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Constitutional Context

Osher Institute at SDSU

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Constitutional Context

Constitutional Context

Osher Institute at SDSU

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About Us

Five-minute bites of background about the Court and Constitution — provides unbiased information and context for fully understanding the Supreme Court and ongoing disputes related to democracy and constitutional law. Learn to appreciate the complexity of constitutional questions, and make more informed decisions as voters and active citizens.

Latest Episodes

Episode 39 – Turnabout = Fair Play?

A recent podcast (entitled “Libel to Stay”) explained why Free-Speech doctrines prevented Donald Trump from suing journalist Bob Woodward (or any other serious critic) for defamation. So, on the flip side, one of this month’s podcasts addresses how the First Amendment recently saved the President as a defendant in a defamation suit brought by Stephanie […]

5 MIN2018 NOV 20
Comments
Episode 39 – Turnabout = Fair Play?

Episode 38 – Time, Place & Manner

The National Park Service recently proposed to significantly limit the scope of demonstrations in front of the White House or on the National Mall, the nearby 1000-plus acre swath of green space, memorials, and other historic installations. The proposals were closely scrutinized (and criticized at length) during a round of public comment closing on October […]

5 MIN2018 NOV 20
Comments
Episode 38 – Time, Place & Manner

Episode 37 – The Constitution, Incorporated

One very intriguing case on the Supreme Court’s 2018-2019 docket is unlikely to make big headlines or be featured on the Sunday news shows. In fact, it’s likely you’ll only hear about it from this podcast! Timbs v. Indiana illustrates a phenomenon that even lawyers can forget: that the Constitution’s first 10 amendments (commonly known […]

5 MIN2018 OCT 15
Comments
Episode 37 – The Constitution, Incorporated

Episode 36 – Libel to Stay

I get the ideas for the subjects of these podcasts from a variety of sources. Some podcasts are suggested by decisions made, or soon to be made, by the Supreme Court or lower courts. Others bounce off of controversies about legislative or other policy-changing proposals. Occasionally, a public statement by an official – or a […]

5 MIN2018 OCT 15
Comments
Episode 36 – Libel to Stay

Episode 35 – On Justice Appointments, A Largely Silent Constitution

Events surrounding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court illustrates how, on matters of Supreme Court nomination and confirmation, the U.S. Constitution is largely missing in action. To begin with, the Framers provided no minimal qualifications for who could serve as a Justice. As school kids learn, […]

5 MIN2018 SEP 13
Comments
Episode 35 – On Justice Appointments, A Largely Silent Constitution

Episode 34 – A Tough Roe? Pt. 2

So…having set the stage in Part One for the potential reversal of Roe v. Wade in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, here’s the skinny on how Roe narrowly escaped: Justice Sandra O’Connor defied expectations by joining two other presumably anti-Roe justices to form a trio affirming its “central rule” that a pregnant woman […]

5 MIN2018 SEP 13
Comments
Episode 34 – A Tough Roe? Pt. 2

Episode 33 – A Tough Roe? Pt. 1

One of (if not THE) most controversial aspects of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy is what Kavanaugh’s elevation could mean for the modern scheme of abortion rights ushered in by the landmark 1973 case, Roe v. Wade. President Trump’s promise to “put[ ] pro-life justices on the Court” has led many […]

5 MIN2018 SEP 13
Comments
Episode 33 – A Tough Roe? Pt. 1

Episode 32 – Decisions, Please!

In less than a month, the Supreme Court’s 2017-2018 Term will end – in a flurry of high-profile, controversial and contentious decisions. Still undecided cases when this podcast was recorded probe the constitutionality of the Trump Administration Travel ban, the legitimacy of a baker declining on religious grounds to make a specialty cake to celebrate […]

5 MIN2018 MAY 31
Comments
Episode 32 – Decisions, Please!

Episode 31 – Wanna Bet?

The Court’s mid-May decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association got substantial news coverage because of the outcome. A six-justice majority in Murphy invalidated the 1990’s Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which had prevented state and local governments from operating sports-betting schemes or authorizing private casinos and individuals to do so. No wonder, […]

5 MIN2018 MAY 31
Comments
Episode 31 – Wanna Bet?

Episode 30 – It’s Not Just Politics

If you follow Supreme Court decision-making – and, after all, if you listen to this podcast – you’ve probably noticed the tendency of Supreme Court watchers, whether they are highly respected reporters or less thoughtful armchair pundits, to portray decisions as simple battles between “conservatives” and “liberals.” Yet, attributing Supreme Court decision-making to just politics […]

5 MIN2018 MAY 2
Comments
Episode 30 – It’s Not Just Politics

Latest Episodes

Episode 39 – Turnabout = Fair Play?

