What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law

By Roman Mars

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Description

Professor Elizabeth Joh teaches Intro to Constitutional Law and most of the time this is a pretty straight forward job. But with Trump in office, everything has changed. Five minutes before class Professor Joh checks Twitter to find out what the 45th President has said and how it jibes with 200 years of the judicial branch interpreting and ruling on the Constitution. Hosted by acclaimed podcaster Roman Mars (99% Invisible, co-founder Radiotopia), this show is a weekly, fun, casual Con Law 101 class that uses the tumultuous and erratic activities of the executive branch under Trump to teach us all about the US Constitution. Proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.


Episode Date
23- President Twitter and the First Amendment
20:20

Can Trump block people on Twitter? It turns out, the First Amendment has something to say about that.

Jun 09, 2018
22- Posse Comitatus
21:40

The Posse Comitatus Act limits the federal government’s ability to use the military to enforce domestic policy within the United States. However, this act has so many allowable exceptions, it has rarely been officially violated. When Trump suggests “The Feds” should police Chicago to get the murder rate down, he might have found the perfect example of a Posse Comitatus Act violation.

May 22, 2018
21- Attorney Client Privilege
24:42

When the office of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was raided by the FBI, Trump took twitter to express his concern. He wrote “Attorney-client privilege is dead!” Let’s see if it is.

Apr 27, 2018
20- Deadly Force
19:28

The Fourth Amendment includes the right to be secure from “unreasonable searches and seizure.” We have some idea of how this applies to cops, but if teachers are allowed to carry guns in school, are they also subject to the Fourth Amendment?

Mar 15, 2018
19- The Poisonous Tree
17:17

The Russia investigation has been called a "witch hunt" by Trump and his supporters on Twitter. And they've invoked the legal concept "the fruit of the poisonous tree" to invalidate the investigation. What does the Fourth Amendment say about tainted investigations and does it apply to Trump?

Feb 23, 2018
18- The Tenth Amendment
19:10

The Tenth Amendment limits the federal government’s control over the states, but the interpretation of that limit is always shifting.

Feb 09, 2018
17- The 4th Amendment and the Border
18:33

The Fourth Amendment says that “The right of the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” But at the border, warrantless searches are OK, even when it comes to our digital devices. With Trump's focus on the border, this is becoming a bigger deal.

Jan 25, 2018
16- Defamation
22:16

Trump likes to threaten the press with libel lawsuits. What does the Constitution have to say about defamation and the press?

Jan 14, 2018
15- Challenge Coin
17:32

You might not remember December 22, 2017 as a particularly notable day, but I will always remember it as the day the world first saw Donald Trump’s redesigned Presidential Challenge Coin. Because 99% Invisible did an episode about challenge coins and we actually offered our own coin to donors, my association with challenge coins is strong. Because of that, I was forwarded the December 22 Washington Post article about Trump’s garishly over the top challenge coin by about...9000 people. Here’s a story about challenge coins and my reaction to the Trump coin.

Dec 28, 2017
14- Prosecuting a President
22:00

Two Vice Presidents have been indicted with criminal charges while serving in office, but does the Constitution allow the prosecution of a President? Elizabeth Joh and Roman Mars explore this question.

Dec 14, 2017
13- Criminal Justice and the POTUS
23:01

Presidents don't usually weigh in on criminal cases. In fact, it’s critical to the integrity of the criminal justice system that the executive not try to influence the outcome of cases. But Trump can't help himself. President Trump has called the US criminal justice system “a joke.”

Nov 18, 2017
12- Right to Dissent
21:37

From "taking a knee" to refusing to salute the flag, the US has a rich history of public dissent, a right guaranteed by the Constitution. But you’d be surprised to learn that the Supreme Court has taken drastically different stands on this right, and now that Trump has tweeted his opposition to certain public displays of dissent, it’s a good time to explore the history of this principle of the First Amendment.

Nov 02, 2017
11- War Powers
13:45

What does the Constitution say about the president’s ability to wage war and what is the role of Congress?

Oct 19, 2017
10- Impeachment
18:57

Impeachment is talked about a lot, but it is extremely rare. Impeachment is the constitutional emergency measure written into the constitution itself. We talk about the procedure impeachment and why it's so hard.

Oct 09, 2017
9- Commerce Clause
18:05

The federal government can't pass any law it wants to. It's limited by Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, but the executive branch can choose how to enforce those laws. Under Trump, there are indications that drug laws, which are based on the Commerce Clause, are about to be enforced very differently.

Aug 17, 2017
8- The Takings Clause
19:04

To build a wall, Trump is going to need to seize private land. The Constitution has something to say about that and it’s known as the Takings Clause.

Aug 10, 2017
7- Recess Appointment Power
16:48

The Constitution says that the president can appoint important executive positions with the advice and consent of the Senate. But what if the Senate is out on recess? Does the president have to wait until the Senate comes back? Today we’ll explore the recess appointment power.

Aug 03, 2017
6- The Emoluments Clauses
17:59

The Constitution says that a “person holding any office of profit or trust” cannot accept gifts from any foreign state. In Article II, it also says the president specifically cannot accept gifts from “United States, or any of them.” If Trump businesses profit from a foreign or domestic state, is that a violation of either one of the emolument clauses? It’s hard to say, because there is literally no case law when it comes the emoluments clause. None!

Jul 20, 2017
5- Presidential Immunity
18:55

There have already been a few high profile lawsuits against President Trump and the first defense against such a lawsuit is to claim that the president cannot be sued in civil court. But it turns out, the Supreme Court has ruled different ways on whether or not the president is immune from lawsuits. We look a three cases from history and hear how they’re being used to argue for and against the current cases filed against Trump.

Jul 13, 2017
4- The Spending Clause
13:51

In an executive order, Trump threatened to withhold federal money from any place acting as a “sanctuary city.” Supreme Court rulings over the 20th century have ruled in different ways on how federal money can be used to influence the behavior of local governments. When it comes to the Spending Clause, how coercive is too coercive?

Jun 29, 2017
3- Pardon Power
13:31

There are reports that the Trump administration is being investigated for obstruction of justice. This has led a lot of people to wonder if the Constitution’s presidential pardon power could be used to absolve members of his administration, or even himself, from criminal charges. And what does the Constitution say about how a pardon has to be presented? Can Trump pardon someone with a tweet?

Jun 22, 2017
2- The Appointments Clause and Removal Power
16:41

The US Constitution has a clause that describes how the president can hire certain political appointees with the advice and consent of the Senate. It doesn’t say when the president can fire someone. We take a look at recent Trump firings and put them in context of Supreme Court cases where the court both upheld and denied the president’s right to fire an executive branch employee. Even if a president has the constitutional power to fire someone, it doesn’t mean there aren’t political and legal consequences of the action.

Jun 15, 2017
1- Judicial Legitimacy
11:49

Back in February 2017, Trump tweeted a criticism of the “so-called judge” who blocked the enforcement of his travel ban. Why does the president have to listen to what the courts say? We’re going to tell the story of a key moment in history when the president (Truman, in this case) and the court strongly disagreed.

Jun 08, 2017
0- Intro to What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law
08:54

Welcome to “What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law"! Every week Roman Mars (99% Invisible) will host a fun, casual Con Law 101 class that uses the tumultuous and erratic activities of the executive branch under Trump to teach us all about the US Constitution.

Jun 08, 2017