Passing Judgment

Jessica Levinson

Is the constitution in crisis? This podcast is for people who are curious about politics and the law and how the biggest political and legal issues of the moment affect you. Pull up a chair and join host Jessica Levinson, a professor at LMU’s Loyola Law School, and a rotating cast of experts. Jessica will be joined by journalists, politicians, political scientists, lawyers, and many others. Listen to Jessica and her guests for a wry, and sometimes irreverent take on the most pressing issues of our time. What are the laws of our democracy? How are they changing? And what does that mean for your daily life?

  • 39 minutes 2 seconds
    Inside Election Disputes: Edward Foley Examines the Threats to Democratic Processes

    In this episode of Passing Judgment, Jessica Levinson sits down with guest Edward Foley to delve into the intricate world of disputed elections, legal challenges, and the evolving landscape of American democracy. Foley shares his insights on the confluence of historical election disputes with current events, the critical role of clear election rules, and the challenges faced in ensuring fair and accurate elections. From discussing his book on the history of disputed elections to shedding light on the nuances of judicial behavior and election administration, this episode offers a deep dive into the complexities and nuances of election law and constitutional principles.


    Here are three key takeaways you don't want to miss:


    1️⃣ Disputed Elections and Democratic Stability: Foley discusses the confluence of conspiracy theories with disputed elections, emphasizing the need for clear election rules, competent institutions, and a strong civic culture to support democratic governance.



    2️⃣ Judicial Behavior and Supreme Court Dynamics: Foley shares insights on the evolution of judicial behavior, noting the increased visibility of judges through various public engagements like social media, book authoring, and public appearances. The discussion raises concerns about Supreme Court justices' extracurricular activities and potential biases, as well as historical parallels in such behaviors.



    3️⃣ Election Procedures and "Blue Shift" Phenomenon: The podcast addresses challenges in election procedures, particularly regarding absentee ballots verification procedures. It delves into the concept of the "blue shift" in elections, where Democrats tend to gain ground on late-counted ballots leading to a shift in results favoring the Democratic candidates as more ballots are processed.



    Follow Our Host and Guest:

     @LevinsonJessica

    @Nedfoley

    28 May 2024, 5:00 am
  • 23 minutes 48 seconds
    Unraveling the Trump Hush Money Trial with Shayna Jacobs

    In this episode of Passing Judgment, Jessica Levinson sits down with Shayna Jacobs, a federal courts and law enforcement reporter for The Washington Post, to delve into the ongoing Trump hush money trial. With the trial moving at an unexpectedly rapid pace, Jessica and Shayna discuss why this case is progressing faster than anticipated and explore the pivotal role of Michael Cohen's testimony. Tune in as Jessica and Shayna navigate the intricate legal landscape of this high-profile trial and speculate on its potential implications for Trump's political future.


    Here are three key takeaways you don't want to miss:

    

    1️⃣ Trial Progression and Timeline: The trial moved faster than expected, with significant progress including jury selection, opening arguments, and witness testimonies. Judge Marchand emphasized keeping the trial on track.


    2️⃣ Novelty of the Case: This case is unique because it’s uncommon for falsification of business records to be the primary charge. Typically, it's a lesser charge combined with more significant crimes.


    3️⃣ Relevance of Stormy Daniels’ Testimony: Although some details of her testimony might not directly relate to the falsification charges, they were used to establish context and motive for Trump's actions.



    Follow Our Host and Guest:

     @LevinsonJessica

    @Shaynajacobs

    21 May 2024, 5:00 am
  • 22 minutes 14 seconds
    The MAGA Ideology: A Deep Dive into America's Conservative Movement with Isaac Arnsdorf

    In this episode of Passing Judgment, we delve into the intricacies of the MAGA movement with Isaac Arnsdorf, a national political reporter for The Washington Post. Isaac shares insights from his new book, "Finish What We Started: The MAGA Movement's Ground War to End Democracy," examining the evolution of MAGA from its roots in earlier American political ideologies to its transformation post-January 6th. Join us as Isaac explains the movement's shift towards more extreme elements and its strategy to infiltrate the Republican Party from the ground up, as well as discussing potential scenarios for future elections and the ongoing impact on American democracy.


    Here are three key takeaways you don't want to miss:


    1️⃣ Historical Continuity and Evolution: The MAGA ideology connects back to older political traditions in America, such as the non-interventionist "America First" ethos of the 1930s and the conservative backlash against the New Deal. This historical perspective helps explain the resurgence and transformation of these ideologies in today's political landscape.


