President Harry Truman once said, “I thought I was the president, but when it comes to these bureaucrats, I can’t do a damn thing!” In Justice Antonin Scalia’s most famous dissent, Morrison v. Olson, he argued that the President must have the power to remove executive branch officials, and Congress cannot limit that power. But for nearly a century, the Supreme Court has allowed Congress to do just that. This term, the Supreme Court will once again consider limits on the President’s removal power in Collins v. Mnuchin. Does the President have constitutional authority to tell executive officials, “You’re fired?” Tune in to find out!

 

What happens when a Supreme Court justice votes to dissent from a ruling but doesn’t actually write a dissenting opinion?

Chief Justice Salmon Chase was too sick to write a dissent in Bradwell v. Illinois, where the majority said the 14th Amendment did not protect a woman’s right to practice law as an attorney. Could a written dissent by Chase have changed the entire trajectory of history? What would he have said about the Constitution’s protection for women? Did his relationship with his daughter, Kate, influence his views? And would Salmon, Kate, and Myra Bradwell be household names today instead of being forgotten by history? Tune in to find out.

Welcome to Dissed, a new podcast from Pacific Legal Foundation. Dissents have it all: brilliant writing, surprising reasoning, shade, puns, and sometimes historic impact. Although they are necessarily written by the “losing” side, they’re still important: they can provide a roadmap for future challenges or persuade other justices. Sometimes they’re just cathartic. In Dissed, attorneys Anastasia Boden and Elizabeth Slattery dig deep into important dissents, both past and present, and reveal the stories behind them.

The Supreme Court will hear its 7th challenge involving Obamacare this term. We sat down to talk about the first Obamacare case, NFIB v. Sebelius, with Randy Barnett, Todd Gaziano, and Josh Blackman and to look for clues about whether the joint dissent actually began as the majority opinion. And will this newest challenge be the one that brings down the whole law? Tune in to find out!

The ladies unpack a ruling from 30 years ago involving religious liberty, a shocking majority opinion, a surprising dissent, and peyote. The decision has been called a travesty, a tragedy, and a sweeping disaster. Will the justices overrule that case—Employment Division v. Smith—this term? And more importantly, will that help or hinder Americans’ freedoms? Tune in to find out.

 

Dissents have it all: brilliant writing, surprising reasoning, shade, puns, and sometimes historic impact. Although they are necessarily written by the “losing” side, they’re still important: they can provide a roadmap for future challenges or persuade other judges. Sometimes they’re just cathartic.