As summer winds down and school looms on the horizon, I have two podcast recommendations to get you excited to get back to learning about the law.
One is More Perfect, a podcast from WNYC’s Radio Lab. This podcast does a very deep dive into a Supreme Court case or legal issue. Past episodes include an exploration of the death penalty and Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, the Indian Child Welfare Act case with a lot of history behind it.
Plus, there are some great Chicago-Kent connections to the podcast. The Supreme Court audio comes from none other than our own Oyez Project. And Prof. Nancy Marder was interviewed for the episode about Batson v. Kentucky, the case prohibiting the use of peremptory challenges to exclude jurors on the basis of their race.
My other podcast recommendation will make the presidential election year perhaps just a little bit more palatable, the Washington Post’s Presidential podcast. There will be 44 episodes leading up to Election Day, each focusing on one president. We’re currently at Herbert Hoover, if you’re curious.
Host Lillian Cunningham interviews famous historians and authors like David McCullough and Doris Kearns Goodwin as well as less famous experts from places like the Library of Congress and many presidential libraries. Did you know there’s a Rutherford B. Hayes presidential library (the first one) staffed by Hayes experts? I do! And they are fascinating!
The episodes of Presidential do not necessarily represent a straight history of the president. The episode on Lincoln focused only on his use of language and the episode on Grant talked about his autobiography, which apparently is widely considered to be the best presidential memoir of them all. Cunningham had literary critics come on to talk about his autobiography as a work of non-fiction.
There are also fun discussions of the presidents as human beings. Cunningham frequently asks guests to comment on what it would be like to go on a blind date with the president. The answer is usually that it would be terrible, but anyone who makes it through the Ulysses S. Grant episode without a tiny crush on him just isn’t listening close enough.
These podcasts should get you through those last few days commuting to work and a few trips to the beach. You’ll be inspired by the attorneys arguing the cases and ascending to the Supreme Court. Or at least you’ll be better entertained by the time school rolls around again.