More Perfect artwork

More Perfect

34 episodes - English - Latest episode: 3 months ago - ★★★★★ - 13.7K ratings

A series about how the Supreme Court got so supreme.

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Episodes

More Perfect Is Coming Back

July 14, 2022 16:00 - 2 minutes - 2.32 MB

More Perfect has been dark for four years now. But next year, hosted by Julia Longoria, we're coming back! The past few weeks have been historic, to say the least, in Supreme Court history. So in the meantime, we want to hear from you. What do you want to know right now about the Supreme Court? What are your questions, your worries, your fears? Record a voice memo or write us a note and send it to [email protected]

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 9

December 04, 2018 17:00 - 23 minutes - 21.8 MB

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. In More Perfect's ...

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 8

November 30, 2018 17:00 - 30 minutes - 28.3 MB

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. This week, More Pe...

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 7

November 20, 2018 17:00 - 41 minutes - 37.9 MB

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 25th and 26th ...

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 6

November 14, 2018 17:00 - 26 minutes - 24 MB

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 ...

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 5

October 24, 2018 16:00 - 29 minutes - 27.4 MB

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,...

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 4

October 12, 2018 16:00 - 42 minutes - 39 MB

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 begin...

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 3

October 02, 2018 16:00 - 33 minutes - 30.7 MB

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 am...

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 2

September 25, 2018 16:00 - 28 minutes - 26 MB

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,...

The Gun Show Reprise

September 19, 2018 16:00 - 1 hour - 63.5 MB

Last year in the wake of the attack in Las Vegas, reporter Sean Rameswaram took a deep dive into America's twisty, thorny, seemingly irreconcilable relationship with guns. It's a story about the Second Amendment, the Black Panthers, the NRA, and a guy named Dick Heller, who in 2008 brought the Second Amendment to the Supreme Court for the very first time.

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 1

September 18, 2018 16:00 - 39 minutes - 35.8 MB

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....

We've Got a Surprise For You

September 11, 2018 16:00 - 2 minutes - 2.3 MB

This fall, More Perfect is doing something brand new: We’re making an album!   It’s called 27: The Most Perfect Album. We’ve partnered with some of the best musicians in the world— artists like Dolly Parton, Kevin Morby, Devendra Banhart, Aisha Burns, and more — to create songs inspired by the 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  Alongside the album, we’ll be launching SEASON THREE of our podcast, deep-diving into the history and resonance of the constitutional amendments with off-be...

American Pendulum Reprise

June 26, 2018 16:00 - 46 minutes - 42.4 MB

What happens when the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, seems to get it wrong? Korematsu v. United States upheld President Franklin Roosevelt’s internment of American citizens during World War II based solely on their Japanese heritage, for the sake of national security. In this episode, we follow Fred Korematsu’s path to the Supreme Court, and we ask the question: if you can’t get justice in the Supreme Court, can you find it someplace else?

One Nation, Under Money

January 30, 2018 17:00 - 52 minutes - 47.8 MB

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 nati...

Justice, Interrupted

December 19, 2017 17:00 - 24 minutes - 22.2 MB

The rules of oral argument at the Supreme Court are strict: when a justice speaks, the advocate has to shut up.  But a law student noticed that the rules were getting broken again and again — by men.  He and his professor set out to chart an epidemic of interruptions.  If women can’t catch a break in the boardroom or the legislature (or at the MTV VMA’s), what’s it going to take to let them speak from the bench of the highest court in the land? The key voices: Tonja Jacobi, professor at No...

The Architect

December 07, 2017 17:00 - 34 minutes - 31.3 MB

On this episode, we revisit Edward Blum, a self-described “legal entrepreneur” and former stockbroker who has become something of a Supreme Court matchmaker: he takes an issue, finds the perfect plaintiff, matches them with lawyers, and helps the case work its way to the highest court in the land. His target: laws that differentiate between people based on race — including ones that empower minorities. More Perfect profiled Edward Blum in season one of the show. We catch up with him to hear ...

Mr. Graham and the Reasonable Man

November 30, 2017 17:00 - 1 hour - 62.4 MB

On a fall afternoon in 1984, Dethorne Graham ran into a convenience store for a bottle of orange juice. Minutes later he was unconscious, injured, and in police handcuffs. In this episode, we explore a case that sent two Charlotte lawyers on a quest for true objectivity, and changed the face of policing in the US. The key voices: Dethorne Graham Jr., son of Dethorne Graham, appellant in Graham v. Connor Edward G. (Woody) Connette, lawyer who represented Graham in the lower courts Gerald ...

Sex Appeal

November 23, 2017 17:00 - 55 minutes - 51.1 MB

“Equal protection of the laws” was granted to all persons by the 14th Amendment in 1868. But for nearly a century after that, women had a hard time convincing the courts that they should be allowed to be jurors, lawyers, and bartenders, just the same as men. A then-lawyer at the ACLU named Ruth Bader Ginsburg set out to convince an all-male Supreme Court to take sex discrimination seriously with an unconventional strategy. She didn’t just bring cases where women were the victims of discrimin...

The Hate Debate

November 06, 2017 17:00 - 36 minutes - 33.2 MB

Should you be able to say and do whatever you want online? And if not, who should police this? More Perfect hosts a debate at WNYC's Jerome L. Greene Performance Space about online hate speech, fake news, and whether the First Amendment needs an update for the digital age. The key voices: Corynne McSherry, legal director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation Elie Mystal, executive editor at Above the Law and contributing legal editor at More Perfect Ken White, litigator and criminal def...

