus: former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs; Judge Richard Posner on legal realism; New York Times reporter Charles Bagli on density and development in NYC; and new neologisms.

The Takeaway

Retro Report: The True Story Behind the Spilled McDonald's Coffee Lawsuit

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Takeaway travels back in time with our friends at Retro Report, a documentary team focused on shedding new light on stories from the news archives. Today’s report takes us back to 1992 when 79-year-old Stella Liebeck of Albuquerque, New Mexico, ordered a fateful cup of coffee from a McDonald's drive-through. Lieback's coffee spilled onto her lap, and she sued the fast food chain. Retro Report producer Bonnie Bertram reflects on the case, and explains the details of her investigations.

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The Takeaway

Affirmative Action Back Before the Supreme Court

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Today, the Supreme Court hears a challenge to Michigan's ban on affirmative action, in the case Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. The outcome of this case could have repercussions for five other states that have outlawed affirmative action, including California, Washington, Arizona, Nebraska and Oklahoma. University of Michigan law professor Richard Friedman explores the case and its potential impact in Michigan and across the country.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf

Thursday, October 10, 2013

New Yorker staff writer James Stewart on the collapse of the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf, which was crippled by financial problems and partner defections, and filed for bankruptcy in May 2012, making it the largest law firm collapse in United States history. He’s written about it in the latest issue of The New Yorker.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Terry Lenzner on his Legal Career; Women and the Holocaust; Ethan Coen's First Full-Length Play; The Gurus of How-To

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Investigative lawyer Terry Lenzner looks back at his varied career, including investigating the 1964 deaths of 3 civil rights workers and his work for the Senate Watergate Committee. Wendy Lower discusses the role German women played in the Holocaust. Susan Pourfar and Halley Feiffer talk about their roles in Ethan Coen’s new off-Broadway play, “Women or Nothing.” And our gurus of how-to, Al and Larry Ubell on how to prepare your home for the cooler weather.

The Takeaway

Fact or Fiction? Analyzing the Shutdown Rhetoric

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

If we've gleaned anything from the government shutdown, it's that the battle lines are drawn. In many instances, both supporters and opponents of Obamacare have come out with dramatic assessments of what exactly the Affordable Care Act will do, making it difficult to parse fact from fiction. Joining us to dig through some of the rhetoric is Angie Drobnic Holan, editor of PolitiFact and our Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich.

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The Takeaway

Campaign Finance and the Roberts Court

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Today, the Supreme Court hears McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a case that challenges individuals' biennial spending limits on contributions to federal candidates. As Michael Kang, professor at Emory University Law School, explains, if the Court rules for McCutheon, the case would overturn a 1976 case in which the Court ruled that individual campaign spending limits did not violate the First Amendment.

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The Takeaway

Another Blockbuster Term for the Supreme Court

Monday, October 07, 2013

While the federal government shutdown has shuttered much of Washington, today the Supreme Court opens its doors for the 2013-2014 term. The nation's highest judicial body will rule on abortion, affirmative action and much more. Marcia Coyle, chief Washington correspondent for the National Law Journal, unpacks the major cases before the Court over the next eight months.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

For Discrimination

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Harvard Law School professor Randall Kennedy, author of For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law, argues in favor of affirmative action, both personally and academically.  

→EVENT:  Prof. Kennedy will be speaking tonight at 6:30 at a ticketed event at New York Historical Society.

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On The Media

Assistant Principal Loses Lawsuit Against Students Who Teased Him On Facebook

Monday, September 30, 2013

Adam Matot is an Assistant Principal in Oregon. Last summer, he was arrested for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident while driving under the influence. Some of his students created a parody Facebook account mocking him, and he filed a lawsuit against them under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, arguing that they'd damaged his reputation by impersonating him online. 

This week, the case was dismissed. The judge ruled that parody Facebook accounts aren't illegal. Or at least this one isn't. Here's Venkat Balasubramani, from the Technology & Marketing Law Blog:

Reviewing the CFAA case law, the court says that plaintiff’s cause of action is premised on defendants’ use of protected computers beyond the scope of authorization (i.e., use in a way that “exceeded authorized access”). Finding that Nosal, Brekka, and US v. Drew all frowned upon this as a legal theory (particularly when restrictions are contained in terms of use agreements), the court rejects the claim. 

Middle schoolers of the world, please continue to tease your administrators online. 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

30 Issues: Parents and Schools; U.N. General Assembly; Civility and the Law

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The election series continues with a conversation about parental involvement in New York City schools. WNYC education reporters Beth Fertig and Yasmeen Khan discuss the mayoral candidates' differing opinions about how parents should be involved. Plus: President Obama speaks at the United Nations this morning; Boston University professor of international relations and history Andrew Bacevich discusses the idea of the citizen soldier; and family law attorney Margaret Klaw discusses her new book on civility and the law.

The Takeaway

Justice Ginsburg on Women in Law, Intervention in Syria

Monday, September 16, 2013

In a candid and wide-ranging interview, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg describes her revolutionary work on women and the law, the President and Congress' role in war, and privacy versus technology. Justice Ginsburg talks at length about her career, her position as the second female justice on the nation's highest court and her start as a litigator and a strategic champion of women's rights.

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Radiolab

Fault Line

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kevin* is a likable guy who lives with his wife in New Jersey. And he's on probation after serving time in a federal prison for committing a disturbing crime. Producer Pat Walters helps untangle a difficult story about accountability, and a troubling set of questions about identity and self-control. Kevin's ...

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Radiolab

Forget about Blame?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Nita Farahany, who's been following the growing field of Neurolaw for years now, helps uncover what seems to be a growing trend -- defendants using brain science to argue that they aren't entirely at fault. Neuroscientist David Eagleman thinks this is completely wrongheaded, and argues for ...

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Radiolab

Blame

Thursday, September 12, 2013

We've all felt it, that irresistible urge to point the finger. But why do we need blame and how is new technology complicating accountability? 

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