How realistic is the SpaceX dream to get to Mars? What does the latest scientific literature have to say about supernovae? Is there intelligent life in the universe? Today, Sarah and David are joined by Atlantic staff writer Marina Koren for a deep dive into all things space. Hear everything there is to know about the space race between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, colliding black holes, and other crazy interstellar phenomena.

But today’s episode would be incomplete without its requisite dose of legal nerdery. Tune in to hear David and Sarah break down the legality of Trump’s latest executive actions and offer some insights on the D.C. circuit’s decision regarding the House Judiciary Committee and former White House counsel Don McGahn.

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People who watch and comment on politics do so very differently than campaign operatives do. Campaigns use voter scores and voter modeling—which is essentially “Moneyball” for politics—to gauge which voters are worth spending money on. As Sarah explains: “It’s a quadrant: on the y axis you have who you’re going to vote for, and on the x axis, you have your likelihood to vote. So you may be the most Trump-y Trump person ever.” But here’s the kicker: “If I go and look back and you haven’t voted since Jimmy Carter, your propensity to vote is so low, that how much money we’re going to spend on reaching you as a voter is going to actually be pretty low.” Be sure to listen to this episode so our podcast hosts can get more into the weeds about how those voter scores are being used behind the scenes in future episodes.

The country is still mourning the death of Breonna Taylor, an African American woman who was shot and killed by police officers in her Kentucky home during a no-knock raid in March. For years, no-knock warrants have withstood the test of time, given their alleged capacity to protect police and preserve evidence. But as David says, “there’s evidence that no-knock warrants are constitutionally deficient,” and “as a practical matter, castle doctrine and no-knock warrants are incompatible.” Sarah, on the other hand, doesn’t believe the castle doctrine should apply to police. Are no knock raids worth preserving? Why are they so broadly granted to police officers? Sarah and David have answers. Catch up on the latest episode for an update on the Michael Flynn case, subpoenas for Trump’s financial records, and the Hatch Act.

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Rewind millions of years and a dinosaur-killing asteroid is racing toward Earth at breakneck speed. But what exactly happened in the immediate aftermath of this event? Which species survived and which ones were met with instantaneous extinction? In a much-needed break from today’s partisan political climate, David and Sarah are joined by Steve Brusatte, a professor of paleontology and evolution at the University of Edinburgh, for some in-the-field expertise on the dinosaur age. “When the dinosaurs died,” Steve Brusatte explains on today’s podcast, “they died literally because a six-mile wide rock fell out of the sky, traveling faster than a speeding bullet.”

Fast forward to 2020, and paleontology is in high demand. “We’re in this golden age right now,” Brusatte tells David and Sarah. “There’s fifty-something new species of dinosaurs being found every single year.” But realistically speaking, most people have a limited knowledge base about dinosaurs. Was the Tyrannosaurus rex an intelligent dinosaur? Are pterodactyls birds? What are the personality traits that make a good paleontologist? Steve Brusatte has answers. Tune in for some fun facts about pinocchio dinosaurs, banana-sized T-rex teeth, and birds (which are dinosaurs, by the way). For all you Jurassic Park fans out there, you won’t want to miss this one (especially since Brusatte is now a science consultant for the series.)

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The D.C. Circuit has decided to hear the Michael Flynn debacle en banc. For the meantime, as Sarah reminds us on today’s episode, “Michael Flynn seems to be getting some extra justice that a lot of criminal defendants would be really happy to get.” If it goes back to the district court, would Trump pardon him? Our podcasters weigh in.

On Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted that we should consider delaying the election over mail in ballot concerns, which of course he can’t do without congressional approval. Based on data collected from states that regularly use mail-in voting in elections, election fraud isn’t a real concern. But it’s also worth noting that these states were able to plan for their elections years in advance, whereas the pandemic is forcing states into preparing for mail-in voting on a mass scale on very short notice. Are states ready for the legal discrepancies and inevitable ballot invalidations that will ensue? Beyond some election punditry, our podcast hosts also touch on the Supreme Court conference leaks to CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic, the latest updates with DACA, and some hot takes on the importance of the bar exam.

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Our esteemed podcast host Sarah Isgur launched her new Dispatch newsletter called “The Sweep” today, in which she broke down the effectiveness of the new presidential campaigns ads. Conclusion? Biden’s new ads are strategically boring to offset his opponent’s predictable unpredictability, whereas Trump’s play up the anarchy of the radical left. As Sarah reminds us, persuasion ads don’t work. This leaves candidates with two options: 1) Run up their existing base in enthusiasm and support, or 2) Get their opponent’s base not to vote.

Justice Roberts trended on Twitter Friday night after joining the four liberal justices in denying a Nevada church’s application for injunctive relief over coronavirus restrictions. Religious liberty lovers sounded the alarm for First Amendment violations. But our podcast hosts are less concerned about this case’s long-term effect on religious liberty case law, given the state’s interest in restricting mass gatherings will soon be subverted to transcendent religious liberty concerns once the pandemic subsides. As David says, “The real enemy is not Justice Roberts, the real enemy is the coronavirus.”

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A federal judge ordered the release of Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen from prison on Thursday. On July 9, Cohen and his lawyer went into the U.S. Probation Office in Manhattan to transition from furlough to home confinement. But instead Cohen was arrested by three U.S. Marshals and brought back to prison. Why did this happen? David and Sarah explain.

