Background Briefing: June 27, 2021


The DOJ’s Move to Protect Voting Rights Could Be Undone Next Week By the Supreme Court

We begin with Friday’s announcement, exactly 8 years after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, that the DOJ was suing Georgia for violating the Voting Rights Act and that they would be looking into voter suppression of minorities in other state as well as investigating threats against poll workers across the country. Joining us to assess what can be done to protect the votes of all Americans in forthcoming elections now that the For the People Act is stalled in the senate due to a red wall of Republican resistance is Harry Litman, a former United States Attorney and deputy assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department who is now a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego and the Executive Producer and host of the Talking Feds podcast. We discuss how the Supreme Court could rule next week on Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to weaken it further although the DOJ could ask the courts to invoke a rarely used part of the Act which would place Georgia under federal supervision.


A New Ecocide Law To Hold Governments and Corporations Responsible for Environmental Crimes

Then we look into a draft law intended to prosecute offenses against the environment with international legal experts having drawn up an historic definition of ecocide which could be taken up by the International Criminal Court to prosecute politicians and corporations for “unlawful and wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and and either widespread or long term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.” Kate Mackintosh, the Executive Director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights at the UCLA School of Law and Deputy Chair of the Stop Ecocide Foundation and a member of the independent panel of experts for the legal definition of ecocide, joins us. 


Corporate America’s Failure to Invest in the Future Is Even Worse Than the Government’s

Then finally, with many analysts concerned that the Biden bipartisan deal with Republican senators on infrastructure is too focused on repairing the deferred needs of the past in fixing roads and bridges etc. as opposed to investing in the critically-needed infrastructure of the future vital to reducing global warming if indeed we are to have a future as we know it on this planet. Joining us to discuss his work on how the business community and corporate America is failing us even more than our government in not investing in the future is William Lazonick, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts and president of the Academic-Industry Research Network who has written several papers for the Institute for New Economic Thinking and is co-author of Predatory Value Extraction: How the Looting of the Business Corporation Became the U.S. Norm and How Sustainable Prosperity Can Be Restored.