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Sidebar by Courthouse News

News & Politics Podcasts

Sidebar by Courthouse News tackles the stories you need to know from the legal world. Join reporters Hillel Aaron, Kirk McDaniel, Amanda Pampuro and Kelsey Reichmann as they take you in and out of courtrooms in the U.S. and beyond and break down all the developments that had them talking.

Location:

United States

Description:

Sidebar by Courthouse News tackles the stories you need to know from the legal world. Join reporters Hillel Aaron, Kirk McDaniel, Amanda Pampuro and Kelsey Reichmann as they take you in and out of courtrooms in the U.S. and beyond and break down all the developments that had them talking.

Twitter:

@SidebarCNS

Language:

English

Contact:

6028208202


Episodes
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Copyright Conundrum

4/16/2024
Would you believe us if we told you copyright law is the biggest regulation on free speech in the United States? When you exercise your First Amendment right to paint a picture or write the next great American novel, your speech belongs to you. No one can take it and pass it off as their own. But when all the power is vested solely in one person, the rights of others slowly begin to dwindle. If you think copyright is just a term for media executives and lawyers, come along as we unravel its constitutional underpinnings. In our fifth episode this season, we dissect this intricate balance that copyright law maintains between protecting creators and ensuring the public’s unfettered access to cultural treasurer, detailing the symbiotic relationship between artistic works and the fundamental right to speak freely. Copyright is all around us because speech is all around us. Special guests: Jennifer Jenkins, a Duke University professor of law and director of the university's Center for the Study of the Public DomainMike Masnick, writer and founder of TechdirtCorynne McSherry, legal director at the Electronic Frontier FoundationKeith Kupferschmid, CEO of Copyright AllianceThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:34:12

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Bitter Pill: Pregnancy and Personhood in a Post-Dobbs America

3/26/2024
The landscape of abortion rights in America is unrecognizable in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Join us for our fourth episode this season as we navigate this tumultuous terrain, dissecting the seismic shifts and looming legal — and political — battles that promise to keep this issue at the forefront of national discourse. As states become battlegrounds with polarized stances on reproductive laws, how will the growing schism impact our collective moral compass and individual liberties? Hold onto your seats as we examine the Supreme Court’s potential reshaping of federal authority over FDA-approved abortion medications like mifepristone and the state-level legislation redrawing the battleground of reproductive rights by either restricting or safeguarding abortion access, spotlighting Alabama’s legal contortions over fetal personhood and its deep entanglement with in vitro fertilization treatments that could eventually redefine reproductive autonomy. Special guests: Dale Cecka, director of the Family Violence Litigation Clinic at Albany Law SchoolChelsey Youman, national legislative advisor for Human Coalition ActionGrace Howard, associate professor of justice studies at San Jose State UniversityDana Sussman, deputy executive director at Pregnancy JusticeAziza Ahmed, law professor at Boston UniversityThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:33:57

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Mean Tweets

3/5/2024
Editor’s note: This episode is not family friendly due to some colorful language. A long-running feud between eviction lawyers Dennis Block and Danny Bramzon cumulated into a Twitter parody account and a libel lawsuit that made it all the way to a jury trial. In the third episode this season, we take the temperature of defamation law in the 21st century when it comes to X, formerly known as Twitter. Block isn’t the only one unsuccessful in the courtroom. A lawsuit that sought to take down Elon Musk over his infamous “pedo guy” tweet failed, as did efforts by “badass lawyer” Todd Levitt and former Congressman Devin Nunes over their Twitter impersonators. Why is it so hard to win a defamation lawsuit when digital satire is at play? The courtroom becomes a crucible, with jurors and judges wrestling over the true nature of parody, leaving us pondering the potential repercussions of a legal system scrambling to catch up with the online world’s rapid evolution. Special guests: Eric Anderson, an attorney for Bramzon’s firm, BastaChristopher Frost, an attorney for BlockEugene Volokh, UCLA law professor and blogger at The Volokh ConspiracyGordon Bloem, an attorney sued by LevittPaul Alan Levy, an attorney at Public CitizenRyan Mac, tech reporter at The New York TimesThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:32:08

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Breaking News: SCOTUS Ends Trump Ballot Challenges

3/4/2024
Surprise, listeners! We’re coming to you, almost live, with a special breaking news mini episode on the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to keep former President Donald Trump on Colorado’s ballot. Our very own Amanda Pampuro and Kelsey Reichmann meticulously dissect the twists and turns of the legal journey that led to this point, from the initial lawsuit by concerned Colorado voters to the constitutional debates the ensued before SCOTUS. How great is the magnitude of this ruling, not just for Trump’s potential return to the highest office in the land, but for its groundbreaking implications on the constitutional standards that determine who can lead the nation? Special guest: · Mark Graber, law professor at the University of Maryland This episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:17:59

