Episode

(8/26) The Supreme Court’s Real Record On Race w/ Orville Vernon Burton & Armand Derfner

August 26, 2021

Emma hosts Orville Vernon Burton, Professor of Pan-African Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, and Computer Science at Clemson University, as well as civil rights attorney Armand Derfner, to discuss their recent book Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court, on the progressions, and regressions, of the SCOTUS’ relationship to racial justice. Professor Burton and Derfner start us off by bringing us back to the first full century of this countries history, looking at how the Supreme Court of the 19th Century worked alongside the settler-colonial regime as they approved the removal of Native folks from their own land, and upheld rulings on slavery, all stemming from concepts of “ownership” that bolstered our systems of white supremacy, discussing on the Dred Scott and Lone Wolf decisions alongside treaties and cases on disenfranchisement as key examples. Emma, Armand, and Orville use this first century of SCOTUS cases to show the clear politicized role of the Court, dating back to their inception, even resulting in seemingly ahistorical decisions that sided with public opinion over critical thinking. Next, they jump up to the more recent courts, post-1970, as they supported the US’ slide into neoliberalism after forty years of progressive decisions, looking into the slow deconstruction of the Voting Rights Act, looking into how the courts of recent years both align with the original courts, in their ahistorical accounts and differ from them, particularly with the growing divide with public opinion. Lastly, they work through the middle period, from the 1930s to the 70s, and how the courts of these decades, particularly under Chief Justices Hughes and Warren, saw important decisions, even under conservative justices, emphasizing states’ responsibilities alongside their rights. Emma rounds out the free half with disturbing videos from another anti-mask PTC to James Carville making a relatively reasonable point.

And in the Fun Half: Brandon, Emma, and Matt explore the problematic nature of deference to a system that has had more ex confederates than Black jurists (SCOTUS), Amber from Northern Virginia expands on the local organizing of the Right, looking into trans inclusivity policy in her state, and famously anti-war and anti-monarchy Tucker Carlson hosts the prince of war crimes Erik Prince to improv some Afghanistan tactics, using the classic journalist tactic of “yes, and-ing” your guest. Spocko from San Fran chats repercussions for falsified COVID documents, and Brandon and Dave from Jamaica emphasize how this cannot focus on punitive measures of imprisonment. They also chat Mike McKevinMcCarthy and positive coercion, plus, your calls and IMs!

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Past Episodes

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It’s an EmMajority Report Thursday! She speaks with Joanna Wuest, assistant professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College and author of the book Born This Way: Science, Citizenship, and Inequality in the American LGBTQ+ Movement, to discuss her recent piece in Jacobin entitled "The Best Way to ...
It's Hump Day! Sam and Emma speak with Dr. Robert Greene, assistant professor of history at Claflin University in South Carolina & president of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) , to discuss his writing on Juneteenth. Then, they speak with Jaz Brisack, co-founder of ...