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Life of the Law

A Life on the Bench

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

What does it take to become a judge? No one starts their legal career as a jurist. First they work as a lawyer advocating for one side of a case over another. But transitioning from lawyer to judge means hearing both sides of a case objectively and the...

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The Takeaway

Responses: How do you Define 'Justice' today in America?

Monday, May 06, 2013

Last week, we aired a special episode that examined the concepts of law and justice, from the abstract principles of Plato's Athens to the concrete challenges of achieving justice in multicultural, modern America. We asked you to define what justice means to you and to share your own experiences with the American justice system.

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The Takeaway

Searching for Justice in the South Bronx

Friday, May 03, 2013

As the executive director of the Bronx Defenders, a public defense and legal services organization, Robin Steinberg has spent her career demanding justice for the residents of the poorest Congressional district in the nation. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark Supreme Court case that created the public defender system to ensure some balance between prosecution and defense, but as Steinberg explains, "Leveling the playing field is simply impossible."

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The Takeaway

Justice Denied at Guantanamo Bay

Friday, May 03, 2013

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba: 45-square-miles of complex legal questions, where the Constitution may (or may not) apply, and where, as of Wednesday, May 1st, 100 of the 166 detainees are on hunger strike. Jeffrey Rosen, law professor at George Washington University and legal affairs editor at The New Republic, describes the legal complexities embodied in the detention and treatment of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

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The Takeaway

The Challenge of Justice: From Ancient Athens to Guantanamo Bay

Friday, May 03, 2013

In this special episode, The Takeaway examines the concepts of law and justice, from the abstract principles of Plato's Athens to the concrete challenges of achieving justice in multicultural, modern America.

Law professor Jeffrey Rosen explores the constitutional questions in the jurisdictional no man's land of Guantanamo Bay; Robin Steinberg, executive director of the Bronx Defenders, describes the obstacles to justice in the public defense system; Janice Kelsey, a participant in the 1963 Children's Crusade to protest segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, remembers finding justice through the Civil Rights Movement; Professors David Miller and Martha Nussbaum explore the ancient underpinnings of our modern justice system, and the challenges of finding justice in a multicultural society; and, finally, a story of what happens when justice fails with Kirk Bloodsworth, a former death row inmate who was exonerated on DNA evidence.

The Brian Lehrer Show

The Legal Questions Around the Boston Bombing

Monday, April 22, 2013

With the arrest of a suspect in the Boston bombing, there are now a host of legal questions emerging. Should he have been immediately read his Miranda rights? Should he be labelled an "enemy combatant"? What kind of trial will Dzhokhar Tsarnaev get? Legal journalist Andrew Cohen, contributor to The Atlantic, legal analyst for 60 Minutes, and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, provides context.

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Life of the Law

Full Interview with Justin Helzer

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Justin Helzer died Sunday night, April 14th. He committed suicide inside his cell on San Quentin's Death Row (the cell in this photo). If you look closely you can see him sitting on his bunk, leaning against the door.

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The Takeaway

Can Companies Patent Human Genes?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Can companies patent human genes? That's the question before the Supreme Court today, as the justices hear arguments in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.

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Life of the Law

Without Means

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

More than 30,000 people died by guns in 2011 in the US. Of those, close to 20,000 died by suicide. Many still do not make a connection between gun availability and suicide rates, but a growing body of research suggests otherwise.

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The Takeaway

The Legal Implications of 'Performing Race'

Thursday, March 28, 2013

An employer may not judge an applicant by the color of his skin per say, but he or she may find more fault with a black applicant who fulfills certain stereotypes of African-Americans (an applicant who listens to rap music, for example), while a black applicant who seems to fulfill white stereotypes (listening to classical music, perhaps) is likely to be judged in a positive light.

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The Takeaway

Reading the Tea Leaves on Same-Sex Marriage

Thursday, March 28, 2013

After several days of arguments, the Supreme Court will now retreat to their respective quarters to decide the fate of Proposition 8, DOMA, and, potentially, the future of marriage as an institution in the United States.

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The Takeaway

Legacy and the Supremes: A Psychoanalytic Look at the Court

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Every judge claims impartiality, that he or she renders decisions based on the facts in the cast at hand, but Supreme Court justices are in a particular spotlight, both today and in terms of their historical legacy.

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The Takeaway

Same-Sex Marriage Goes to the Supreme Court

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Same-sex marriage has finally made it to the highest court in the country, as the Supreme Court considers two cases central to how marriage is defined at the state and federal levels.

+ Brian Lehrer Show: Gay Marriage Demonstrations Live from National Mall

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Life of the Law

Dibs

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

After a big snowstorm, the streets of many northern cities start to get cluttered with furniture. Why? Because of “dibs,” the practice of claiming a shoveled-out parking spot. Some see it as a necessity, others as a dangerous nuisance,

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Tributes: Anthony Lewis

Monday, March 25, 2013

Anthony Lewis won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1955 for his reporting on the US government's loyalty program during the McCarthy era. He won his second in 1963 for his reporting on the Supreme Court for the New York Times. Lewis wrote for the Times until 2001, and his interest in justice continued to permeate his reporting and columns. He died recently at the age of 85. He was part of a panel discussion on censorship on the Leonard Lopate Show in 2008 and you can hear that conversation by clicking below.

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The Takeaway

Does 'One Person, One Vote' Mean 'One Voter, One Vote'?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Next week the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear Lepak v. City of Irving, a case out of Texas that hinges on the question of whether "one person, one vote" means "one voter, one vote." As Richard Pildes, constitutional law professor at New York University, explains, Irving, Texas, is divided into six City Council districts, all equal in terms of population. One of the districts includes a significant immigrant population, however, rendering half of that district ineligible to vote. The eligible voters left therefore have more political power than those in the other districts.

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The Takeaway

Why Drones Are Our Modern Nuclear Bomb

Friday, March 15, 2013

Today, drones have, arguably, become the modern version of the nuclear bomb, deployed simply from a computer, with the potential for no loss of American life, no boots on the ground, and a relatively small price tag.

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The Takeaway

Arkansas Passes Country's Most Restrictive Ban on Abortion

Thursday, March 07, 2013

On Wednesday, Arkansas passed into law the country’s most restrictive ban on abortion to date. The ruling denies women the right to an abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy, setting a term limit that is 12 weeks earlier than the limit established by Supreme Court decisions. Jason Rapert, Republican Arkansas State Senator sponsored the bill.  State Representative Greg Leding, an Arkansas Democrat and House Minority Leader, opposed it.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Guest Picks: Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was on the Leonard Lopate Show to talk about the history of the high court and her place in it as the first female Supreme Court Justice. She also told us about what she's been reading, watching, eating, and playing recently!

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Soundcheck

Six Strikes, You're... Not Out?

Friday, March 01, 2013

The Copy Cat returns! A new so-called "Copyright Alert System" that went into effect this week is keeping close tabs on what you download – and aims to crack down on copyright violators. Kind of. We speak with our copyright expert, attorney Jonathan Reichman, about the new system and its legal implications. 

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