DiscoverRadiolab Presents: More Perfect
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

Author: WNYC Studios

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Radiolab’s More Perfect is a series about the Supreme Court. More Perfect explores how cases inside the rarefied world of the Supreme Court affect our lives far away from the bench.
WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other great podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, On the Media, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin.
© WNYC Studios
30 Episodes
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The Most Perfect Album: Episode 6
This season, More Perfect is taking its camera lens off the Supreme Court and zooming in on the words of the people: the 27 amendments that We The People have made to our Constitution. We're taking on these 27 amendments both in song and in story. This episode is best listened to alongside 27: The Most Perfect Album, an entire album (an ALBUM!) and digital experience of original music and art inspired by the 27 Amendments. Think of these episodes as the audio liner notes.On first read the 16th and 22nd Amendments are at best sleepers and at worst, stinkers. In a list of Constitutional hits like the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, and birthright citizenship, the amendments covering taxes and term limits tend to fall by the wayside. But in Episode 6 of More Perfect's third season we take these forgotten gems and make them shine.The 16th Amendment sets up the income tax, sinking dread into the hearts of millions of Americans every April. But if the income tax is so hated, why did we vote to put it in the Constitution? And why do so many people willingly pay? In this episode we take on those questions and contemplate whether the 16th amendment might be less about money or law, than is about deciding what it means to belong.Next we move on to the 22nd Amendment and presidential term limits. If we as U.S. citizens are happy with our leadership, why shouldn't we be able to keep electing the same president for as many terms as we want? The ghost of George Washington comes back to give Franklin Delano Roosevelt some major side-eye as we explore the roots of the rule, and why it matters today.When you're done with the episode, check out songs by Post Animal and Pavo Pavo inspired by Amendments 16 and 22 on 27: The Most Perfect Album.
The Most Perfect Album: Episode 5
This season, More Perfect is taking its camera lens off the Supreme Court and zooming in on the words of the people: the 27 amendments that We The People have made to our Constitution. We're taking on these 27 amendments both in song and in story. This episode is best listened to alongside 27: The Most Perfect Album, an entire album (an ALBUM!) and digital experience of original music and art inspired by the 27 Amendments. Think of these episodes as the audio liner notes.Amendments 13, 14, and 15 are collectively known as the Reconstruction Amendments: they were passed as instructions to rebuild the country after Civil War. They addressed slavery, citizenship, equality and voting rights for black people. This week, the More Perfect team explores the legacy of the amendments beyond the Civil War — the ways the promises of these amendments changed the country and the ways they've fallen short.First, More Perfect Executive Producer Suzie Lechtenberg and Legal Editor Elie Mystal explore the loophole in the 13th Amendment's slavery ban that's being used in a strange context: college football. We share songs about the 13th Amendment from Kash Doll and Bette Smith. Then, producer Julia Longoria shares a conversation with her roommate Alia Almeida exploring their relationship to the amendments.Inspired by the 14th's Amendment's grant of equal protection and citizenship rights, Sarah Kay's poem tells the story of her grandmother, a U.S. citizen who was interned during World War II in a Japanese American Internment camp. Despite the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause, the Supreme Court upheld the internment of U.S. citizens based solely on their Japanese heritage in a case called Korematsu v. United States. In 2018, the Supreme Court said Korematsu was "wrong the day it was decided." The Court went on to uphold President Trump's controversial travel ban in Trump v. Hawaii. "Korematsu has nothing to do with this case," wrote the majority. In a dissenting opinion, Justice Sotomayor accused the majority of "redeploying the same dangerous logic underlying Korematsu" when they upheld the ban.Finally, hear songs inspired by the 15th Amendment by Aisha Burns and Nnamidi Ogbonnaya.
The Most Perfect Album: Episode 4
This season, More Perfect is taking its camera lens off the Supreme Court and zooming in on the words of the people: the 27 amendments that We The People have made to our Constitution. We're taking on these 27 amendments both in song and in story. This episode is best listened to alongside 27: The Most Perfect Album, an entire album (an ALBUM!) and digital experience of original music and art inspired by the 27 Amendments. Think of these episodes as the audio liner notes.Episode Four begins, as all episodes should: with Dolly Parton. Parton wrote a song for us (!) about the 19th Amendment and women (finally) getting the right to vote.Also in this episode: Our siblings at Radiolab share a story with us that they did about how the 19th Amendment almost died on a hot summer night in Tennessee. The 19th Amendment was obviously a huge milestone for women in the United States. But it was pretty well-understood that this wasn’t a victory for all women; it was a victory for white women. People of color have faced all sorts of barriers to voting throughout our nation's history. This includes poll taxes, which were fees people had to pay in order to vote. The 24th Amendment eliminated federal poll taxes in 1964. We hear a song inspired by the 24th Amendment, created for us by Caroline Shaw. Kevin Morby made an excellent song for us about the 24th, too. Check it out here.Finally, Simon Tam, from the band The Slants tells the story of the Supreme Court case about their name, and talks about the song they wrote about the 18th and 21st Amendments for our album. (It’s a jam!)
The Most Perfect Album: Episode 3
