WNYC Studios Launches Season Two of MORE PERFECT
Hosted by JAD ABUMRAD
Radiolab’s Spinoff Podcast about the Supreme Court to Examine Past and Present Cases that Speak to the Biggest Issues of the Day
New Season Kicks off Today with the Case that Upheld the Internment of Japanese-American Citizens During WWII and a Gerrymandering Case the Court Begins Hearing This Week
(New York, NY– October 2, 2017) – WNYC Studios’ MORE PERFECT, the Radiolab spinoff about the Supreme Court’s most significant rulings, launches its second season today with a roster of stories relevant to some of the most urgent matters of our time.
Hailed by The New York Times as “possibly the most mesmerizing podcast,” MORE PERFECT — featuring host, creator and MacArthur "Genius" Jad Abumrad, Legal Editor Elie Mystal, and a team of correspondents — tells the stories behind both historic cases and those on the Court docket right now. This season will report on police brutality, gender equality, the Second Amendment, and the controversial Citizens United decision, along with a range of other issues.
The new season kicks off with a trio of cases: two about the Court’s most infamous decisions and another about a gerrymandering case in Wisconsin that the Court will hear in oral arguments this week.
- “American Pendulum I” – available today – asks what happens when the highest court in the land seems to get it wrong? Korematsu v. United States is a case that’s been widely denounced and discredited, but it still remains on the books. It is the case that upheld President Franklin Roosevelt’s internment of more than 100,000 American citizens during World War II based solely on their Japanese heritage, for the sake of national security. In this episode, we follow Fred Korematsu’s path to the Supreme Court, and we ask the question: if you can’t get justice in the Supreme Court, can you find it someplace else? The case has gained contemporary relevance in light of President Trump’s controversial executive order that, in part, bans citizens from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. In the episode, Korematsu’s daughter Karen, who wrote an amicus brief in Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, also shares a more intimate side to the case: how a ruling that so many have discussed and debated over the decades was shrouded in silence in the Korematsu home.
- “American Pendulum II” – available today – will look at the 1857 case Dred Scott v. Sandford which effectively made the U.S. a slave-ocracy and helped ignite the Civil War. The episode includes a seemingly impossible reunion between the descendants of Dred Scott and those of his enslaver, and takes listeners beyond the past to a present quest for reconciliation and healing.
- “Who’s Gerry and Why’s He So Bad at Drawing Maps?” – available tomorrow – will look at Gill v. Whitford, a case of historic proportions that is currently on the docket involving partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.
“So many of the issues we’re dealing with today are not singular moments,” said Abumrad. “As a country, we’ve been here before. This season, we’re taking a look how the pendulum of history brings certain issues to the Supreme Court again and again. I’ve always had this interest in taking the civics education I never had growing up and figuring out how to present it in a way that’s interesting. The word ‘civics’ feels heavy, but the unprecedented nature of so many decisions coming out of the White House demands that we pay attention and understand how our government is designed to function.”
“Radiolab has always found the deep and weird and compelling stories behind the big ideas,” said Dean Cappello, Chief Content Officer, WNYC and Head of WNYC Studios. “More Perfect continues this practice by putting a human face on one of the most important, misunderstood, and secretive institutions in America, and by showing that seemingly dry cases are full of intrigue and deep humanity. WNYC Studios is thrilled to present this highly anticipated second season at a time when history and context are the keys to understanding the news.”
Additional episodes will look at:
- How District of Columbia v. Heller settled our national Second Amendment argument once and for all;
- The Citizens United decision and why Justice Anthony Kennedy’s singular devotion to the First Amendment affected the way he ruled on the case;
- How Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg strategically used discrimination cases against men in order to gain legal equality for women;
- How the 1989 case Graham v. Connor, involving a white cop, a diabetic black man, and a carton of orange juice, set precedent for what the courts deem “reasonable” force;
- Ziglar v. Abbasi, a case about the legality of post-9/11 detentions, and the limits of executive power;
- How the Commerce Clause – sixteen words tucked into the Constitution – gives the U.S. Congress much of its power to make laws that affect the entire nation.
MORE PERFECT is available on wnyc.org, Apple Podcasts, and all other places where podcasts may be downloaded. The series will release new episodes each Monday through December.
Radiolab is WNYC Studios’ Peabody Award-winning cult sensation that blurs the boundaries between science, philosophy, and the human experience. The podcast first ventured into legal topics with the episode “Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl,” which examined a Supreme Court case that involved a biological father, a heartbroken couple, and the tragic history of Native American children taken from their families. Radiolab later earned its second Peabody Award for “60 Words,” which focused on 60 words of legal language, drafted in the hours following the September 11 attacks, that led to the longest war in U.S. history.
Leadership support for More Perfect is provided by The Joyce Foundation, with additional support from The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation.
ABOUT WNYC STUDIOS
WNYC Studios is the premier producer of on-demand and broadcast audio, home to some of the most critically acclaimed and popular podcasts of the last decade, including Radiolab, 2 Dope Queens, Nancy, The New Yorker Radio Hour, Freakonomics Radio, Death, Sex & Money, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, Note To Self, On the Media, and A Piece of Work with Abbi Jacobson. WNYC Studios is leading the new golden age in audio with podcasts and national radio programs that inform, inspire, and delight millions of intellectually curious and highly engaged listeners across digital, mobile, and broadcast platforms. Their programs include personal narratives, deep journalism, interviews that reveal, and smart entertainment as varied and intimate as the human voice itself. For more information, visit wnycstudios.wnyc.org.