    2️⃣ Transformation of the MAGA Movement Post-January 6th: Isaac elaborates on how the MAGA movement became more radicalized and inclusive of extreme right elements post-January 6th. This was driven by grassroots efforts rather than Trump himself, with significant influence from figures like Steve Bannon aiming to deeply integrate the movement within the Republican Party.


    3️⃣ Impact and Strategies for Future Elections: Arnsdorf expresses concerns about potential disruptions in future elections, noting preparations for legal strategies that could make elections contentious and the worrying prospect of political violence or disruptive actions at crucial electoral stages.


    Follow Our Host and Guest:

     @LevinsonJessica

    @Iarnsdorf

    14 May 2024, 5:00 am
  • 10 minutes 27 seconds
    Understanding First Amendment Rights During Campus Protests

    In this episode of Passing Judgment, Jessica Levinson dives deep into the legal intricacies surrounding protests on college campuses, specifically addressing First Amendment protections and relevant federal laws. By discussing these themes, Jessica Levinson aims to provide a legal framework for understanding the complexities of First Amendment protections and other related legal aspects in the context of college protests, influenced by ongoing events like the war in Gaza but strictly from a legal perspective, avoiding political discussions. Join us as Jessica provides a thorough legal framework to help us understand these complex dynamics, setting the stage for informed discussions on rights, responsibilities, and the reach of the law in educational settings.


    Here are three key takeaways you don't want to miss:


    1️⃣ First Amendment Protections in Protests: The episode delves into how the First Amendment ensures robust protection for speech and expressive conduct during protests.


    2️⃣ Limitations on Speech: While the First Amendment offers broad protections, there are permissible limitations. Levinson explains that these restrictions must be content-neutral—applied uniformly regardless of the speaker's identity or viewpoint and should ideally serve a legitimate purpose like ensuring safety, without being a pretext for suppressing undesirable viewpoints.


    3️⃣ Federal Laws Impacting Protests: Levinson addresses how the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (particularly Title 6) intersects with campus protests. Actions during protests that discriminate based on race, color, or national origin, or that disrupt educational opportunities for these groups, might constitute violations under Title 6.



    Follow Our Host:

    On Threads: @LevinsonJessica

    3 May 2024, 5:00 am
  • 34 minutes 43 seconds
    Examining Voter Access and Election Integrity with Rick Hasen

    In this episode of Passing Judgment, we delve deep into the complex world of voting rights and election integrity with renowned UCLA professor Rick Hasen. The discussion navigates through the intricacies of Hasen's recent books, "A Real Right to Vote," where he advocates for a constitutional amendment to solidify voting protections, and "Cheap Speech," which examines the dangers of disinformation in our political landscape. Join Jessica Levinson as she and Hasen dissect the balance between maintaining ballot security and ensuring broad voting access, the role of the Supreme Court in shaping these rights, and the urgent challenge of combating political disinformation in the digital age.


    Here are three key takeaways you don't want to miss:


    1️⃣ Voting Restrictions and Integrity: Rick Hasen discusses the necessity of certain voter restrictions and identification verification to maintain the integrity of elections. He acknowledges the challenges and criticisms associated particularly with rules around absentee ballots and instances of election fraud, highlighting the complexity of balancing accessibility with security.


    2️⃣ Disinformation in Politics: Jessica Levinson brings up the issue of disinformation, and Hasen elaborates on its detrimental impact on elections, as detailed in his book "Cheap Speech." They discuss the challenges posed by social media and the spread of false information, especially during the 2020 election cycle, and the balance between free speech and the necessity for accurate information.


    3️⃣ Legal Uncertainties and Electoral Litigation: Hasen notes the unique, decentralized, and highly partisan nature of U.S. elections, contributing to frequent litigation over voter registration and eligibility. He expresses concern about the Supreme Court's approach to such issues, fearing that ongoing legal uncertainties could delay crucial resolutions, especially in a polarized political climate.


    Follow Our Host:

    On Threads: @LevinsonJessica

    30 April 2024, 5:00 am
  • 23 minutes 51 seconds
    Dissecting the New York Hush Money Trial Against Former President Trump with Ella Lee

    In this episode of Passing Judgment, we delve into the intricacies of the New York hush money payment case involving a former president – a state criminal trial of immense historical significance as it's the first to proceed against an ex-commander-in-chief. Host Jessica Levinson, alongside court and justice reporter Ella Lee, unpacks the legal complexities facing the prosecution, particularly the challenge of proving intentional fraud linked to the 34 felony counts of false business records. Join Jessica and Ella as they navigate the tangled web of legal battles surrounding one of the nation's most polarizing political figures.