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Love Is a Lie

2/13/2024
Look around, dear listener. Everything is heart-shaped and pink. People are getting ready for a special night with their special someone. In our second episode this season, we take you through the dark alleyways of online dating, where $1.3 billion vanished into the pockets of scammers in just one year, and peel back the layers of marketing sleights of hand that extend far beyond the realm of matchmaking. From mimosas without champagne to candy heart boxes with more filler than chocolate, we dissect the conflict between what's advertised and what lands in consumers' hands — a legal battlefield constantly redefining the line between enticing and misleading. Special guests: Kevin Lewis, sociology professor at UC San DiegoAttorney Spencer SheehanAttorney Robert FreundJennifer Pomeranz, public health attorney and NYU professorBonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in AdvertisingThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:36:13

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The Case of the Internet Sleuth

1/23/2024
Welcome to season four of Sidebar! We're kicking off our first episode of 2024 by traversing the digital terrain of internet sleuths, those armchair detectives whose keyboards are the new magnifying glasses. Everyone has a hobby. Something to keep them busy, pass the time or unwind after work. Maybe listening to your favorite podcast is that thing. One such hobby that has grown with the help of the internet and social media is internet sleuthing. On websites like TikTok, Reddit and Websleuths, people post the latest theories about mysteries big and small. Since the high-profile murder of Gabby Petito, it feels like hobby investigators have gained more prominence, from the initial mystery of the University of Idaho student murders to the Rainey Street Ripper, the Austin, Texas, serial killer that wasn't. What's behind the psychological forces that drive this online phenomenon? Special guests: David Schmid, professor of English at the University of BuffaloRachel Monroe, author of “Savage Appetites: Four True Stories of Women, Crime, and Obsession”Chance Townsend, assistant editor at MashableThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:35:34

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Sidebar Season Four - Official Trailer

1/9/2024
Season four of Sidebar, a podcast from Courthouse News, kicks off just around the corner. Join our hosts and reporters as they take you around the nation to break down lawsuits, the law and how they impact you and the life you live. Follow us on Twitter @SidebarCNS and www.courthousenews.com for more. This episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:01:01

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Big Bold Beautiful 2023 Recap

12/5/2023
Welcome to our end-of-the-year gala episode of Sidebar. It's hard to divvy out awards for the most important or interesting cases of 2023 when former President Donald Trump has dominated so many of them. This was the year Trump took over Courthouse News, appearing in court as a defendant many times. From charges in New York that Trump schemed to make illegal hush-money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and an indictment over Trump mishandling classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago resort to another indictment in Georgia over conspiracy to change the results of the 2020 presidential election, 2023 saw Trump dominating headlines. This trend is unlikely to die down next year as the cases ramp up and he forges ahead as the Republican Party's No. 1 guy to run against President Joe Biden. But it wasn't all about Trump. No courtroom drama is off-limits as we also spotlight the fraud trial of cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman-Fried and the murder trial of South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh. Sit back, pop some bubbly and join us as we sift through the year's most riveting legal tales. This episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:33:50

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Reading, Writing, Religion

11/14/2023
No institution in American life has a far-reaching and outsized role in communities quite like the public school system. Take a seat, Sidebar listeners, as we dive into the heart of public education and its role in our democracy for our penultimate episode this season. We take you beyond the classroom, looking at landmark rulings like Brown v. Board of Education and highlighting the dual role of public schools: to educate and to unite individuals of various backgrounds in a shared vision. Gear up to navigate the treacherous waters of the school choice movement with us, from religious schools to church-state separation and the impact on the future of public education. Special guests: Derek Black, law professor at the University of South CarolinaSteve Suitts, adjunct lecturer at Emory UniversityRachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and StateJohn Bursch, senior counsel for Alliance Defending FreedomDaniel Mach, director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and BeliefThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:31:33

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I Put a Spell on You

10/31/2023
Happy Halloween, all you goblins and ghouls. Prepare yourselves for a real spooky season treat as we traverse the gloomy annals of witch trials. Join us for our 12th episode this season as we dispel myths and shine a light on how and why these judicial proceedings played out across Europe and the United States. We're talking grand juries, indictments, spectral evidence and even acquittals in what were considered by the standards of the time to be fair trials. There are no tricks here as we examine the chilling circumstances behind the notorious Salem witch trials and the ensuing paranoia that led to widespread accusations and tragic executions. How has Salem maintained its hold on the American psyche for more than 300 years? Hold on to your broomstick as we ride through this spine-chilling side of the past. Special guests: Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and author of “The Witches: Salem, 1692”Marion Gibson, Renaissance and magical literatures professor at the University of Exeter and author of “Witchcraft: A History in Thirteen Trials”This episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:24:05

