Do you know who was Franklin Roosevelt's most trusted advisor? Do you know who practically invented the law clerk infrastructure and controlled the clerk assignments to 60% of the justices at once? Do you know who was a key early reporter for The New Republic? Do you know who was the first Jewish professor at the Harvard Law School? Who was the sharpest critic of the Supreme Court only to become a Justice of that Court? Who went to Versailles and advised both Weizmann and T.E. Lawrence? Who fought bitter battles with Harvard's President again and again? These are all the same person: Felix Frankfurter. A new and important biography of Justice Frankfurter tells this incredible story, and he joins our podcast today: Professor Brad Snyder. Believe it or not, the superlatives you just read only scratch the surface of this Man Who Was Everywhere. You have to hear it all.
It’s almost the First Monday in October, so the Supreme Court term is upon us. Those who follow the Constitution may turn to Amarica’s Constitution for their Constitution-listening, and after meeting Amy Howe, founder of SCOTUS Blog, they will turn to that amazing resource for their Court-watching. So, join us. Meet today’s special guest, Amy Howe; meet SCOTUS Blog; meet the new term; and see why Professor Amar and colleagues regard her as a rock of integrity, completeness, and civic virtue.
Happy Constitution Week! Our Fifth Amendment journey takes us in a somewhat unexpected direction, as we pit Abraham Lincoln against the Supreme Court on the Fifth as well as on several other areas of contested constitutional law. Then it’s back to the near future as we look at how today’s Fifth confusion could be tomorrow’s clarity - and we look at the Court to see if there are five votes for a new Fifth. Then we top it all off with an exciting - very exciting - announcement.
The controversy over a possible appointment of a special master in the. Mar-a-Lago search matter is a timely trigger for our discussion, especially in light of our recent 4th amendment episodes. Meanwhile we continue a rethinking of the fifth, and of course Professor Amar has a theory that unites everything. There’s also the Queen”s death, which is also fascinatingly relevant, and somehow Lincoln finds his way in, as he usually does.
Our last episode explored how the self-incrimination protection came about, and how much of safeguards now lie outside the fifth amendment. Given that, what is left? Surprise - Professor Amar has a theory, and once again, it can change everything. Well, almost everything - Donald Trump is still up to his old tricks. Why does he say his name, and nothing else? Also, what’s going on back in Florida, and what does it mean for Trump’s hapless attorneys? There will be a lot to explain to your friends after you finish this one.
The Trump investigations are everywhere. This week we move from Mar-A-Lago to New York, where the Attorney General had some questions for the ex-president. He took the Fifth, repeatedly if unsurprisingly. We look at it, but to do so we look at the Fifth Amendment itself, its roots going back millennia, and its evolution as American law. So you think you know the Fifth? We beg to differ. Prepare for an entirely new way to think about this venerable protection, as Professor Amar offers a framework that will provoke, surprise, and hopefully, delight.
Following Akhil’s MSNBC appearance on “Velshi,” we elaborate on how a Republic is a Democracy. Does it matter - oh yes, and we explain why. Then we go back to the future - to the biggest Supreme Court case of the 18th century, with rock star Alexander Hamilton arguing, and the echoes resonate today. So why haven’t you heard of this case? Well, now you will, and follow a step-by-step explanation you won’t find anywhere else.
Ex-President Trump’s residence - or is it his club? - at Mar-A-Lago was searched, and US government papers seized, pursuant to a search warrant which has since been made public. Warrants, papers, searches, seizures - all words found in the Fourth Amendment. We take the opportunity to upend what every American thinks they understand: that searches require warrants, that probable cause is a must, that failure to heed these dictates means the fruits of the search will be suppressed. Professor Amar presents an entirely different way of thinking about the 4th Amendment, and when he is done, you will wonder how you ever thought about it any other way. Armed with this understanding, we then turn to Palm Beach and assess the Justice Department’s actions in this light.
The recent Supreme Court term gave rise to a virtual anointment of originalism, as the Court in case after case declared originalism the approach and method that determined the result. Professor Amar has spent a career on the study, exposition, and refinement of originalism, and that expertise is employed here to respond to these developments. We begin a look at the great cases and controversies of American history, and through them, we define an originalism that has a clear method, recognizes its own limits, responds to critiques, and is consistent with a recognizable America - not an America with a Constitution and a jurisprudence for liberals or for conservatives alone.
Events continue to unfold, causing us to look back, forward, inward, and outward. A new bill is introduced which takes us back 20 years and ahead 18 years. Professor Amar conducts an unprecedented interview - maybe we shouldn’t use that term - and you are there. A moot court from 23 years ago reappears in the present. And lessons from nearly 250 years ago will unfold in the next year - and affect us forever. Professor Amar unwraps this scroll.