Check out today’s episode to hear our podcasters discuss the presence of federal police in Portland, the defamation lawsuit against MSNBC host Joy Reid, and Trump’s latest executive order excluding illegal aliens from the 2020 census for apportionment purposes. David and Sarah wrap up the episode with a fiery debate over their favorite legal tv shows.

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The 2019-2020 Supreme Court term was quite the spectacle: the court canceled its March and April argument sessions, held oral arguments by telephone for the first time in May, and stretched its opinion announcements into July for the first time in many years. The term was packed with several blockbuster cases and ended with an announcement from Justice Ginsburg about a pancreatic cancer recurrence. And in the haze of it all, many Americans are still puzzled by some of the rulings. Our podcast hosts are here to help.

Has the conservative legal movement failed? Will disputes over mail-in ballot counting turn November into a Bush vs. Gore 2.0? And the million-dollar question: What’s up with Chief Justice John Roberts? On today’s episode, David and Sarah are joined by SCOTUSblog’s Amy Howe to field some questions about recent cases and tie a bow on what became a rather unprecedented year for the justices. Tune in for an exclusive look into the origins of SCOTUS Blog and some punditry on the cases that are on the docket for next term.

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After a momentous term at the Supreme Court, what are we to make of it all? Josh Blackman, associate professor of law at the South Texas College of Law Houston, joins David and Sarah to help us all understand: Roberts’ role at the center of the Court, Gorsuch and textualism, and Kagan’s growing influence. David, Sarah, and Josh cover it all.

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With Joe Biden’s popularity rising in battleground states (according to several recent polls), Democratic lobbyists and party officials are urging the presidential candidate to try and win over purple and even conservative-leaning states like Georgia and Texas. But most of his advisors are urging a more conservative path, encouraging him to focus on states he knows he can win. David and Sarah discuss these opposing strategies and offer their insights on what a winning 2020 presidential campaign should keep in mind.

In today’s episode, they also discuss the president’s pardoning power, theological and constitutional arguments related to the death penalty, and Trump’s tweet about re-examining the tax-exempt status of academic institutions that “are about Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education.” They wrap the podcast by responding to a listener’s question about what to include in an intro philosophy course.

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The Supreme Court wrapped up its term today with an opinion on what counts as American Indian tribal lands and two related cases about the president’s financial records.

In Gorsuch’s majority opinion in McGirt v. Oklahoma, the court found that Congress’ 19th century promise to give large swaths of Eastern Oklahoma to the Muscogee (Creek) tribe still stands. This means roughly half of Oklahoma—and most of Tulsa—is now an Indian reservation, and that tribal members are not subject to Oklahoma criminal law when they are on tribal lands.

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The Supreme Court has released two more religious liberty rulings into the world. Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey Berru ended up being a blow to employment discrimination laws in favor of First Amendment religious liberty concerns. In Little Sisters of the Poor, the Court upheld a regulation allowing employers with religious objections to ignore the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate.

David and Sarah take a closer look at both cases, and on the battle between religious liberty and gay rights, David shares his theory on the emerging pattern from the Supreme Court.

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As we near the end of another Supreme Court term, speculation abounds over a Court retirement. Would the resulting nomination battle be more or less contentious than the appointment of Justice Kavanaugh? David and Sarah answer this thought experiment while also touching on the implications this scenario would have on the 2020 election. They also break down rulings on robocalls and faithless electors.

When and how can you constitutionally defend yourself? The question comes after a gun-toting St. Louis couple made a show of force against Black Lives Matter protesters. On a more lighthearted note, David concludes the podcast by interviewing Sarah on her career path and what landed her at The Dispatch.

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The Supreme Court denies cert to an abortion case, grants cert to a case over Mueller’s secret evidence, and the Biden and Trump campaigns are lawyering up for 2020’s final act. David and Sarah have thoughts.

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Espinoza is finally here, and David and Sarah are here for a proper deep dive into the Supreme Court’s decision. Plus their reflections on the legal and political implications of the court’s June Medical ruling.

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David and Sarah discuss another big day at the Supreme Court, from the court’s decision to strike down a Louisiana abortion law to its ruling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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David and Sarah discuss Joe Biden’s polling lead in six swing states, the latest development in the Michael Flynn case, the Supreme Court ruling on asylum seekers, and free speech online.

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David and Sarah discuss the president’s rally in Tulsa, the firing of the U.S. attorney in New York, the lawsuit over John Bolton’s book, and they process last week’s Supreme Court decisions.

 

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David and Sarah discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling that blocks the Trump administration from ending DACA for now, return to their discussion over the Title VII ruling, and finish with the legal fight over John Bolton’s book.

 

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The Supreme Court declined to take up new cases dealing with gun rights and qualified immunity. The court ruled that federal anti-discrimination laws protect gay and transgender employees. Lines are drawn on originalism vs. textualism. David and Sarah have thoughts.

 

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It’s Brisket Eve and David and Sarah are celebrating by diving into the latest polls on the protests around the country, the legal weeds of Confederate monuments, and answer the question, why does the rule against perpetuities get the people going? But the festivities don’t end there, there’s the Michael Flynn amicus curiae, Tom Cotton, and Gone with the Wind.

 

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