law | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

law

We had trouble mustering enthusiasm to wrap up our final episode of this second season of Pardon Me. Last week's roller coaster of a trial culminated in 43 senators choosing to acquit on a weak and deceptive defense -- despite a factual and painstaking accounting of how bad the breach was, how bad it might have been, and how Donald Trump incited it.

Donald Trump's legal team delivered their defense of the former president Friday. They followed a tightly argued and visceral presentation delivered by House managers that, some say, has made it easy for Republican senators to convict Trump. They likely won't.

We wondered if our show, recorded in part on Thursday, would omit important events that occurred thereafter. Given that many Republican senators have already decided to acquit, why would the defense feel the need to address the 144 constitutional lawyers who debunked their First Amendment argument, the 150 constitutional lawyers who say the impeachment of Trump is constitutional, or the people of this country?

We knew the ending before it even began.

Paul Sableman / Creative Commons

Some say the press continues to portray the Republican Party as a "mainstream, center-right entity," long after their words and deeds reflect something more ominous. Is the media failing to convey the extreme behavior of the GOP out of fear they will be accused of liberal bias? It's not the first time the media has been accused of bias or been too slow to see something for what it is instead of what they want it to be.

Also this hour: Five members of former President Trump's impeachment team departed Saturday, a little over a week before the Senate trial is set to begin on February 9. On Sunday, Trump hired lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. to take over. Will they be ready by next week?

We took a chance that House Democrats were going to send the Article of Impeachment to the Senate this week. We were wrong. Instead, the House will transmit its Article of Impeachment charging former President Trump with "incitement of insurrection" to the Senate on Monday.

Why should the House wait any longer when more than a dozen Republican senators are trying to dismiss the impeachment trial before it begins, based on the disputed claim that it's unconstitutional to try an ex-president. And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is already walking back his prior claim that Trump incited the riot at the Capitol.

The House will transmit its Article of Impeachment charging former President Trump with "incitement of insurrection" to the Senate on Monday.

Previously on Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?): House Democrats voted to impeach President Trump on two Articles of Impeachment: "abuse of power" and "obstruction of Congress." He was later acquitted promptly after Senate Republicans voted against calling witnesses or admitting new evidence.

Now (less than 48 weeks later), on Season Two of Pardon Me: House Democrats, along with 10 Republicans, voted to impeach President Trump Wednesday on one Article of Impeachment: "incitement of insurrection." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., promptly responded that there'll be no trial while he's Senate leader.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

David Valdez / Creative Commons

The Trump presidency has exposed many vulnerabilities in the laws and norms that govern presidential behavior. His brazen disrespect demands action to protect against a future president who might build on Trump's playbook. 

Jake Greenberg, U.S. Navy / Creative Commons

The number of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 is rising in almost every state. America averaged over 100,000 new cases every day over the last seven days and 1,000 deaths every day over the same period. The positivity rate is more than 50 percent in some states, straining hospital systems and front line staff. Have we normalized the pandemic to the point where we're no longer taking it seriously enough? 

Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian / flickr creative commons

It's been eight days since Election Day. It's been four days since Joe Biden was projected to become President-elect Joe Biden.

But we've still got the secretary of state saying, "There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration." We've still got any number of lawsuits flailing their way through the courts in various states.

Are we really going to reject democratic elections to soothe Trump's ego?

Robert McNeely / Wikimedia Commons

The Trump campaign threatened legal challenges Wednesday, to force four states to stop counting ballots after Joe Biden's wins in the battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin narrowed the President's path to reelection. How bad must an American president behave before a majority of voters repudiate him for his actions? 

Daniel Huizinga / Creative Commons

A lot of people are wondering if it's time to look at ">court packing," and other court reforms, to address judiciary dysfunction that we can see playing out during this election and in the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the roll call vote was also notable for its silence from Democrats. 

As the committee clerk read off a list of names, she got no answer from several senators. The reason was simple: Those senators, including Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal, weren’t there. 

Yash Mori / Creative Commons

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday evening, breaking the hearts of generations of women -- and men -- who have benefited from her work guaranteeing our rights to equal treatment under the law.

That same evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that a Trump nominee to replace Ginsburg would receive a vote on the floor of the Senate. By Saturday, President Trump was claiming he had an "obligation" to replace her, "without delay." The loss is larger than either man could understand.

NEON Rated, LLC

The Nose is worried about movie theaters. The pandemic has done such damage to the industry that Hollywood has started treating the U.S. as a second-run market. And now the Paramount Consent Decrees have ended. (We're not exactly sure what that means, but it's not good.) Is the future of movie theaters... Walmart drive-ins?

