Professor Elizabeth Joh helps an anxious Roman Mars make sense of the maelstrom of news by teaching us all Constitutional Law

Ethics and Masks

Ep. 64 | | Download

The January 6th committee investigation uncovered unhinged texts from Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, that implicated her in the riot on the Capitol. The release of the Trump White House records that led to the discovery of the texts was an issue that was decided by the Supreme Court. In an 8-1 decision the Court ordered the records released. The lone dissenter was Clarence Thomas. What are the ethical rules for conflicts of interest and the appearance of impartiality on the Supreme Court?

Plus, a new district court judge throws out the mask mandate.

The Leaked Draft

Ep. 63 | | Download

On May 2, 2022 a draft majority opinion written by Justice Alito was leaked to the press. His draft opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturns Roe v. Wade and puts many other constitutional rights the court has guaranteed under the 14th Amendment under threat.

On the Other End of the Line

Ep. 62 | | Download

Trump's improper dealing with Ukraine was what led to his first impeachment. While most of us were focused on the domestic political implications of Trump's actions, the country of Ukraine was put into jeopardy in a way that many didn't fully realize until the recent Russian invasion. Time to revisit the first Trump impeachment now that we know more about who was on the other end of that phone line and the imminent danger they were in.

Book Banning and the Constitution

Ep. 61 | | Download

A school district in Tennessee voted to ban the graphic novel Maus from their curriculum.  Because of a case called Pico (1982) the school board's stated objection to the material had to be very carefully worded as to not violate the First Amendment. Now a number of bills limiting the teaching of Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project are also making their way through state legislatures. What can the government do about the books in the school library and the classroom and what does the Constitution say about it?

Plus we talk about the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.

The Administrative State

Ep. 60 | | Download

What two rulings about COVID vaccine mandates tell us about the future of the Administrative State under this configuration of the Supreme Court. Plus updates on Texas abortion rights, Executive Privilege in the Jan 6 investigations, and Breyer!

About

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 and legislative 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.

About The Hosts

Elizabeth Joh

Elizabeth Joh is a law professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Law, where she teaches constitutional law and criminal procedure (that’s constitutional law, too). She’s written widely on law and emerging technologies, and has provided commentary for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Slate.

Roman Mars

Roman Mars is the host and creator of 99% Invisible, a long running podcast about design, architecture, and other sundry topics. The show won the Webby Award for Best Podcast in 2016 and Mars won the Webby Award for Best Host in 2017. Fast Company named him one of the 100 Most Creative People in 2013. He was a TED main stage speaker in 2015. It is currently the most popular TED Talk about design with over 6.5 million views. 99% Invisible was part of the first cohort of podcasts to be archived in the Library of Congress.

© What Roman Mars Can Learn About Con Law