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Supreme Court

The Takeaway

Jim Crow: The Supreme Court's Fault?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Immediately after the end of the Civil War, Congress drafted and pushed to ratify the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, which were intended to guarantee African-Americans full equality under the law. But despite these amendments, Jim Crow laws quickly took hold of much of the nation, stripping African-Americans of such basic rights as serving on juries and voting without the penalty of a poll tax. What went wrong?

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The Takeaway

Legal Implications of Bush v. Gore, 10 Years Later

Friday, December 10, 2010

It was ten years ago this week that the Supreme Court handed down their decision in Bush v. Gore. That decision effectively stopped the Florida recount in its tracks and placed George W. Bush in the Oval Office.

Jeffrey Toobin, staff writer for the New Yorker and author of The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court,  joins us to analyze the legal and political ramifications of that controversial Supreme Court moment.

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The Takeaway

California Prison Case Heads to Supreme Court

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments that could have a significant impact on California's 165,000 inmates. Early last year, a panel of three federal judges ruled that California needs to reduce its inmate population by 25 percent, because of the state's inadequate health care to its prisoners — reports show that one inmate dies every eight days from inadequate medical care.

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The Takeaway

Nate Phelps: A Personal History with National Implications

Friday, October 08, 2010

All this week we’ve been covering the developments in Synder vs. Phelps, currently being heard before the U.S. Supreme Court. The question at the heart of the case is whether Westboro’s members have the right to protest at the funerals of fallen soldiers, gay people and young chlidren, in order to put forward their message: that America is being punished for its tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Judges: Above the Political Fray?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

As the Supreme Court starts a new term, Keith Bybee, Syracuse University College of Law professor and the author of All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not:Acceptable Hypocrisies and the Rule of Law, looks at what defines judicial "activism," and the question of political bias in the courts.

 

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The Takeaway

Larry Flynt on Fred Phelps and Free Speech

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A case coming up before the Supreme Court today will test the limits of free speech.

In Snyder v. Phelps, the anti-gay protestor Fred Phelps is being sued by the father of Matthew Snyder, a 20-year-old Marine who died in Iraq. In 2006, Phelps' group, the Westboro Baptist Church, picketed 1,000 feet from Snyder’s funeral with signs saying “You are Going to Hell” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” The father wants to see the WBC punished for "intentional infliction of emotional distress."

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The Takeaway

Fred Phelps, Westboro Baptist Church Patriarch

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Today, the Supreme Court hears what may be the most controversial case this term: Albert Snyder vs. Westboro Baptist Church. Snyder took members of the Westboro group to court after protesting outside the 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Corporal Mathew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

The pastor of Westboro is Fred Phelps, who has for years proudly traveled around the country protesting outside of funerals as a part of his virulent crusade against homosexuality. But long before this Supreme Court case, Phelps had risen to national notoriety. His antics date back more than half a century.

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The Takeaway

Westboro Baptist Church to Test Free Speech Protections

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, will soon stand before the nation’s top court to argue for their constitutional right to protest outside soldiers’ funerals. In their view, American deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are God’s punishment for the country’s acceptance of homosexuality.

Albert Snyder is the plaintiff in the case; his son, U.S. Marine Matthew Snyder, was killed in Iraq in 2006. The WBC went to Snyder's funeral in Maryland, holding signs that read “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and other fiery epithets. Snyder fought the group and won in a lower court, arguing the church deliberately sought to inflict emotional distress, but that decision was overturned at a higher court. The Supreme Court has traditionally been very reluctant to impose limits on our freedom of speech, even offensive speech: will this case qualify?