    Here are three key takeaways you don't want to miss:


    1️⃣ New York Hush Money Payment Case: This segment introduces the trial concerning former President Trump's alleged hush money payments, which is notable for being the first criminal trial against a former president in U.S. history. There's a discussion on the legal challenges, particularly the difficulty of proving intentional fraud and the connection to another crime.


    2️⃣ Legal Nuances and Jury Impact: Jessica and Ella discuss anticipated challenges for both the prosecution and the defense. For the prosecution, convincing the jury of the witnesses' credibility, especially Michael Cohen's, is anticipated to be difficult. The defense is expected to face challenges due to the case's high profile and the polarizing figure of Trump.


    3️⃣ Trial Timing and Political Considerations: Speculation about when other cases might go to trial before the November elections is discussed, including the implications of Department of Justice policies regarding pursuing cases close to elections and considerations judges might have on trial scheduling.


    Follow Our Host:

    On Threads: @LevinsonJessica

    16 April 2024, 5:00 am
  • 31 minutes 56 seconds
    January 6th Insight: Sarah Wire on Covering Insurrection and National Security

    In this riveting episode of Passing Judgment, host Jessica Levinson delves into the intricate legal battles surrounding former President Trump and the classified documents dispute. Our esteemed guest, Sarah Wire of the Los Angeles Times, unveils the complexities of Trump's assertion of ownership over crucial documents, a stance that's been thwarted by Judge Keenan's recent decision. Throughout the episode, we unravel the strategic delays in the courtroom, weigh the public's right to pre-election transparency, and examine how the pursuit of justice is not merely about the charges themselves, but about the far-reaching implications of cover-ups and electoral integrity. Join us as we pass judgment on these crucial issues that define not just legal boundaries, but also the very contours of our democracy.


    Here are three key takeaways you don't want to miss:


    1️⃣ Significance of January 6th Insurrection: The podcast also deeply examines the January 6 insurrection, with Sarah Wire sharing firsthand accounts and emphasizing its historical significance. The conversation covers the actions leading to the insurrection, its classification, and the personal impact on those who reported from within the Capitol during the event.


    2️⃣ Presidential Records Act and Classified Documents: The Presidential Records Act is discussed, particularly in relation to former President Trump's claims over certain records. The rulings by Judges Keenan and Cannon are highlighted, exploring the legal boundaries of document ownership by a president.


    3️⃣ Public Interest in Trial Information: The episode delves into the debate surrounding the timing of trial information release, particularly in the context of elections. The emphasis is on whether the public should have access to trial details before casting votes and how reporters view their role in this process.



    Follow Our Host:

    On Threads: @LevinsonJessica


    9 April 2024, 5:00 am
  • 40 minutes 50 seconds
    How Trump Compares to Carter and FDR with Jonathan Alter

    In this episode of Passing Judgment, esteemed author and political analyst Jonathan Alter delves into the complexities of Jimmy Carter's presidency, exploring how external factors such as inflation and unemployment marred its perception. Alter highlights similarities between Carter's challenges and those facing current President Joe Biden, drawing attention to historical influences on today's politics. The episode also examines the New York Hush Money case against Donald Trump, emphasizing its significance for law enforcement and democratic norms. Tune in to this episode of Passing Judgment for an encompassing discussion that charts the precarious balance between law, politics, and the ever-changing tapestry of American leadership.



    Here are three key takeaways you don't want to miss:


    1️⃣ Comparisons Between Carter and Biden: Alter draws parallels between the presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Joe Biden, observing the influence of past presidents on current political scenarios, along with the challenges they face due to changing times and issues.


    2️⃣ New York Hush Money Case and Trump: The podcast touches upon the legal troubles surrounding Donald Trump, specifically the New York Hush Money case, and its potential ramifications on the electorate. Alter underscores the gravity of such cases concerning the rule of law.


    3️⃣ Condition of the Republican Party: There's an assessment of the Republican Party's evolution, particularly its departure from traditional conservative values, allowing the rise of Donald Trump and presenting new directions for the party.



