What Roman Mars Can Learn About Con Law

Roman Mars

Professor Elizabeth Joh teaches Intro to Constitutional Law and most of the time this is a pretty straight forward job. But when Trump came into office, everything changed. During the four years of the Trump presidency, Professor Joh would check Twitter five minutes before each class to find out what the 45th President had said and how it jibes with 200 years of the judicial branch interpreting and ruling on the Constitution. Acclaimed podcaster Roman Mars (99% Invisible) was so anxious about all the norms and laws being tested in the Trump era that he asked his neighbor, Elizabeth, to explain what was going on in the world from a Constitutional law perspective. Even after Trump left office, there is still so much for Roman to learn. What Roman Mars Can Learn About Con Law is a weekly, fun, casual Con Law 101 class that uses the tumultuous activities of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches to teach us all about the US Constitution. All music for the show comes from Doomtree, an independent hip-hop collective and record label based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • 33 minutes 31 seconds
    78- The Disqualification Clause

    In the aftermath of the Civil War, the Disqualification Clause was adopted to ensure that former officials and soldiers in the Confederacy would be barred from serving in public office.

    And for the first time in 153 years, an elected official has been disqualified for future office for his role in an insurrection: a New Mexico county commissioner who marched to the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

    Voters have filed lawsuits against Trump, arguing that the former president’s role in inciting his followers to disrupt the election certification makes him an insurrectionist, and therefore, disqualified from becoming president again. What does all this mean for Trump and his 2024 presidential candidacy? 


    18 December 2023, 12:10 am
  • 31 minutes 47 seconds
    77- Gag

    Gag orders are usually put in place to protect a defendant's right to a fair trial by limiting inflammatory statements. What happens when it's the defendant making the inflammatory statements and that defendant is a current candidate and former President of the United States?

    2 November 2023, 12:52 am
  • 32 minutes 37 seconds
    76- Margarine, Meadows, and Removal

    On August 14, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis announced that the grand jury had returned a criminal indictment against Trump and eighteen other defendants for what they did in the days and weeks after the 2020 election. The story told by the indictment is that this group were part of a criminal enterprise that worked towards one singular goal: overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

    One of the people indicted is former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. He is trying to get his case tried in federal court instead of Georgia state court. 

    In his petition, Meadows cites a 1899 case about margarine.  Yes, margarine.

    19 September 2023, 12:16 am
  • 30 minutes 26 seconds
    75- Comstock Zombies

    19th century "zombie" laws are shambling into the abortion debate. The Comstock Act of 1873 made it illegal to send “obscene, lewd or lascivious,” “immoral,” or “indecent” material through the mail. Does that include abortion pills?

    Comstock Zombies


    31 May 2023, 7:27 pm
  • 26 minutes 50 seconds
    74- On the Eve of Trump's Arraignment

    On April 4th (that’s tomorrow as I record this) former President Trump is expected to be arraigned in a Manhattan court room. He was indicted by a New York grand jury last week but the exact charges against him remain unknown until he appears in court. On Thursday last week, Elizabeth Joh and I recorded an episode all about the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into Trump’s alleged hush money payments and the New York grand jury deliberations. About an hour after we finished that recording, the grand jury indictment was announced. All the reporting so far has indicated that the charges and circumstances around the alleged crimes conform to everything we discussed on March 30th last week, so I thought releasing this was still valuable even though it’s a developing story.

    4 April 2023, 7:51 am
  • 24 minutes 21 seconds
    73- Lies, George Santos, and the 1st Amendment

    New York's 3rd Congressional District elected a newcomer named George Santos in November of 2022. Since the election, it was revealed that Santos lied about nearly everything on his resume. What does the Constitution say about lies, punishing lies, and  punishing someone who lies to get elected? Time to find out!

    17 March 2023, 8:53 pm
  • 34 minutes 11 seconds
    72-Weddings, Websites, and Forced Speech

    It’s been established law that it is wrong for businesses to discriminate against customers because of their race or ethnic background, but what if a business owner refuses to serve someone because of their sexual orientation? And what if that business owner asserts that serving a gay customer violates their first amendment rights?

    10 February 2023, 6:24 pm
  • 31 minutes 19 seconds
    71- The War Between the States

    How the Dormant Commerce Clause tries to stop states from passing laws that put an undue burden on interstate commerce and what that means for states that wish to forward specific ethical agendas. Plus, what's going on with student debt relief: who filed a lawsuit against it and why.

    27 November 2022, 12:46 am
  • 33 minutes 19 seconds
    70- Trump's Bet on Cannon

    When the FBI executed a search warrant on his home, Trump and his lawyers filed their complaints in a district where they thought they’d get sympathetic treatment from Judge Aileen Cannon, who Trump appointed. The assignment of a particular judge is not up to Trump, but in this case, he got lucky, and Cannon was assigned. How did Trump’s gamble on getting his case in front of Judge Cannon work out? Let’s find out.

    22 October 2022, 4:21 am
  • 36 minutes 58 seconds
    69- The Mar-a-Lago Warrant

    The official court order that permitted the search of Mar-a-Lago was made public, and even though much of it was redacted, there is a lot of information about what the government was looking for and which crimes the DOJ are investigating .

    10 September 2022, 2:31 am
  • 27 minutes 36 seconds
    68- The Longest Week

    In the final week of the  most recent term, the Supreme Court decided to limit one constitutional right (abortion) and expand another constitutional right (guns). But there were other cases decided that week, which were also important and marked this as one of the most historically significant terms in over 100 years. So what happened in those other cases and why are they so important?

    12 August 2022, 11:06 pm
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