Special Episode: Espinoza v. Montana (1/16/20)
On January 22, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in an IJ case, Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue. At issue is a Montana school choice program that allowed families to send their children to private schools, including religious ones. The Montana Supreme Court said the program violated the state’s Blaine Amendment, a relic of 19th-century anti-Catholic hysteria that lives on today in 37 states constitutions, and struck the program down in 2018. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, will consider whether discriminating against religious options violates the First Amendment. On this podcast, we take a look at the history of Blaine Amendments, school choice, and one-size-fits-all schooling.
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
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