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Left, Right & Center Examines The Role of the Supreme Court

“The podcast consists of three different angles from three different guests.”

Ryan Hedrick




Ruth Bader Ginsburg left her mark as a liberal icon fighting for equal rights while serving 27 years on the United State Supreme Court. Her recent death left a vacancy that gave President Donald Trump the opportunity to nominate a Conservative justice, pushing the court which had a 5-4 conservative majority, further to the right.

KCRW’s Left, Right & Center Podcast hosted by Josh Barro, examines whether the Supreme Court’s power should be limited, what would happen if the court was less powerful, and what role, if any, the court could play in the upcoming elections. The panel also discussed the Breonna Taylor case in Louisville, Kentucky. 

The show aired before President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The podcast consists of three different angles from three different guests. Jamelle Bouie, New York Times; Josh Barro,  New York Magazine; Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review; Emily Bazelon, New York Times Magazine.

What Does Ginsburg’s Legacy Mean For Law In America?

Emily Bazelon – “Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s primary lasting effect is her fight for equality. She was a fierce litigator in the 1970’s for fighting gender discrimination. A lot of the law that we take for granted that says we have to treat people equal, was the law that Ginsburg brought.”

Jamelle Bouie – “Over the last 10 years there have been these major cases where Ginsburg has been in the minority thus articulated the mainstream liberal position in a very forceful way. I think that has helped solidify her icon status in the eyes of many liberals.”

Michael Brendan Dougherty – “There’s a couple of points to her legacy. Her icon status that has been referred to, has only become achieved in the last half-decade. A book came out called the Notorious RBG that transposed this internet fan culture onto a feminist icon. A lot of the celebration was about her litigation before she went to court and a little less about her opinion writing.”

Should Supreme Court Justices Be Term Limited?

Emily Bazelon – “Thereal problem we have with Supreme Court appointments in the United States is life tenure. Almost no other country in the world does it this way. It means that we have these people in tremendously powerful positions for decades and decades.”

Jamelle Bouie – “The country seems like it’s tearing itself apart and we should be looking for ways to lower the temperature of political disputes as much as possible and looking for ways to accommodate political minorities that fear domination by a political majority.”

Michael Brendan Dougherty – “I find myself agreeing with Emily about an 18-year term limit. That is something that has been advocated from both left and right. Maybe there is an opportunity here. I do worry progressives controlling so many other commanding heights in our culture and politics will react to a Supreme Court that seems to be enabling more conservative legislation, maybe more room for running for Republicans in the coming decades.”  

Will The Supreme Court Play A Role In The Upcoming Elections?

Emily Bazelon – “If the courts get involved it could still be a fair outcome, but it will not be good if that is where we are going because this has become such a fraught issue. Frankly, President Trump is turning up the temperature so much that it is dangerous.” 

Jamelle Bouie – “I’m reminding myself that the Supreme Court playing a role in the election is an unlikely scenario. The overall Presidential race has been remarkably stable and even the race in Pennsylvania has been stable with Biden maintaining a modest but durable lead. This might be one of the things that solves itself because everybody is being so vigilant about what’s happening that they are adjusting their behavior to make sure there are no questions.”

Michael Brendan Dougherty – “It’s hard to be predictivebecause we don’t know what the challenges are going to be. In 2000 in Florida, the Bush v Gore {case} ended up being about scope of recounts, whether certain counties should be recounted, or a whole state recounted. There were legal challenges back and forth about broken ballots and how to reconstruct them. We could see some of that or all that this year. I really pray that the Supreme Court does not play a role in the election at all.”

Breonna Taylor Case

The panel also looked at the Louisville Police officers involved in the fatal raid that killed Breonna Taylor. They examined whether there was a viable avenue to prosecute, and whether reforms in Louisville will prevent similar botched raids in the future.

Emily Bazelon – “I do think it’s hard to win these cases. But with facts presented, I do think the Kentucky Attorney General could have won this case.” 

Jamelle Bouie – “I don’t know if I have hope that bans on no-knock warrants will make a measurable difference. There appears to be a basic issue of accountability with police departments around the country.”

Michael Brendan Dougherty – “I think there are police reforms that we should be seeking out. I think a lot of reform should involve more funding of the police, giving police departments more funding to hire higher character individuals, give them more training in conflict de-escalation and better resources.

Left, Right & Center is consistently ranked among the top politics and news podcasts.

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Sports Talkers Podcast: Danny Parkins, 670 The Score

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Danny Parkins opens up to Stephen Strom about why he is so passionate about defending Chicago. He also gives his best career advice and explains why a best friend is more important sometimes than an agent.

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PODCAST REVIEW: Millennial Money with Shannah Compton Game

Game spotlights rental evictions and how those evictions are impacting the economy. To discuss this issue Game talks to Shabana Baksh, Real Estate Attorney at K&L Gates LLP, and Tendayi Kapfidze, Chief Economist at LendingTree.

Ryan Hedrick




No one could have predicted what the COVID-19 pandemic was going to do to the economy. Some of the unintended consequences from the spread of last year’s virus include millions of people getting behind in either rent or mortgage payments. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 10 million people were behind in their rent payments at the beginning of the month.

Recently, President Joe Biden extended the federal eviction moratorium through the end of the month. The Millennial Money podcast withShannah Compton Game spotlights rental evictions and how those evictions are impacting the economy. To discuss this issue Game talks to Shabana Baksh, Real Estate Attorney at K&L Gates LLP, and Tendayi Kapfidze, Chief Economist at LendingTree.

“This temporary moratorium extends some of these vital protections to millions of renters that are at risk of eviction,” said Baksh. “They are also state and local moratoriums that remain in effect who may not qualify for assistance under the federal guidelines.”

