You've probably heard jokes about lawyers before. Here's a more advanced version, coming from future Chief Justice Of The U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts in April of 1983: "The generally accepted notion that the court can only hear roughly 150 cases each term gives the same sense of reassurance as the adjournment of the court in July, when we know the Constitution is safe for the summer." We know, we know, it's not exactly a kickass one-liner. But what if it is getting at something true about the U.S. Supreme Court's overwhelming power? What if our whole Constitution can vanish because five out of nine Justices get a little too active? And what if Chief Justice Roberts is a perfect example of the inconsistent, insensitive, inscrutable jurists who've hamstrung American democracy for centuries...all without most people noticing?

On this week's episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Ian Millhiser, author of the book Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted. They'll re-discover the forgotten SCOTUS decisions that endorsed everything from racism to sexism to wildly villainous child labor. They'll explore the complicated make-up of today's Court, with a view to how its faults could destroy it. And great news: they'll celebrate the rare past SCOTUS that got a whole lot of things right, and look at how that golden era could happen all over again.

Footnotes:

Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted by Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser on Twitter

Canadian Supreme Court group photo, 2016

Alito rips Canadian Supreme Court's 'Santa Claus' robes (Chicago Sun-Times)

"The emerging divide between the Supreme Court's Republicans" by Ian Millhiser (ThinkProgress)

Small states are getting a much bigger say in who gets on Supreme Court (CNN)

story from Nov. 3rd, 2016: "If Clinton Wins, Republicans Suggest Shrinking Size of Supreme Court" (NPR)

"Let's Think About Court-Packing" by Ian Millhiser (Democracy Journal)

1937: Roosevelt announces "court-packing" plan (History.com)

"The switch in time that saved nine" (Wikipedia)

The American Liberty League, 1934-1940 (JStor / The American Historical Review)

Earl Warren (History.com)

A New Lochner Era (Slate)

An Incomplete List Of Nightmare SCOTUS Decisions

Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)

United States v. Cruikshank (1876)

Chae Chan Ping v. United States (1888)

In re Debs (1895)

United States v. E. C. Knight Company (1895)

Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust (1895)

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

Downes v. Bidwell (1901) and the other "Insular Cases"

Lochner v. New York (1905)

Muller v. Oregon (1908)

Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918)

Schenck v. United States (1919)

Adkins v. Children's Hospital (1923)

Buck v. Bell (1927)

Grovey v. Townsend (1935)

Korematsu v. United States (1944)

San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez (1973)

Smith v. Maryland (1979)

New York v. Quarles (1984)

Bush v Gore (2000)

Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004)

Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire (2007)

Citizens United v. F.E.C. (2010) and McCutcheon v. F.E.C. (2014)

Shelby County v. Holder (2013)

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (2014)

Trump v. Hawaii (2018)

TIMELY UPDATES (as of Jan. 21st, 2019)

When we talked about major Supreme Court news coming on "Friday", we were referencing SCOTUS's Friday January 18th conference, where they could announce taking cases or passing on cases. Now it looks like they're waiting until Tues. Jan. 22nd to announce any decisions from that. More details here. A heads-up: we're not planning on updating this space with Tuesday's news, since that is after this episode releases.

According to Pete Williams of NBC News, the potential Supreme Court case impacting DACA must be taken up very soon to be heard in the current SCOTUS term. If it's not taken up soon, the DACA program will continue for at least ten more months. Story here.

"Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Inc." is the full name of the "Box" potential case impacting Planned Parenthood funding. More details here.

Exciting Tour News!

See the first-ever Cracked Podcast LIVE TOUR this spring! Get your tickets now for: Thursday April 11th -- Lincoln Hall, Chicago IL and Friday April 12th -- Amsterdam Bar and Hall, St. Paul MN.

More Episodes

 

11 Bizarre & Gross Problems That Took Over U.S. Cities

May 20, 2019

Hear us LIVE in Chicago: a city of coyotes, super-rats, and plumbing they forgot to install till later.

 Go Listen
 

7 Common Mistakes That Ruin Movie Sequels & Trilogies

May 13, 2019

Here's how Adventure Number Three forgets what made Numbers One and Two worth watching.

 Go Listen
 

10 Insane Real-Life Crimes Committed Through Video Games

May 6, 2019

Why steal fake in-game money when you can grift actual millions?

 Go Listen
 

How Lousy Life-Shortening Jobs Became America's Gig

April 29, 2019

Don't let the bastards use you to grind other people down.

 Go Listen
 

What Fascist Italy Reveals About Modern America

April 22, 2019

Benito Mussolini wanted to make Italy great again, and somehow that's more popular than ever.

 Go Listen
To turn on reply notifications, click here

22 Comments

Load Comments