This season, More Perfect is taking its camera lens off the Supreme Court and zooming in on the words of the people: the 27 amendments that We The People have made to our Constitution. We're taking on these 27 amendments both in song and in story. This episode is best listened to alongside 27: The Most Perfect Album, an entire album (an ALBUM!) and digital experience of original music and art inspired by the 27 Amendments. Think of these episodes as the audio liner notes.The first eight amendments to the U.S. Constitution are literal, straightforward, and direct. But when we get to Amendments nine, 10, and 11, things get… hazy. These are some of the least literal amendments in the Constitution: they mean more than they say, and what they say is often extremely confusing. So in the third episode of the new More Perfect season we take these three blurry amendments and bring them into focus, embarking on a metaphorical, metaphysical, and somewhat astronomical journey to find the perfect analogies to truly understand each one.Episode Three reaches for lofty metaphors of moon shadows, legal penumbras, and romantic relationships — as well as more guttural, frankly gross ones, like the human appendix, to describe the three amendments that define the nature of our union and the powers of the government and the people.And when you're done with the episode, listen to the songs by The Kominas, Lean Year, and Field Medic inspired by Amendments 9, 10 and 11 on 27: The Most Perfect Album.  
The Most Perfect Album: Episode 2
This season, More Perfect is taking its camera lens off the Supreme Court and zooming in on the words of the people: the 27 amendments that We The People have made to our Constitution. We're taking on these 27 amendments both in song and in story. This episode is best listened to alongside 27: The Most Perfect Album, an entire album (an ALBUM!) and digital experience of original music and art inspired by the 27 Amendments. Think of these episodes as the audio liner notes.The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendments enshrine some of our most important civil liberties. They tell us about the rights we have when the government knocks on our door, including protections from "unreasonable searches and seizures," self-incrimination, "cruel and unusual punishments," and the right to "a speedy and public trial"-- among others.Episode Two looks at these amendments through the story of one man, Christopher Scott, who finds himself face-to-face with Dallas police officers as they investigate a violent crime. The role that these amendments play—and fail to play— in Christopher’s encounter tells a profound story about the presence of the Constitution in our everyday lives.And when you're done with the episode, listen to the songs by Briana Marela, Torres, Sons of an Illustrious Father, Adia Victoria, Nana Grizol, and High Waisted inspired by Amendments 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 on 27: The Most Perfect Album. Special thanks to Gloria Browne-Marshall and David Gray.
The Most Perfect Album: Episode 1
This season, More Perfect is taking our camera lens off the Supreme Court and zooming in on the words of the people: the 27 amendments that We The People have made to our Constitution. We're taking on these 27 amendments both in song and in story. This episode is best listened to alongside 27: The Most Perfect Album, an entire album (an ALBUM!) and digital experience of original music and art inspired by the 27 Amendments. Think of these episodes as the audio liner notes.Let's get started. If we're talking about the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, it only feels right to start at the beginning. The First and Second Amendments are arguably the most ferociously contentious amendments of them all, and the Third Amendment is the underdog that everyone underestimates but (maybe) shouldn’t.With that in mind, Episode One dives into the poetic dream behind the First Amendment. This is the amendment that reflects the kind of country the Founding Fathers hoped we would be. Next, we examine the fiercely debated words of the Second Amendment, words that often feel like they divide our nation in two. And finally, we question whether the seemingly irrelevant Third Amendment might actually be the key to figuring out where our country is going.And when you're done with the episode, take a listen to the songs by Joey Stylez, Cherry Glazerr, Sateen, Flor de Toloache, Michael Richard Klics, Palehound, and They Might be Giants inspired by Amendments 1, 2 and 3 on 27: The Most Perfect Album.
One Nation, Under Money
An unassuming string of 16 words tucked into the Constitution grants Congress extensive power to make laws that impact the entire nation. The Commerce Clause has allowed Congress to intervene in all kinds of situations — from penalizing one man for growing too much wheat on his farm, to enforcing the end of racial segregation nationwide. That is, if the federal government can make an economic case for it. This seemingly all-powerful tool has the potential to unite the 50 states into one nation and protect the civil liberties of all. But it also challenges us to consider: when we make everything about money, what does it cost us? The key voices:- Roscoe Filbrun Jr., Son of Roscoe Filbrun Sr., respondent in Wickard v. Filburn- Ollie McClung Jr., Son of Ollie McClung Sr., respondent in Katzenbach v. McClung- James M. Chen, professor at Michigan State University College of Law- Jami Floyd, legal analyst and host of WNYC’s All Things Considered who, as a domestic policy advisor in the Clinton White House, worked on the Violence Against Women Act- Ari J. Savitzky, lawyer at WilmerHale  The key cases:- 1824: Gibbons v. Ogden- 1942: Wickard v. Filburn- 1964: Katzenbach v. McClung- 2000: United States v. Morrison- 2012: National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius Additional production for this episode by Derek John and Louis Mitchell.Special thanks to Jess Mador, Andrew Yeager, and Rachel Iacovone.                                                                                                                    Leadership support for More Perfect is provided by The Joyce Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation.Supreme Court archival audio comes from Oyez®, a free law project in collaboration with the Legal Information Institute at Cornell.