    Follow Our Host:

    On Threads: @LevinsonJessica

    2 April 2024, 4:44 am
  • 38 minutes 22 seconds
    Breaking Down Trump's Legal Battles with Ankush Khardori

    In this episode of Passing Judgment, host Jessica Levinson and guest Ankush Khardori delve into the tangled web of legal challenges surrounding former President Trump. We dissects a series of cases poised to reshape our understanding of presidential immunity and the limits of executive power. Tune in for an episode rich in legal insight, where the implications of these judicial battles are laid bare, revealing a complex mosaic of potential outcomes that could alter the political and legal landscape.


    Here are three key takeaways you don't want to miss:


    1️⃣ Trump's Immunity and Public Perception: A significant portion of the discussion revolved around Trump's claims of immunity, the consequences of his potential conviction, and public opinion on the matter, noting a poll revealing a potential conviction would negatively impact his support among independents and Republicans.


    2️⃣ Michael Cohen's Credibility: Ankush Khardori discussed the use of Michael Cohen’s public statements to question his reliability in the trial, highlighting inconsistent statements and animosity towards Trump. The challenges of proving Trump's knowledge of wrongdoing and rehabilitating Cohen as a witness were also explored.


    3️⃣ Mar-a-Lago Case & Jury Instructions: We delve into the Mar-a-Lago case, with a particular focus on proposed jury instructions and Judge Eileen Cannon's rulings. We voiced concerns about the legality and implications of the proposed instructions and the judge’s perceived favorable treatment of Trump's arguments.


    Follow Our Host:

    On Threads: @LevinsonJessica

    26 March 2024, 5:00 am
  • 29 minutes 40 seconds
    Trump on Trial: Analyzing Federal Cases Against a Former President with Kyle Cheney

    The latest episode of Passing Judgment dives into critical legal discussions surrounding charges against a former president, touching on both state and federal levels. Host Jessica Levinson, with guest Kyle Cheney from Politico, delve into the recent developments within the Georgia election interference case. Join us as we pass judgment on the rule of law, dissect the possible chaos this could sow in Congress, and interpret the maze of legal arguments presented in these monumental cases.


    Here are three key takeaways you don't want to miss:


    1️⃣ DC Interference Case and Supreme Court Decisions: There is significant attention on the potential chaos that could arise from the Supreme Court's unanimous decision that states do not have the authority to determine eligibility under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The concern revolves around the question of whether any Congress should count the electoral votes of a candidate considered ineligible for the presidency, potentially leading to chaotic scenarios in Congress, particularly by January 2025.


    2️⃣ The Georgia Case and Racketeering Charges: The Georgia case involving the former president's alleged election interference continues to face challenges. Although Judge Scott McAfee dismissed six charges related to soliciting Georgia officials to violate their oath of office, the core racketeering charges remain intact. The discussion indicated that the prosecutor's office is currently mired in its own controversies, making it uncertain if they will appeal the ruling or refile the charges.


    3️⃣  Federal Case Developments in Georgia and Florida: The federal case in Florida about the unlawful retention of documents at Mar-a-Lago is being discussed in court with motions to dismiss based on the Espionage Act and the Presidential Records Act. Trump’s legal team argues for the motion to dismiss, claiming the statutes have not been used in this manner against a former president and raises the issue of whether Trump had fair notice of potential charges. However, the judge has not indicated any decision on the case schedule.


    Follow Our Host:

    On Threads: @LevinsonJessica

    18 March 2024, 2:01 pm
  • 8 minutes 50 seconds
    TikTok Ban: Assessing the First Amendment and National Security Concerns

    In this episode, we dive into the complex intersection of TikTok and the First Amendment. Jessica Levinson breaks down the ongoing debate surrounding a proposed bill that could impact the popular social media app. Join us as we explore the constitutional implications, the distinction between speech and conduct, and the fascinating first amendment questions that arise from this contentious issue.


    Here are three key takeaways you don't want to miss:


    1️⃣ National Security vs. Free Speech: The federal government argues that the ban is necessary due to national security concerns, believing that TikTok's Chinese ownership could compromise the privacy and national security of American users.


    2️⃣ First Amendment Implications: While the government claims it's not a ban on speech, but rather a restriction on commercial conduct, there are strong arguments that this could infringe on the First Amendment rights of both the app and its users.


    3️⃣ Legal Challenges: If the bill becomes law, it's likely to face First Amendment challenges in court, with the level of scrutiny on the legislation being a pivotal point of contention.


    Follow Our Host:

    On Threads: @LevinsonJessica


    13 March 2024, 2:27 pm
  • More Episodes? Get the App
© MoonFM 2024. All rights reserved.