Episode

8/23 Anti-Democracy GOP Think Tank; Death Penalty Racism w/ Stephen Bright, James Kwak, Katherine Stewart

August 23, 2023

It’s Hump Day! First, Emma speaks with attorney Stephen Bright and James Kwak, law professor at the University of Connecticut, to discuss their recent book The Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Insistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts. Then, she’s joined by writer Katherine Stewart to discuss her recent piece in The New Republic entitled “The Claremont Institute: The Anti-Democracy Think Tank”.  First, Emma runs through updates on tonight’s GOP Presidential Debate, Trump’s various legal battles, the UPS-Teamsters agreement, Hollywood’s anti-labor action, child labor in the US, Ed Bloom’s new anti-education lawsuit, a potential Oregon Supreme Court case on homelessness, and various geopolitical discourses, before admiring Climate Defiance’s recent action in front of a Maura Healey fundraiser. Stephen Bright and James Kwak then join, first diving into Bright’s history with capital punishment in the US over the last four decades, making him ever so intimate with the criminal-legal system’s myriad injustices, blatant race discrimination, and severe power imbalance in favor of the prosecution, before stepping back to analyze why the conversation of the role of race and poverty in capital punishment is so centered on the southern US, despite racism, poverty, and death sentences all existing in the north as well. Next, Bright and Kwak parse through the drastic power imbalance that comes from the simultaneous hyper-politicization of the legal system through prosecutors alongside the deprioritization and underfunding of public defense, walking countless examples of prosecutorial injustice and the malpractice of certain supposed public defenders. Bright and Kwak then focus on the Supreme Court case of McCleskey v. Kemp, and the eventual decision that, despite overwhelming evidence of racist bias in the endorsement, sentencing, and execution of the death sentence, said bias cannot be used as an argument in individual cases, in “fear of too much justice, before wrapping up by walking through the compiling and countless injustices of the criminal legal system and its death penalty. Katherine Stewart then walks Emma through the greater history of the Claremont Institute, and its evolution from a standard conservative think tank to the far-right, anti-democratic, neo-confederate thought leader that it is today – playing host to multiple Trump co-conspirators. Stewart begins by tackling the basis for the institution’s radicalization, including who the major players were, and the bigoted arguments they were able to put forth, from gender and race segregation to citing public Nazis as inspiration, before wrapping up with its culmination in the battle against “woke,” the right’s attacks on education, and their ultimate goal of affirmative action for conservative men.

And in the Fun Half: Emma tackles the renters’ nightmare that is the modern-day United States, Dave from Jamaica critiques recent “male loneliness discourse,” Tim Pool and Moonlord eviscerate the non-existent authoritarian hygiene and total-lockdown policies of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Noel from Queens tackles the Democrats’ need to be aggressive about literally anything. Newsmax goes all-in on homophobia, a Televangelist comes for Barbie’s Dreamhouse, and Bailey from NC expands on the hell of economic life in America, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Stephen & James’s book here: https://thenewpress.com/books/fear-of-too-much-justice

Check out Katherine’s piece here: https://newrepublic.com/article/174656/claremont-institute-think-tank-trump

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