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SCOTUS v. America

10/3/2023
Another year, another five-alarm fire burning before the U.S. Supreme Court. Kelsey Reichmann, Courthouse News’ Supreme Court reporter and the newest addition to the Sidebar team, joined just in time for this year's preview of the court's upcoming term. The top court in all the land is back at it again following landmark decisions that it has delivered for the conservative legal movement in ending the constitutional right to an abortion, rewriting Second Amendment jurisprudence and allowing churches to have more influence in public institutions. All the political and legal shake-ups have brought us to where we are today, with the justices set to consider if more people should be allowed to own a firearm, if you can trash talk your mayor and if the government can function as it always has. Trust us, you’ll want to stick around for that last one to hear if it will fuel a fire impacting every facet of United States government as we know it. Special guests: Sarah Bennett, principal and managing attorney at Sodoma Law NorthRobert Corn-Revere, chief counsel at FIREDan Walters, professor at Texas A&M University School of LawJasmine Harris, professor at University of Pennsylvania Carey Law SchoolThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:50:06

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Sour Grapes

9/12/2023
The love story between Hollywood megastars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie was destined for public fascination from the start as they merged family, philanthropy and a rather unexpected shared passion — wine. So, when they split in 2016, no one saw it coming. What followed was one of the most bitterly contested celebrity divorces in recent history. But what came after was in some ways even uglier — a lawsuit over Miraval, an estate in the south of France and home of its namesake rosé. This lawsuit opened a window into Brangelina's private lives and revealed why their marriage ultimately fell apart. In our 10th episode this season, we dissect the court documents to understand the broader implications of this battle. The couple bought Château Miraval to create a haven away from Hollywood, but the vineyard dispute ultimately revealed how their rosé relationship soured into vinegar. The denouement will be anything but neat as the court parses out who owns what. Fitting, in a way, since perfect endings are rare outside of Tinseltown. Special guests: Constance Grady, culture writer for VoxTamlyn Currin, wine writer and editor for Jancis RobinsonNancy Chemtob, founder and partner at Chemtob Moss Forman & BeydaSteven Mandel, founder at The Mandel Law FirmThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:22:36

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Don't Call Me (Maybe)

8/22/2023
Welcome back, listeners, from what we hope was a calm, relaxing break. If it was anything like ours, just when you cozied up with a summer read, you were likely jarred back to reality by a pesky robocall asking about your auto warranty. Receiving unwanted robocalls remains a universal experience 32 years after Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to empower Americans to fight off unwanted calls. In our ninth episode this season, we explain why the law did little to stop overseas scammers and instead created financial incentives for plaintiffs and their attorneys, ultimately leading to the Supreme Court's determination of what constituted an "autodialer." Now, an Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Taskforce of 49 attorneys general are taking on Avid Telecom, a Voice over Internet Protocol provider accused of sending or trying to send more than 24.5 billion calls. Will the outcome inspire Americans to start answering their phones? Press one for yes or two for no. Special guests: Roger Anderson, founder of the Jolly Roger Telephone CompanyEric Troutman, defense attorney and “czar” of the TCPA Attorney Jay EdelsonThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:31:20

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Give Me a Beat!

6/27/2023
Ed Sheeran and reggaeton might have more in common than you know: the artist and the genre have been the subject of battles over whether you can copyright a groove or a rhythm. In our last episode before summer break, we unravel the recent Ed Sheeran copyright trial with our New York City reporter, Josh Russell, including Sheeran's snarky cross-examination, his courtroom concert and Van Morrison's unexpected blessing. We also explore reggaeton's history and the legal dispute between Jamaican reggae production duo Steely & Clevie and several reggaeton musicians and producers over whether or not you can copyright dembow, heard in songs popularized by Bad Bunny and Daddy Yankee. This episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:28:16

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Greater Idaho Dreamin'

6/6/2023
Should state borders change to create political havens? Come along as we take a road trip through the world of secession as we look at the urban-rural divide and how it shapes these movements. Our first stop in our seventh episode this season? The Greater Idaho movement, a grassroots organization that aims to shift the Idaho state border to encompass eastern Oregon and escape the liberal politics of the Beaver State. The trip wouldn’t be complete without the State of Jefferson in rural Northern California and southern Oregon, a movement driven by discontent and boosted in popularity by a San Francisco Chronicle reporter during World War II. Buckle up, and let's hit the road! Special guests: Matt McCaw, spokesman for the Greater Idaho movementPeter Laufer, journalist and journalism professor at the University of OregonBryan Clark, opinion writer at the Idaho StatesmanNorman Williams, law professor at Willamette UniversityThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:32:06

