Episode 215 | You Say Habeas I Say Mandamus

We focus in on two Latin words this week: habeas and mandamus. Both usually mean “you lose.” But things somehow turned out differently in the Fourth Circuit and Fifth Circuit. Hear the story of a man trapped in prison for a small drug sale for almost a decade who fights his way through the state and federal courts and wins himself a new trial. IJ’s Bob Belden tells that tale. And then there’s a story about guns, the Internet, speech, the differences between Texas and New Jersey, and transfer orders. Alexa Gervasi gets us up to speed on that saga. She also previews a new IJ case about a prosecutor working for a judge he practiced before. It’s as bad as it sounds.

Click here for transcript.

Recent Episodes

June 10, 2022

Short Circuit 223 | Clerks and Harassment

We discuss a couple legal immunities, one listeners will be familiar with and one that’s pretty unknown. The second is being addressed by our special guest, Aliza Shatzman. She is the co-founder of The Legal Accountability Project, a new nonprofit whose mission is to ensure that as many law clerks as possible have positive clerkship experiences while extending support and resources to those who do not. Aliza had a harrowing experience as a law clerk and found that the laws that apply to other government employees often don’t extend to those in the judicial branch. She also presents a recent case from the Fourth Circuit about a judicial branch employee who brought a number of claims to try and get around sovereign immunity—and actually succeeded on a few of them. Then Kirby Thomas West of IJ discusses a Fifth Circuit case with terrible facts, but a good outcome on the qualified immunity front.

Read More

June 06, 2022

Short Circuit 222 | Live at IJ’s Law Student Conference

Recording in front of a live audience at the 2022 Institute for Justice’s Law Student Conference, we look at some of the best, and some of the worst, from the Fourth Circuit. First, Justin Pearson explains why a restriction on “political” advertising on the side of buses was unconstitutional even though it recognized the side of a bus is not a “public forum.” Then, Michael Bindas gives us his best sommelier (or is it wino?) impersonation and discusses a tipsy opinion allowing North Carolina to prevent out-of-state retailers from shipping wine to the state’s consumers. It’s pretty much not what the Supreme Court has said about the dormant Commerce Clause and alcohol.

Read More