Day: April 9, 2023

Background Briefing: April 9, 2023


A Far-Right Anti-Abortion Zealot Bans a Drug the FDA Approved 23 Years Ago Which is Safer Than Viagra or Tylenol

We begin with the expected but radical act of judicial activism from a Federal Judge in Amarillo, Texas who is far-right anti-abortion zealot chosen by a front group of anti-abortion zealots who expected him to rule against science in a nakedly political way to ban a medical abortion drug on the specious grounds that it had not been adequately tested even though Mifepristone has been on the market for 23 years and is safer than Viagra or Tylenol. Joining us is Caroline Fredrickson, a distinguished professor of practice at Georgetown University, a senior fellow at the Brennan Center and the president emerita of the American Constitution Society. She is the author of The Democracy Fix: How to Win the Fight for Fair Rules, Fair Courts, and Fair Elections, and The AOC Way: The Secrets of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Success. Caroline previously served as the director of the ACLU’s Washington legislative office and as general counsel and legal director of NARAL Pro-Choice America, and, during the Clinton administration, she served as special assistant to the president for legislative affairs and we will discuss her article at Just Security, “It’s Time for the Supreme Court to Take Ethics Seriously.”


The Shadow Network Behind the Capture of Our Judiciary

Then we examine the shadow network of plutocrats and dark money behind the capture of our judiciary by the far right with a Supreme Court now bent on undoing government oversight in the service of laissez-faire capitalism while inflicting the moral authoritarianism of extreme religious conservatives on the diverse majority of Americans. Joining us is Anne Nelson, an author and lecturer in the fields of international affairs, media and human rights. As a journalist she covered the conflicts in El Salvador and Guatemala, and won the Livingston Award for best international reporting from the Philippines. She served as the director of the Committee to Protect Journalists and was the director of the international program at the Columbia School of Journalism where she created the first curriculum in human rights reporting. Her books include Red Orchestra: The Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler and Suzanne’s Children: A Daring Rescue in Nazi Paris. Her latest book is Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, now out in an updated paperback version.

Statements by Kelly Shackelford of the Council for National Policy


The Author of The Undertow: Scenes From a Slow Civil War

Then finally, following the display of fascism in the anti-democratic railroading of Democratic lawmakers by the Republican super-majority in the Tennessee state house, we will speak with Jeff Sharlet, the New York Times best-selling author or editor of eight books, including The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, adapted into a Netflix documentary series, and This Brilliant Darkness. His reporting on LGBTQ rights around the world has received the National Magazine Award, the Molly Ivins Prize, and Outright International’s Outspoken Award and he is a Professor in the Art of Writing at Dartmouth College. We discuss his latest book, a New York Times bestseller, The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War.