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For a Fistful of Dollars

5/9/2023
Imagine stashing your hard-earned savings in a safety deposit box, only to find out the FBI has raided the place and your money is gone thanks to the controversial practice of civil forfeiture, which allows law enforcement to seize people's assets with little explanation. That's what happened to a number of Californians who stored their cash at U.S. Private Vaults in Beverly Hills. Join us for this season's sixth episode as we tell their story and explore how their money got caught up in a vault at the center of a federal investigation. The story doesn't stop there. We also hear from trucker Jerry Johnson, who also experienced civil forfeiture firsthand when his $39,500 in cash was seized by the Phoenix Police Department after he flew into the city to buy a big rig. It took years and help from the Institute for Justice to get his money back. Special guests: Benjamin Gluck, an attorney with Bird MarellaDan Alban, a senior attorney at the Institute for JusticeBob Belden, an attorney at the Institute for JusticeThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:25:55

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No Laughing Matter

4/18/2023
A note: this episode contains language that might make you or your nana blush. Pull up a chair as we bring you into the comedy club and beyond. Laughter may be the best medicine, but how does it hold up in court? Over the decades, courts carved out clear First Amendment protections for comics facing criminal obscenity and parodists taken a little too seriously. While the past informs the present, the rare joker can still find himself at the wrong end of the law over a Facebook post. In our fifth episode this season, we break down how certain words are OK under the eyes of the law, courtesy of the infamous Lenny Bruce obscenity trials. We also delve into cases like Jerry Falwell's defamation lawsuit against Hustler magazine and the challenges of navigating social media and free speech. Spoiler alert: the First Amendment is not always so cut and dry, causing some parodists to find out the hard way that it does not protect all speech, funny or not. Join us as we navigate the often amusing and sometimes controversial world of jokes and their legal consequences. Special guests: Douglas Linder, professor of law at the University of Missouri-Kansas CityJames Flynn, managing director at Epstein Becker GreenCaroline Grace Brothers, an attorney with the Institute for JusticeMike Gillis, lead writer for The OnionThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:32:09

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Sober Sundays

3/28/2023
Blue laws. They are quirky and annoying outdated restrictions on activities to ensure Sunday is a day of rest and worship. Some go beyond dictating when you can or cannot get a drink, and sometimes they leave you scratching your head wondering, why in the world are they still on the books? In this season's fourth episode, we dive into the history and impact of the laws. We explore the story of a Brooklyn nightclub suing New York for refusing to issue a special event permit for extended hours on New Year's Eve and the ongoing debate surrounding blue laws and their place in modern society. And we also look at the upside: how these laws give some workers the reprieve they need from a long work week. Prepare for a joyride through a legal antique shop, just hope the lawman doesn't catch us! Special guests: Polina Buckley, owner of nightclub Eris EvolutionJonathan Corbett, a civil rights attorneyPatricia Campos-Medina, executive director of the Worker Institute at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell UniversityThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:30:09

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The Legal Jungle of Exotic Pets

3/7/2023
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, around 60 million American households have pets. That is a ton of good boys and girls out there. But have you ever stopped and wondered about the laws that define pet ownership? Are there specific pets that you can't own where you live? How regulated is the pet trade? And what about exotic animals, where the sale and trade of such creatures is a state-by-state issue? In this episode, we break down the wild and wooly world of pet law — from the protections granted (or not so much) in the Animal Welfare Act to the effect that Netflix's breakout pandemic hit "Tiger King" may have had on getting the Big Cat Public Safety Act passed and what's next for regulating primate ownership in the U.S. And it's not just big mammals that need to be regulated to stop wreaking havoc on communities, but also pythons and feral cats. In Florida, the Burmese python population has exploded so much that the state has declared open season on them allowing them to be hunted year-round without a license or permit. And nationwide, the songbird population has declined by drastic numbers due to the skilled hunting of cats. Special guests: Kate Dylewsky, assistant director of government affairs at the Animal Welfare InstituteJohn Goodwin, senior director of the Stop Puppy Mills campaign at the Humane Society of the United StatesTim Pylate, executive director at Armand Bayou Nature CenterZandra Anderson, animal law attorneyThis episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:33:44

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The Enforcers

2/14/2023
Heads up for listeners: this episode contains explicit language. When legal battles come down to damages, most consider the final judgment to show who won the game and by how much. But in a highly specialized area of law, that judgment is just the beginning when the losing team refuses to pay. In our second episode this season, we introduce you to a few judgment enforcement attorneys, a small specialized group that only numbers in the dozens. Judgment enforcers are lawyers expected to file writs, subpoenas and anything of the like with the courts. But they are also private detectives, investigating where debtors hide their money. On the other side, Alki David. Born into a shipping family that owned Coca-Cola bottling plants, David has had a series of businesses himself, including a modeling agency, a video streaming website, and a marijuana company with boxer Mike Tyson called Swissx. He lives in a $20 million Malibu beach house, but not for long due to a court order to seize that house to pay for a sexual harassment judgment against him. Special guests: Joseph ChoraJay AdkissonRon Slates This episode was produced by Kirk McDaniel. Intro music by The Dead Pens. Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

Duration:00:22:17