Background Briefing: March 24, 2022


American Law and Government Are Under Attack by the Radical Right in Concert With Our Right Wing Supreme Court

We begin with disturbing signals sent in the disgraceful questioning of Judge Jackson which indicate a radical agenda the right wing Republican senators want to pursue in conjunction with a right wing Supreme Court with Senator Marsha Blackburn bringing up the 9th Amendment and others bringing up the Commerce clause. Joining us to explain what is at stake to the future of American law and the functioning of the U.S. government as the Supreme Court moves to employ the 9th Amendment and undermine the Commerce clause is Kimberly Wehle, an author, lawyer, media commentator, and Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She is also a former Assistant United States Attorney, Associate Independent Counsel in the Whitewater Investigation, and author of How to Read the Constitution and Why, What You Need to Know About Voting and Why, and her latest, How to Think Like a Lawyer and Why. Her forthcoming book is The Outsourced Constitution: How Government Power in Private Hands Erodes American Democracy and we discuss her article at The Hill, “Judge Jackson’s confirmation hearings offer vital civics lessons” as well as why did the new Manhattan DA kill the case against Trump and why is Justice Clarence Thomas hospitalized?


Assessing U.S. Evidence of Russian War Crimes in Ukraine

Then, with Secretary of State Blinken announcing that the U.S. has evidence members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine we speak with Kate Mackintosh, the Executive Director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA’s School of Law. She was an administrator responsible as Deputy Registrar for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and was a legal advisor to Doctors Without Borders, and was part of post conflict human rights field operations in Bosnia as well as Rwanda. And she is Deputy Chair of the independent expert panel for the legal definition of ecocide.


In Stressing Steps He Will Not Take in Ukraine, Has Biden Emboldened Putin?

Then finally we assess what came out of the extraordinary NATO summit today in Brussels which President Zelensky addressed asking NATO for just 1% of its planes and tanks. Joining us is R. Daniel Kelemen, a Professor of Political Science and Law at Rutgers University and the Chair of the Department of Political Science. He is author of Eurolegalism: The Transformation of Law and Regulation in the European Union and The Rules of Federalism: Institutions and Regulatory Politics in the EU and Beyond and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of European Public Policy and West European Politics and is a former member of the Executive Committee of the European Union Studies Association. We discuss frustration expressed by some countries that the Biden administration has stressed steps it will not take to defend Ukraine which have emboldened Putin.