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ABA Journal: Modern Law Library

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Listen to the ABA Journal Podcast for analysis and discussion of the latest legal issues and trends the first Monday of each month. Also hear discussions with authors for The Modern Law Library books podcast series.

Listen to the ABA Journal Podcast for analysis and discussion of the latest legal issues and trends the first Monday of each month. Also hear discussions with authors for The Modern Law Library books podcast series.
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United States

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Listen to the ABA Journal Podcast for analysis and discussion of the latest legal issues and trends the first Monday of each month. Also hear discussions with authors for The Modern Law Library books podcast series.

Language:

English


Episodes

What would it mean to impeach a president?

7/25/2018
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The authority to impeach and remove a U.S. president is one of the legislative branch's most powerful weapons. But in the country's history, despite many periods of open hostility between Congress and the executive branch, no president has been removed from office through the impeachment procedure. Why is that? In this episode of the Modern Law Library, constitutional litigator Joshua Matz discusses "To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment," a book he co-wrote with Laurence Tribe....

Duration:00:26:46

Meet the nominees for the 2018 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

6/20/2018
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Lisa Scottoline, C.E. Tobisman and Scott Turow have at least three things in common: They’re all novelists, attorneys and nominees for this year’s Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. In this special episode, the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles speaks with all three authors about their nominated books, their creative processes, and the role they believe lawyers play in society. To cast a vote for one of the three authors to win, go to http://www.abajournal.com/polls/HarperLeePrize2018 before...

Duration:00:58:27

How Anthony Comstock's anti-obscenity crusade changed American law

6/6/2018
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From 1873 until his death in 1915, Anthony Comstock was the most powerful shaper of American censorship and obscenity laws. Although he was neither an attorney nor an elected official, Comstock used an appointed position as a special agent of the U.S. Post Office Department and legislation known as the Comstock Laws to order the arrests and prosecutions of hundreds of artists, publishers, doctors and anyone else he felt was promoting vice. For decades, Comstock was the sole arbiter and...

Duration:00:44:49

How Nixon used a law firm stint to resurrect his political career and win the presidency

5/23/2018
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After losing both the 1960 presidential election and the 1962 California governor’s race, Richard Milhouse Nixon vowed at a press conference, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” and seemed to have written the epitaph to his political career. He left for New York and became a partner in a white shoe law firm. Yet six years later, he would win the White House, in no small part because of that firm. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Victor Li explains how Nixon leveraged...

Duration:00:30:18

How can we fight to reduce bias? 6th Circuit judge shares her thoughts

5/10/2018
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Studies have shown that implicit bias is something that affects everyone to some degree. So what steps can legal professionals at all ranks take to make the justice system fairer and more equitable? In this episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles speaks with Judge Bernice Donald of the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Prof. Sarah E. Redfield about Enhancing Justice: Reducing Bias, a book which Redfield edited and Donald contributed to. They...

Duration:00:24:04

How broken windows policing changed the legal landscape in ‘Misdemeanorland’How broken windows policing changed the legal landscape in ‘Misdemeanorland’

4/25/2018
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As violent crime in New York City peaked from 1988-1991, policy makers were desperate for ways to combat and prevent it. In 1994, a new theory was embraced by the NYPD: that by controlling low-level “quality-of-life” violations like vandalism, noise complaints, traffic violations and aggressive panhandling, the police would ward off violent crime and more serious property crimes. Violent crime numbers had already begun to dip, but now misdemeanor arrests shot up, pulling in tens of...

Duration:00:36:55

Roe v. Wade had a broader impact than the public realizes, says author of 'Beyond Abortion'

4/11/2018
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In the 45 years since Roe v. Wade was decided, it has been a focal point for both anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights groups. But the opinion in the 1973 case has also been used by activists of liberal, libertarian and conservative ideologies to develop privacy arguments for issues ranging from access to experimental drugs to euthanasia to personal data security to sex worker rights. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles speaks with Mary Ziegler, author...

Duration:00:26:58

Uncovering the secret history of how corporations gained their civil rights

3/21/2018
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When we think of civil rights movements, the first to spring to mind might be the battles against African-American segregation or for women's suffrage. But one of the longest, most successful–and least-known–of these movements in America has been made on behalf of corporations. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Prof. Adam Winkler, author of We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights, shares what he learned from his investigation into how corporations have...

Duration:00:22:59

Dark tale of 'The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist' brings wrongful convictions to light

3/7/2018
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For nearly two decades, Dr. Steven Hayne and Dr. Michael West were the go-to experts that Mississippi law enforcement and prosecutors relied on when there was a potential homicide. Haynes performed the bulk of the autopsies in the state, while West was a dentist who touted his skill in bite-mark analysis. But after years of investigations and countless testimonies from the men, their claims of expertise began to fall apart–and wrongful convictions began coming to light. In The Cadaver...