Landlords across the country have been put in a tough situation with continuing moratoriums at the federal, state, and local levels. The typical delinquent renter owes nearly $6,000, according to a report published from Moody’s Analytics. The $900 billion relief package passed in December provided $25 billion for both landlords and renters.

“What we have seen happening since the economic crisis related to the coronavirus is that a lot of people who have been affected in terms of the industries that have been adversely affected such as travel, tourism, restaurants, and places where people have to engage directly, a lot of those people happen to be renters,” Kapfidze said,  “So obviously if you are not getting paid and not getting income it is a challenge to pay for your rent.”

To qualify for the funds, which are being disbursed by states and can be used for past and present rent, a renter must show that they suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic, have incomes below 80 percent of their median income and are at risk of becoming homeless.

“Right now, renters and owners find themselves in a significant cash crunch,” said Baksh. “We are entering into the second year of this pandemic and many renters are just accruing late fees and debt and so we are seeing a large buildup of these late payments. With that said, there are policies in place to protect renters and homeowners from being evicted and provide them with rental relief.”

Landlords still must pay mortgages on these properties that are not collecting rent. Lenders started the foreclosure process on 5,999 U.S. properties in February 2021, up 15 percent from last month but down 78 percent from a year ago. The highest foreclosure rates in Utah, Delaware, and Florida.

Lenders repossessed 1,545 U.S. properties through completed foreclosures in February 2021, up 8 percent from last month but still down 85 from last year. 

“Renters should alert their landlords of their inability to pay their rent,” said Baksh. “Have an honest and open conversation with them about your situation. Try to seek a solution, landlords may be willing to negotiate during this tough time and agree to payment arrangements.”

 The one thing that renters should know about eviction moratoriums is that they do not dissolve you of the responsibility of paying your landlord.

“The devil is in the details,” said Kapfidze. “Eviction moratorium, it means that if you are the renters you are accumulating debt, you are still under contract if you are renting, and you still have an obligation to pay your bill. “In terms of the rental relief funds there are different structures of plans, but the money is not always easy to access.”

To learn more about the Millennial Money podcast with Shannah Compton Game click here

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PODCAST REVIEW: Consider This from NPR

Consider This podcast from NPR hosted by Mary Louis Kelly, hosted a conversation with several people from the Asian American community and organizations about steps that are being taken to protect people from becoming victims of senseless violence.

Ryan Hedrick




There is a movement to raise awareness about the threat of violence against Asian Americans living in the United States. Last week, a 21-year-old white man murdered six women of Asian descent and two other people at Atlanta area massage businesses. Robert Aaron Long told police that his killing spree was not motivate by race by rather by his sex addiction.

The incident has motivated discussions and rallies over the past several days. Consider This podcast from NPR hosted by Mary Louise Kelly, hosted a conversation with several people from the Asian American community and organizations about steps that are being taken to protect people from becoming victims of senseless violence.

The podcast documents several incidents that did not make national news headlines. In San Francisco, 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee was out for a morning walk when out of nowhere, a man shoved him violently to the ground. He died two days later. It was not the only attack like that in the region.

A local resident who is sick and tired of seeing violence carried out against his community is getting involved.  JoJo Au launched a fundraiser to hire armed private security guards to patrol her own neighborhood, Oakland’s Chinatown. She has raised almost a hundred thousand dollars.

“Honestly, I didn’t know that it was going to spread like wildfire,” said JoJo Au. “And so many people were so concerned about it and wanted to do something, but they didn’t know what. You know, the merchants, they even say they feel safer. Some of the shoppers here, they feel safer. So, you know, I’m glad that I did this.”

Kelly said the pattern is clear – Asian American communities are being terrorized by harassment and violence. “Consider this – all those crimes you just heard about happened this year before a man in Georgia shot and killed eight people, most of whom were women of Asian descent.”

A group called Stop AAPI Hate tracks violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Since the start of the pandemic, they have received reports of nearly 4,000 hate incidents across the United States. 

Connie Chung Joe is CEO of a legal aid group, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.

“Almost half of them are coming from California,” Chung said. “Another thing is that women are targeted more than twice as often as men. And then we are seeing a spate of hate and violence targeted at our seniors.

Chung said the Asian American that she knows are advising their parents and grandparents to stay in the house. “Even for things like daily walks or trips to the grocery store. So, folks are really worried about this. And there’s also a lot of outrage about why this is still allowed to happen in our society?”

Ben Nguyen is a Georgia state representative. Her district covers part of Atlanta and DeKalb County. She believes that Robert Long killed the women because of hate and nothing else.

“We know that these are three businesses that are Asian-owned,” Nguyen said. “We know that most people who work there are Asian. And I think for anyone who lives in Atlanta and you hear the word massage parlor, that there is an understanding that perhaps there are other sex worker-related things that take place in these massage parlors. And it’s largely accepted.”

Federally, there is an effort to address violence against Asian American communities. One of the leaders of that effort is Congresswoman Grace Meng, Democrat from New York. She’s introduced legislation on the issue. Her district covers parts of New York City and Queens. We spoke this week before the shootings in Georgia.

“People are scared. People are literally telling their elderly parents and grandparents, “do not go out,” said Meng.  “You know, we’ll buy groceries for you. I had a mom – that night when I heard about that incident, she had seen it on the news, and she texted me. She said, that’s it; I’m not letting my kids play outside anymore.” 

The U.S. Department of Justice could choose to bring federal hate crime charges against Long if they uncover any evidence to prove Long targeted the victims specifically because of their race.

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