Background Briefing: October 12, 2020

Charles Koch is Funding Amy Coney Barrett to Overturn Restrictions on Carbon Pollution Dooming the Planet

We begin with today’s opening round of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in which Republicans expressed outrage that anyone would question the nominee’s deep Catholic faith and membership in People of Praise, a cult-like charismatic Catholic male-dominated group she had a leadership position in. However today Senate Democrats instead focused on Amy Coney Barrett striking down the Affordable Care Act and the consequences that would have for millions of Americans. Joining us is Christopher Leonard, a business reporter and author of Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America who has an article in today’s New York Times “Charles Koch’s Big Bet on Barrett. For almost 50 years, the multibillionaire has been pushing for a court unfriendly to regulation of the market. He may be on the brink of victory.” We discuss how in tandem with the Federalist Society, Koch and one of his many fronts, Americans For Prosperity, have been pouring money into getting corporatists on the court like Gorsuch and Kavanaugh so that the Chevron decision could be overturned which would end restrictions on carbon pollution and doom the planet to unchecked global warming.


Why This Nice Lady Amy Coney Barrett is So Dangerous

Then we examine Amy Coney Barrett’s world of Charismatic Catholicism with Thomas Csordas, the President of the Society for Anthropology and Religion and the leading expert who has done ethnographic fieldwork among Charismatic Catholics. A Distinguished Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Presidential Chair in Global Health and Director of the Global Health Institute at the University of California, San Diego, he joins us to discuss why this nice lady Amy Coney Barrett is so dangerous.


The Long Effort to Get Rid of the Electoral College

Then finally Alexander Keyssar, a Professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School joins us to discuss his new book just out, Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College which tells the history of the many efforts since the nation’s founding to get rid of this anti-democratic relic. With the Electoral College Trump’s only path to reelection, we discuss how “faithless electors” in 17 states could decide on their own who the next president is, not the votes of the American people.