Day: January 21, 2019

Background Briefing: January 21, 2019


An Assessment of the Latest Democrat Running for President, Senator Kamala Harris

We begin with the entrance today into the Democratic race for the 2020 presidency by Senator Kamala Harris, the junior senator from California and speak with Lara Bazelon, a professor of law at the University of San Francisco School of Law and the author of “Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice After Wrongful Conviction”. She joins us to discuss her article at The New York Times “Kamala Harris Was Not a ‘Progressive Prosecutor’” and examine the record of Kamala Harris as a district attorney in San Francisco and as Attorney General of California. We look into some of the cases she oversaw which indicate she took a very hard line as a prosecutor and explore whether that will help her with potential conservative voters or alienate potential liberal voters, and also note some of the positive moves she made in diverting first time offenders into vocational training programs, mandating bias training and correcting a backlog in the testing of rape kits. Then, although she has only been in the Senate for two years, we will assess whether Kamala Harris’s feisty style of aggressive questioning of Sessions and Kavanaugh will serve her well with the Democratic base who are looking for a fighter to take on Donald Trump.


Will the New Conservative Majority on the Supreme Court Undo MLK’s Legacy

Then on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we speak with Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and investigate whether the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court will undo the legacy of MLK by doing what the Roberts Court did to the Voting Rights Act which is to declare the need for racial justice as outdated “racial entitlements”. We  explore whether the new Kavanaugh Court will use this same tactic to weaken the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.


Trump’s On-Going Record of Blocking Congressional Efforts to Sanction Putin

Then finally we examine the mounting evidence that President Trump’s perverse foreign policy of cozying up to despots while trashing allies is so brazen in its blindness to Russian malign activity that the Congress will have to find a way to stop Trump from pulling out of NATO. Alex Whiting, a Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School who is the Editor of Just Security, joins us to discuss Trump’s on-going record of consistently blocking congressional efforts to sanction Putin.