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Court's New Term; Jobs Report; Tutu Retires

Monday, October 04, 2010

For the first time in 35 years, the Supreme Court begins a new term without Justice John Paul Stevens. We'll finally get to see the first signs of what kind of justice his replacement, Elena Kagan, will be. Maria Hinojosa, host and managing editor of NPR's weekly radio show, Latino USA, and Charlie Herman, econoics editor for The Takeaway and WNYC Radio, look at the significance of this new term for the Supreme Court.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

SCOTUS Preview

Friday, October 01, 2010

Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate.com, discusses what's coming up on the Supreme Court docket as Elena Kagan joins the bench.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Peace Talks; Bishop Jones; China and Japan Relations Deteriorate

Monday, September 27, 2010

Israel's partial freeze on settlement buliding in the West Bank ended last night, and Marcus Mabry, associate national editor for The New York Times, and Charlie Herman, economics editor for The Takeaway and WNYC Radio, discuss how this will affect peace talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.  They'll also take a look at what's ahead this week for Bishop Eddie Long, who has been accused of trying to sexually seduce four teenage boys; President Obama's continued conversations with middle-class Americans; how China and Japan's relationship is rapidly deteriorating, and more.

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The Takeaway

Discrimination and Language: The Word 'Boy'

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sometimes a word is just a word. But other times, it’s an indicator of something more troubling on the part of the speaker. Take, for example, the word “boy.” When being used to refer to a small child, most of us don’t think twice. But when the word “boy” refers to an adult black man, and the speaker is his white supervisor who’s just passed him up for a promotion, it takes on a much different meaning.

It’s for this reason that John Hithon, an employee of the Tyson chicken processing plant in Gadsden, Alabama, sued his employers for workplace discrimination.

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WQXR News

Some Republicans Line Up Against Kagan

Friday, July 02, 2010

Republicans are starting to line up against nominating Kagan to the Supreme Court.

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The Takeaway

Author Scott Turow on Elena Kagan

Friday, July 02, 2010

Scott Turow, legal scholar and author of classics like "Presumed Innocent," and "One L," is well-versed in the culture of Harvard Law, and met Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan while at Harvard. He shares with us his own insights into what kind of justice the former Harvard Law School Dean might make.

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WQXR News

Senate Hearings Continue for Kagan

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's the third day of Congressional hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

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The Takeaway

Reactions from Capitol Hill as Kagan's Hearings Begin

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"I will work hard, and I will do my best to consider every case, impartially, modestly, with commitment to principle, and in accordance with law," pledged Solicitor General Elena Kagan during her opening statement at her Supreme Court Confirmation hearing yesterday. Kagan's hearing began with few surprises, except for one—the specter of Justice Thurgood Marshall, her former boss.

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The Takeaway

Supreme Court Limits 'Honest Services' Law Frequently Used in Fraud Cases

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Supreme Court on Thursday narrowed the scope of a law that has put people like former Enron Chief Jeffrey Skilling behind bars. The law, known as the "honest-services law," makes it illegal to "deprive another of the intangible right of honest services."  In a unanimous ruling, the justices said the law’s language was too broad. The decision sends Skilling's case back to the lower courts and calls into question other recent convictions under the same law, including the charges against Conrad M. Black, the newspaper executive convicted of defrauding his media company, Hollinger International, as well as Joseph Bruno, one of the most prominent politicians in New York.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

New SCOTUS Decisions

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Senior editor at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick, discusses this week's Supreme Court decisions and previews the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings starting on Monday. 

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The Takeaway

On Free Speech and Terrorism

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Material support for terrorists" sounds pretty sinister, and it was sinister enough on Monday for the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm, 6-to-3, that it is a crime under a 1996 law. But the Court hasn’t necessarily made it easy to determine where the line is between being neighborly or generous and being an accomplice in a campaign of terrorism. 

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The Takeaway

Supreme Court Upholds Ban On Supporting Terrorist Groups

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yesterday the Supreme Court upheld a law, adopted in 1996, that bans Americans from providing support to foreign terrorist groups. Up to fifteen years in prison is the penalty for contributing cash, weapons, training, personnel, and expert advice or assistance to any foreign group that the United States deems as terrorists. 

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