One Nation, Under Money

2018-01-3000:52:1350

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Comments (52)

jowan sebastian

Absolutely amazing series 1&2, the album series is a real shame.

Nov 18th
Reply

Zach Wiebesiek

worst idea making an album out of the amendments. ruined one of the podcasts.

Oct 26th
Reply

Adam Boarman

The argument that the farmer should be subject to the limits placed on production is, it seems, predicated on the federal government providing subsidies to the farmer for growing wheat. That is how the analogy of the wife sewing a dress for herself is not quite the same. If the government were to subsidize dress makers, guaranteeing all dresses a minimum price, then the case could be made to limit the number of dresses the wife can make.

Oct 4th
Reply

Joshua Davis

Avenge citizens United “TandaPay Cannot Be Regulated — 2” @joshuad31 https://medium.com/@joshuadavis31/tandapay-cannot-be-regulated-2-6982b997fe6

Sep 24th
Reply

Heath A. Wood

so its just the same damn episode played over again!? jesus tap dancing christ! post something new or nothing at all.

Sep 18th
Reply

Philip Roberts

Heath A. Wood I agree that, for us Radio lab/more perfect lovers who constantly keep up to date, this might be tedious... but I think this episode is still a very pertinent and important one, and it's good to keep those sorts of episodes at the top to keep the ideas within them fresh in our minds. That being said... I would love some new content soon too lol

Sep 19th
Reply

Heath A. Wood

Alli Hockin convenience? more like laziness.

Sep 18th
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Tyler Mattox

Everytime Elie Mystal speaks on this show, I lose more and more respect for it. We dont listen to this show for one man's idiotic knee jerk, emotional reactions. In both this episode and thw hate debate I think he absolutely embarrasses himself and it makes me doubt anything said on this show when he is such a prominent contributor.

Aug 8th
Reply

Maureen Veto

love this show, informative, insightful and helpful

Jul 27th
Reply

Heath A. Wood

oh yea this is great. 'hey we haven't been around in a while so here's an episode we already did!'. what a spit in the eye.

Jul 11th
Reply

Cathy Fugate

I just got all excited about a new episode but it’s just re rebroadcast:(

Jul 5th
Reply

Tracie Sikorski

i've missed you!

Jul 2nd
Reply

Alex Kwong

the sound is in mono

Jun 27th
Reply

Dereck Benner

are you on a break? where did u go?

Jun 22nd
Reply

Joseph Casey

what was the bit right at the end? when there are enough women there will be "line?" or none? struggling to make sense

Jun 4th
Reply

Jennifer Buz

Joseph Casey when there are nine (i.e. it's all women)

Jun 29th
Reply

JStone

the problem with the legal system is cops lock them up and judges let them out..tell that to his family.

Apr 6th
Reply

히만브리

JStone 7ㅑㅎㅕㅕ 6ㅕ6677ㅕ77777ㅕㅛㅛㅅ66666

Apr 19th
Reply

히만브리

JStone 8777

Apr 19th
Reply

sai

this is the best episode from more perfect. I think there should be more of these debates on polarizing topics.

Mar 23rd
Reply

히만브리

sai ㅅ665

Apr 19th
Reply

θourkniːr̥

Honestly, that debate was ill. I'm pretty used to debating, but facing the kind of rhetoric and showmanship that was taking place there I'd consider just standing up and leave.

Feb 12th
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Tim Greene

very interesting episode. i would suggest that we have not fixed the problem because we dont know what fixed looks like. so we end up with a series of confusing comprimises.

Feb 8th
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Adam Whittemore

Amazing podcast

Feb 2nd
Reply

Casey man

Yes, it's back my favorite podcast.

Jan 31st
Reply

Ty Smith

Racism must die. This man is absolutely right.

Jan 20th
Reply
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