Brennan Center Live









October 2018
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What if most of what we think we know about reading the text of the First Amendment is just wrong? For years, the Supreme Court has treated the First Amendment like a laundry list of isolated words, stopping every once in a while to pull a couple of words out of the full text and claiming to be able to use the artificially isolated words as an infallible guide to what the First Amendment really means. In Madison's Music, Burt Neuborne argues that the Supreme Court has gotten the actual text wrong. If judges would only look at the First Amendment’s full text—all forty-five words—they would discover Madison’s music, a First Amendment that is democracy’s best friend.

Direct download: Burt_Neuborne__Book_Talk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:48pm EDT

America’s democracy is floundering, Congress is hopelessly gridlocked, and millions remain without gainful employment. Despite all this, longtime political strategist and polling expert Douglas E. Schoen remains optimistic. 

Democracy’s Problems And Prospects represents the best of Dr. Schoen’s distinguished career, which he has dedicated to ensuring that democratic societies reflect the consent and the will of their electorates, and that America defends its interests as well as its values.

Direct download: Douglas20E20Schoen20Book20Talk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:46pm EDT

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court is no longer serving its constitutional function of providing a check on the executive branch’s ability to obtain Americans’ private communications. Dramatic shifts in technology and law have changed the role of the FISA Court since its creation in 1978 — from reviewing government applications to collect communications in specific cases, to issuing blanket approvals of sweeping data collection programs affecting millions of Americans. The report's authors explore the issues with the FISA court and reforms to fix it.

Direct download: FISA_Court_Report_Talk.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:42pm EDT

Darryl Pinckney’s new book, Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy, is a meditation on the intersection between civil rights and the history of black participation in U.S. electoral politics. Fifty years after the first passage of the Voting Rights Act, Pinckney investigates the struggle for black voting rights from Reconstruction through the civil rights movement to Barack Obama’s two presidential campaigns. Mr. Pinckney is joined by Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Brennan's Washington D.C. office director, Nicole Austin-Hillery.

Direct download: The20Black20Vote20and20US20Democracy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:38pm EDT

What Caused the Crime Decline? This podcast examines the Brennan Center's new report that explores one of the nation’s least understood recent phenomena – the dramatic decline in crime nationwide over the past two decades – and analyzes various theories for why it occurred, by reviewing more than 40 years of data from all 50 states and the 50 largest cities. It concludes that over-harsh criminal justice policies, particularly increased incarceration, which rose even more dramatically over the same period, were not the main drivers of the crime decline. In fact, the report finds that increased incarceration has been declining in its effectiveness as a crime control tactic for more than 30 years. Its effect on crime rates since 1990 has been limited, and has been non-existent since 2000.

Direct download: Crime_Rate_Podcast_FINAL.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:20pm EDT

In the last decade, national security issues have increasingly faded from the political agenda, due in part to the growth of government secrecy. In his new book, Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America's Stealth Warfare, journalist and lawyer Scott Horton explains how secrecy has fundamentally changed the way America functions. Never before have the American people had so little information concerning the wars waged in their name, nor has Congress exercised so little oversight over the war effort. Horton reminds us that publicly addressing the country’s national security concerns is the right and responsibility of a free citizenry, and ultimately, the heart of any democracy.

Direct download: Scott_Horton_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:29pm EDT

Kenneth P. Vogel and Walter Shapiro on 'Big Money' Book

In our first podcast, Walter Shapiro speaks with Politico’s Kenneth P. Vogel about money in politics and Vogel’s new book Big Money: 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimp—on the Trail of the Ultra-Rich Hijacking American Politics.

Theme music courtesy of Boy Girl Party.

Direct download: 01_Kenneth_P._Vogel_and_Walter_Shapiro_on_Big_Money_Book.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 4:53pm EDT