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Coming up at the court


WORLD Radio - Coming up at the court

The Supreme Court kicks off a new term and the Legal Docket podcast concludes Season 3

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, Monday, June 27, 2022 Associated Press Photo/Patrick Semansky

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, October 11th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the conclusion of Legal Docket Podcast Season 3! Mary, how are you doing?

REICHARD: You know, it’s a little like how I imagine running a marathon might feel. Not that I’ll ever really know! But I was at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday to encourage a friend who ran in it. At the finish line he was caked with salt from sweat and looked tired, yet so relieved! That’s sort of how I feel finishing up this season’s Legal Docket Podcast. And it’s not just me! Jenny Rough is my partner in writing and hosting, so let’s bring her in. Hey there, Jenny!

JENNY ROUGH: Good morning!

EICHER: Episode 10 of Legal Docket Podcast drops this week, the last one. How are you feeling, Jenny?

ROUGH: Exactly what Mary said!

EICHER: Some of you may have noticed that Episode 10 isn’t in the Legal Docket Podcast feed yet this morning, Mary and Jenny recorded the tracks yesterday afternoon and the technical team is hard at work finishing it up today, but it should be online sometime in the next 24 hours.

Jenny, this is one you took the lead on. Tell us what case it is and what stood out to you about it?

ROUGH: Well, we have a marathon theme going on here, but this time, it’s serious and sad. Has to do with the Boston Marathon. You’ll remember nine years ago. That’s when two brothers set off home made bombs right near the finish line.

REICHARD: We cover two legal questions. One deals with jury bias. In this case, members of the jury pool saw a lot of media coverage before the trial. The defendant wanted the court to allow his lawyers to ask prospective members of the jury about media bias. The idea was to see if they’ve already made up their mind about some aspect of the case.

EICHER: Here’s a short clip from Episode 10: Mayhem at the Marathon.

CRAIG WOOD: Now, in these high profile cases, media bias is always a big area of questioning because people have watched the television coverage … So they had their own ideas about the cases, and the lawyers are really going to be interested in that because they lawyers are going to want to know whether they’ve already made up their minds about, you know, in the Boston case, it would be very easy to contemplate that there are people that had been called to serve on this jury who watched the whole thing on television live when the boat was being searched, and everybody knew that he was in the boat, you can imagine the drama of that.

I know that you both spend a lot of time on each case, not only listening to the arguments, but also reading the briefs, interviewing parties and experts, sometimes traveling to get that, understanding the history and legal analysis and so forth. But I know that Jenny went even a step further in her research for this episode…actually running the Boston Marathon. How did that help inform you in writing this story?

ROUGH: I wanted to experience this great event, to walk—or rather, run—26.2 miles in those shoes. Be a part of the story in a real, genuine way.

EICHER: That’s impressive and I can’t wait to hear the finished episode. Well the Supreme Court started hearing arguments for this newest term. We talked about two of them yesterday, Jenny. But talk about some of the cases that the Supreme Court will hear this term you might include for next season?

REICHARD: One that caught my eye is called National Pork Producers Council v Ross, being argued today. There’s a movement to treat farm animals humanely, and California’s rules are especially stringent. But the people who raise the animals argue the rules raise costs too much and aren’t necessary. So here the question is whether California’s rules on how farm animals in other states are to be housed can dictate sales of meat within California.

ROUGH: Mary, let me add another biggie, it’s Students for Fair Admissions v Harvard. That’ll be argued at the end of the month. I’ve got some notes on this one: It asks whether race should be considered at all in admission policies of universities. This is one where Asian students say they are being discriminated against as Harvard says it tries to achieve racial balance in its student body, what it calls a “holistic” admissions policy. Asian American applicants argue that violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by penalizing them according to their race.

REICHARD: Then later on this term, a case that may resolve litigation that pits religious freedom and LGBT demands against each other. You may remember that five years ago, the court handed a very narrow victory to Jack Phillips. He is the Colorado baker who declined on religious grounds to create custom wedding cakes for same sex couples. But that narrow victory didn’t resolve the bigger issue of how far laws that protect LGBT rights can go to force religious people to say things they don’t believe.

In this case, Lorie Smith creates websites for people and she wants to do wedding announcement websites. She is a practicing Christian who believes marriage biblically is between one man and one woman. So Smith wants to put a notice about this on her business website. Which she is well aware will put her in the LGBT crosshairs saying she is violating Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws.

EICHER: Lots to look forward to, and I’ll add that the court’s calendar isn’t yet filled so many more disputes will be added in the months to come. Mary and Jenny, preparations for Legal Docket Season Four is ready to begin!

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