Episode

2/21 Unaccountable U.S. Cops; Hochul’s Judge Nominee Torpedos w/ Joanna Schwartz & Sam Mellins

February 21, 2023

Emma hosts Joanna Schwartz, professor at UCLA Law School, to discuss her recent book Shielded: How The Police Became Untouchable. Then, she’s joined by Sam Mellins, senior reporter at New York Focus. to discuss New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s top judicial nominee, Judge Hector LaSalle, being struck down by the State Senate in Albany. First, Emma runs through updates on a second earthquake hitting Turkey and Syria, China’s denial of any Russian allyship, the Israeli Knesset advancing Netanyahu’s extreme abuses of the judicial branch, Buttigieg’s delayed action in East Palestine, and Ron DeSantis launching his “Crime Tour,” before diving into Tucker Carlson’s attempt to shift East Palestine discourse away from corporate cost-cutting and towards Joe Biden’s “industrial sabotage.” Professor Joanna Schwartz then joins as she explores her focus on various untold stories of police brutality throughout the US, beginning with the story of Onree Norris, a 78-year-old victim of a wrong-address home invasion, to explore the complete lack of accountability faced by police departments nationwide when an incident doesn’t make the 24-hour news cycle. Diving deeper into Onree Norris’ story as she assesses the barrier of qualified immunity on his quest for justice, with prosecution requiring pre-existing judicial decisions surrounding the exact same circumstances – decisions that courts actively refuse to publish for this very reason – all serving to stifle any attempts to hold police, their departments, or their local government’s accountable. Next, Professor Schwartz zooms out to look at the history of qualified immunity, beginning with the passage of the Klu Klux Klan Act in 1871 which sought to grant the right of trial and due process to the recently freed Black population when it came to addressing justice for constitutional violations by the state, only for the Supreme Court to respond immediately by making various decisions to undermine and stunt these developments as the US continued into the Jim Crow era. Moving into the second half of the 20th Century, Joanna and Emma explore the Supreme Court’s decision to finally reverse this decision in 1968, then opening up lawsuits against local governments in ’71, only to – once again – launch various decisions that undermined this right, opening up local governments to passing qualified immunity and other measures that protect them from accountability and hinder victims of police brutalities’ quests for justice. Wrapping up the interview, they tackle the history and development of policing institutions in the US, coming out of the slave economy and settler-colonial structure of the early US, and discuss what policy measures can help bolster Americans’ right to justice in the face of state abuses. Sam Mellins then joins as he walks through Kathy Hochul’s failed nomination of Hector LaSalle to the Chief Judgeship of the NY Court of Appeals, why she embraced this loss so dearly, and where it leaves the future of this seat.

And in the Fun Half: Emma talks with Mason from Alabama on the relationship between gun-control legislation and policing reform, Donald Trump talks the “n-word” (Nuclear) and rags on DeSantis’ crime tour, and the crew parses through Jimmy Dore’s recent “anti-war” rally that featured promoters of the invasion of Afghanistan and Ukraine, and exemplified the untethering of Dore’s anti-establishment schtick from the relationship between labor and capital. George Santos finally takes down his walls on Piers Morgan Uncensored and gets honest about his lies, Bob from Raleigh plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Joanna’s book here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/677131/shielded-by-joanna-schwartz/

Check out Sam’s work here: https://www.nysfocus.com/author/sam-mellins/

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