A recent podcast (entitled “Libel to Stay”) explained why Free-Speech doctrines prevented Donald Trump from suing journalist Bob Woodward (or any other serious critic) for defamation. So, on the flip side, one of this month’s podcasts addresses how the First Amendment recently saved the President as a defendant in a defamation suit brought by Stephanie […]

5 MIN2018 NOV 20
Comments
Episode 39 – Turnabout = Fair Play?

Episode 38 – Time, Place & Manner

The National Park Service recently proposed to significantly limit the scope of demonstrations in front of the White House or on the National Mall, the nearby 1000-plus acre swath of green space, memorials, and other historic installations. The proposals were closely scrutinized (and criticized at length) during a round of public comment closing on October […]

5 MIN2018 NOV 20
Comments
Episode 38 – Time, Place & Manner

Episode 37 – The Constitution, Incorporated

One very intriguing case on the Supreme Court’s 2018-2019 docket is unlikely to make big headlines or be featured on the Sunday news shows. In fact, it’s likely you’ll only hear about it from this podcast! Timbs v. Indiana illustrates a phenomenon that even lawyers can forget: that the Constitution’s first 10 amendments (commonly known […]

5 MIN2018 OCT 15
Comments
Episode 37 – The Constitution, Incorporated

Episode 36 – Libel to Stay

I get the ideas for the subjects of these podcasts from a variety of sources. Some podcasts are suggested by decisions made, or soon to be made, by the Supreme Court or lower courts. Others bounce off of controversies about legislative or other policy-changing proposals. Occasionally, a public statement by an official – or a […]

5 MIN2018 OCT 15
Comments
Episode 36 – Libel to Stay

Episode 35 – On Justice Appointments, A Largely Silent Constitution

Events surrounding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court illustrates how, on matters of Supreme Court nomination and confirmation, the U.S. Constitution is largely missing in action. To begin with, the Framers provided no minimal qualifications for who could serve as a Justice. As school kids learn, […]

5 MIN2018 SEP 13
Comments
Episode 35 – On Justice Appointments, A Largely Silent Constitution

Episode 34 – A Tough Roe? Pt. 2

So…having set the stage in Part One for the potential reversal of Roe v. Wade in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, here’s the skinny on how Roe narrowly escaped: Justice Sandra O’Connor defied expectations by joining two other presumably anti-Roe justices to form a trio affirming its “central rule” that a pregnant woman […]

5 MIN2018 SEP 13
Comments
Episode 34 – A Tough Roe? Pt. 2

Episode 33 – A Tough Roe? Pt. 1

One of (if not THE) most controversial aspects of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy is what Kavanaugh’s elevation could mean for the modern scheme of abortion rights ushered in by the landmark 1973 case, Roe v. Wade. President Trump’s promise to “put[ ] pro-life justices on the Court” has led many […]

5 MIN2018 SEP 13
Comments
Episode 33 – A Tough Roe? Pt. 1

Episode 32 – Decisions, Please!

In less than a month, the Supreme Court’s 2017-2018 Term will end – in a flurry of high-profile, controversial and contentious decisions. Still undecided cases when this podcast was recorded probe the constitutionality of the Trump Administration Travel ban, the legitimacy of a baker declining on religious grounds to make a specialty cake to celebrate […]

5 MIN2018 MAY 31
Comments
Episode 32 – Decisions, Please!

Episode 31 – Wanna Bet?

The Court’s mid-May decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association got substantial news coverage because of the outcome. A six-justice majority in Murphy invalidated the 1990’s Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which had prevented state and local governments from operating sports-betting schemes or authorizing private casinos and individuals to do so. No wonder, […]

5 MIN2018 MAY 31
Comments
Episode 31 – Wanna Bet?

Episode 30 – It’s Not Just Politics

If you follow Supreme Court decision-making – and, after all, if you listen to this podcast – you’ve probably noticed the tendency of Supreme Court watchers, whether they are highly respected reporters or less thoughtful armchair pundits, to portray decisions as simple battles between “conservatives” and “liberals.” Yet, attributing Supreme Court decision-making to just politics […]

5 MIN2018 MAY 2
Comments
Episode 30 – It’s Not Just Politics
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