Duration:00:31:47

A stalled elevator leads to love in lawyer's best-selling romance novel

2/21/2018
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Being trapped on an elevator leads to romance for the hero and heroine in The Wedding Date, written by attorney Jasmine Guillory. When a pediatric surgeon impulsively asks the mayor's chief of staff to be his date to his ex-girlfriend's wedding that weekend, sparks fly. But can the two make a long-distance relationship work? In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Guillory tells the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles that writing served as a stress release from her legal work and functioned as...

Duration:00:19:36

Teamsters lawyer pens children’s book to show importance of the labor movement

2/7/2018
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As general counsel for the Teamsters Union Local 810, Mark Torres spends his days arguing for workers' rights. But another of his passions is writing; he published his debut crime novel in 2015. So when he was approached by Hard Ball Press to write a bilingual children's book explaining the importance of labor unions in ways that kids could connect with, Torres agreed. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, he shares with the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles what the process of writing the...

Duration:00:16:05

Bryan Garner reflects on his friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia in ‘Nino and Me’

1/17/2018
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To Bryan Garner, editor in chief of Black’s Law Dictionary, Justice Antonin Scalia was a friend, a mentor, a collaborator and a fellow lover of words. In the wake of Scalia’s death on Feb. 13, 2016, Garner reflected back over their relationship, from their first brief introduction in 1988 to the trip they took to Asia together in the last weeks of Scalia’s life. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Garner speaks with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles about what gave him the confidence to...

Duration:00:36:17

How a Quaker’s suit against the Secretary of Defense still impacts cases over government surveillance

1/3/2018
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You have reason to believe you’re being monitored by the government, that they are following you and cataloging everywhere you go and everyone you talk to. The knowledge haunts you, and has a chilling effect on everything you do. But can you sue to stop it? In this month’s episode, the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles speaks with Jeffrey Vagle about his new book, Being Watched: Legal Challenges to Government Surveillance about the current challenges to government surveillance, and a seminal...

Duration:00:27:22

Barbie v. Bratz: What happened when toy titans took each other to court

12/20/2017
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In this month’s Modern Law Library, we read a thrilling tale of dueling toymakers, corporate espionage and a group of brats taking on the queen of the DreamHouse. Prof. Orly Lobel, author of “You Don’t Own Me: How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie’s Dark Side,” speaks to the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles about how an intellectual property dispute between the maker of Barbie and the creator of Bratz spun into a legal battle that would last more than a decade.

Duration:00:25:51

Georgetown law prof calls for complete re-imagining of criminal justice system in 'Chokehold'

12/6/2017
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As a former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., Paul Butler once worked to put people in prison. Now, he has come to believe that prisons should be abolished. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Butler speaks with the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles about the racial inequities built into the system; his advice for young black men interacting with the police; and his view that radical re-imagining, rather than incremental reform, is the only way to fully address the harm done to civil...

Duration:00:27:14

Will big data tools make policing less biased--or violate people’s rights?

11/15/2017
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With resource-strapped police departments facing pressure to avert crime and end racially discriminatory police practices, many are turning to data-driven surveillance technology with the thought that it could be both more objective and more effective. But without transparency into what technology police are using and how the data is gathered, can the public have confidence that these tools will be used responsibly or effectively? In this episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA...

Duration:00:36:48

What can we learn from the history of interracial relationships in America?

10/4/2017
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Fifty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws against interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia. But Richard and Mildred Loving were not the first American couple to love across race boundaries. The history of what we would now consider interracial relationships in America extends back to the first European explorations of the continent. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles speaks with Sheryll Cashin, a professor of law at Georgetown University...

Duration:00:22:50

How the author of 'The Forgotten Flight' fought to bring justice for terror victims' families

9/6/2017
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If you mention a terrorist attack in which a Libyan suitcase bomb brought down an airliner, most people will be quick to remember Pan Am Flight 103, which crashed on Dec. 21, 1988 in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. But there is another, similar attack that happened nine months later, on Sept. 19, 1989. When UTA Flight 772 was downed over the Ténéré Desert in Niger, 170 people lost their lives, including seven Americans. Though it is far less known, it was family members of Flight...

Duration:00:29:58

First Amendment defender warns of threats to free speech in the ‘fake news’ era

8/3/2017
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The rights to free speech and freedom of the press guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. But when it was first passed–and for its first hundred or so years–the First Amendment was not the robust defense we think of today. Legendary civil rights attorney Floyd Abrams joins the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles to discuss his book “The Soul of the First Amendment” in this episode of the Modern Law Library. Abrams shares how First Amendment jurisprudence changed over time, and what dangers he sees ahead for...

Duration:00:26:01

Merriam-Webster editor shares the 'secret life of dictionaries'

7/19/2017
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What do lawyers and lexicographers have in common? The main job of both is to argue over the meaning of words. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles talks with Kory Stamper about her work as a lexicographer and editor for Merriam-Webster; her new book, “Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries”; and her position as chief defender of the word "irregardless." We explore the difference between the prescriptivists—whose champion, Bryan A. Garner, writes a...

Duration:00:29:10