And: She Dies Tomorrow is a horror-comedy-thriller written and directed by Amy Seimetz. It was supposed to premiere at this year's South by Southwest, which was canceled. She Dies Tomorrow is out now on video on demand platforms.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

Some of the more controversial aspects of police reform that’ve been debated on the streets of Connecticut are now law.

Creative Commons CC0

This pandemic has caused a lot of interruptions in our lives. It has put people out of work, and it is also keeping some people from starting a career. This hour, we hear how recent law school graduates are preparing for the Connecticut Bar Exam amongst the pandemic. 

The Burkhart Family / Doubleday

Native Americans have been getting forced off their land for a long time.  Although Thomas Jefferson promised they shall know the United States as only "friends and benefactors," he forced them from their ancestral home in 1804 after he signed the Louisiana Purchase.  

Multiculturalism / Creative Commons

Race is a myth; racism is not. I'm stealing this line from Gene Seymour, one of our guests on our show today. 

We're reairing a show with three people who discuss what it's like to be Black in America. The show originally aired in 2017.

We chose to reair it today to coincide with the memorials this week for Congressman John Lewis, who will be the first Black congressman to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, after fighting his entire life for social justice.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

The number of people being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus is rising in 48 states. We're testing more, but the rate of positive tests, hospitalizations, and in some states, deaths, is also rising.

Judiciary Committee Policing Bill Is Just A Draft, Republicans Caution

Jul 10, 2020
Sen. John Kissel, Ranking Republican of the Judiciary Committee, back when committees met in real life.
JACQUELINE RABE THOMAS / CTMirror.org

Members of the Judiciary Committee formally unveiled a draft of their police accountability bill on Friday morning, a measure they’ll soon take up in a special session – and that Republicans stressed is a work in progress.

romana klee / flickr creative commons

Over the past weeks, cities across the country have implemented curfews in response to George Floyd protests and to enforce stay-at-home orders during COVID-19.

This hour, we discuss whether emergency curfews really keep people safer or become another way to intimidate and discriminate. Also, the history and wisdom of juvenile curfews and what it's like to protest after curfew.

And we learn about early curfews across the pond during the British Empire.

Black And Puerto Rican Caucus 'Agenda For Equity' Includes More Than Police Reforms

Jul 7, 2020
State Rep. Brandon McGee announces the agenda crafted by the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.
Connecticut House Democrats

Members of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus added their voices Tuesday to the growing calls for systemic reforms that would make life safer and more equitable for Connecticut’s residents of color.

Gail Hardy
Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

Gail Hardy authored a surprising twist Monday to her reappointment as lead prosecutor for the Hartford Judicial District.

Senate Dems Want Broad Social Justice Agenda For July Session, Others Say There Isn't Time

Jun 19, 2020
Senator Doug McCrory, D-Hartford, (at podium) discusses broad agenda to combat systemic racism during Friday’s press conference. Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, is on left.
CTMirror.org

Majority Senate Democrats unveiled a comprehensive platform Friday to reverse systemic racial inequalities in law enforcement, health care, housing, education and economic opportunity.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

A state prosecutor criticized for her handling of police use-of-force investigations was suspended Thursday. State supreme court justice Andrew McDonald announced the suspension of Hartford state’s attorney Gail Hardy, who at one point in 2019 still hadn’t resolved five use of investigations --including four that were at least seven years old -- during a criminal justice commission meeting.

Office of the Chief State's Attorney

The Wethersfield Police Department hasn’t yet started an internal investigation into the shooting death more than a year ago of an 18-year-old driver.

Gilad Raphaelli / Flickr Creative Commons

This hour, we’re starting at the end: Death.

Knowledge of our mortality affects almost everything about us. And lately, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, death is on our phones, in the headlines, and in the air.

Office of the Chief State's Attorney

In his resignation letter submitted to the Wethersfield Police Department, Layau Eulizier Jr. wrote that he never thought the day he shot and killed 18-year-old Anthony Jose Vega Cruz would be his last on active patrol in Wethersfield.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that alleged Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. misleads consumers with claims that its farms protect the environment and keep their cows contented.

The Legislature Adjourns: No Pomp, Lots Of Circumstance

May 7, 2020
FILE: SMG Corporate services day porters wipe down and deep clean the Senate chambers while the Connecticut State Capitol is closed for cleaning on March 12, 2020 in Hartford, Connecticut.
Joe Amon / Connecitcut Public/NENC

In a nearly empty State Capitol, a tiny band of legislators wearing surgical masks formally ended the 2020 session Wednesday, a concession to custom, calendar and the coronavirus.

Pages