Citizens United

November 02, 2017 16:00 - 1 hour - 55.5 MB

Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission is one of the most polarizing Supreme Court cases of all time. So what is it actually about, and why did the Justices decide the way they did? Justice Anthony Kennedy, often called the “most powerful man in America,” wrote the majority opinion in the case. In this episode, we examine Kennedy’s singular devotion to the First Amendment and look at how it may have influenced his decision in the case.  The key voices: Kai Newkirk, 99 Rise  Micha...

Enemy of Mankind

October 24, 2017 16:00 - 54 minutes - 50 MB

Should the U.S. Supreme Court be the court of the world? In the 18th century, two feuding Frenchmen inspired a one-sentence law that helped launch American human rights litigation into the 20th century. The Alien Tort Statute allowed a Paraguayan woman to find justice for a terrible crime committed in her homeland. But as America reached further and further out into the world, the court was forced to confront the contradictions in our country’s ideology: sympathy vs. sovereignty. Earlier thi...

The Heist

October 16, 2017 16:00 - 21 minutes - 19.3 MB

The Supreme Court may not have been conceptualized as a co-equal branch of the federal government, but it became one as a result of the political maneuvering of Chief Justice John Marshall. The fourth (and longest-serving) chief justice was "a great lover of power," according to historian Jill Lepore, but he was also a great lover of secrecy. Marshall believed, in order for the justices to confer with each other candidly, their papers needed to remain secret in perpetuity. It was under this ...

The Gun Show

October 12, 2017 16:00 - 1 hour - 63.8 MB

For nearly 200 years of our nation’s history, the Second Amendment was an all-but-forgotten rule about the importance of militias. But in the 1960s and 70s, a movement emerged — led by Black Panthers and a recently-repositioned NRA — that insisted owning a firearm was the right of each and every American. So began a constitutional debate that only the Supreme Court could solve. That didn’t happen until 2008, when a Washington, D.C. security guard named Dick Heller made a compelling case. Se...

Who’s Gerry and Why Is He So Bad at Drawing Maps?

October 03, 2017 16:00 - 21 minutes - 19.4 MB

“It is an invidious, undemocratic, and unconstitutional practice,” Justice John Paul Stevens said of gerrymandering in Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004). Politicians have been manipulating district lines to favor one party over another since the founding of our nation. But with a case starting today, Gill v. Whitford, the Supreme Court may be in a position to crack this historical nut once and for all. Up until this point, the court didn’t have a standard measure or test for how much one side had u...

American Pendulum II

October 02, 2017 16:00 - 31 minutes - 29.2 MB

In this episode of More Perfect, two families grapple with one terrible Supreme Court decision. Dred Scott v. Sandford is one of the most infamous cases in Supreme Court history: in 1857, a slave named Dred Scott filed a suit for his freedom and lost. In his decision, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney wrote that black men “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”  One civil war and more than a century later, the Taneys and the Scotts reunite at a Hilton in Missouri to figure o...

American Pendulum I

October 01, 2017 16:00 - 46 minutes - 42.3 MB

What happens when the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, seems to get it wrong? Korematsu v. United States is a case that’s been widely denounced and discredited, but it still remains on the books. This is the case that upheld President Franklin Roosevelt’s internment of American citizens during World War II based solely on their Japanese heritage, for the sake of national security. In this episode, we follow Fred Korematsu’s path to the Supreme Court, and we ask the question: if ...

We're Back

September 28, 2017 04:00 - 1 minute - 1.27 MB

More Perfect, the show that takes you inside the United States Supreme Court, is back on October 2, 2017.  Sex, race, guns, executive orders: Season two has it all. We'll see you in court.         

Object Anyway

July 16, 2016 16:00 - 48 minutes - 44.2 MB

At the trial of James Batson in 1982, the prosecution eliminated all the black jurors from the jury pool. Batson objected, setting off a complicated discussion about jury selection that would make its way all the way up to the Supreme Court. On this episode of More Perfect, the Supreme Court ruling that was supposed to prevent race-based jury selection, but may have only made the problem worse. James Batson (L) with his mother Rose (R) (Sean Rameswaram) Joe Gutmann with his students in th...

Kittens Kick The Giggly Blue Robot All Summer

July 01, 2016 16:00 - 36 minutes - 33.4 MB

With the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there's been a lot of debate about how much power the Supreme Court should really have. We tend to think of the Supreme Court justices as all-powerful guardians of the constitution, issuing momentous rulings from on high. They seem at once powerful, and unknowable; all lacy collars and black robes. But they haven’t always been so, you know, supreme. On this episode of More Perfect, we go all the way back to the case that, in a lot of ways, is...

The Imperfect Plaintiffs

June 28, 2016 16:00 - 1 hour - 58.8 MB

Last week, the court decided one of this term’s blockbuster cases — a case that could affect the future of affirmative action in this country. The plaintiff was Abigail Fisher, a white woman, who said she was rejected from the University of Texas because the university unfairly considered race as one of many factors when evaluating applicants. And while Fisher’s claims were the focus of the case, the story behind how she ended up in front of the Supreme Court is a lot more complicated. Edwa...

More Perfect presents: Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl

June 17, 2016 16:00 - 42 minutes - 38.8 MB

This is the story of a three-year-old girl and the highest court in the land. The Supreme Court case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl was a legal battle that entangled a biological father, a heart-broken couple, and the tragic history of Native American children taken from their families. When producer Tim Howard first read about this case, it struck him as a sad, but seemingly straightforward custody dispute. But as he started talking to lawyers, historians, and the families involved in the ca...

The Political Thicket

June 10, 2016 16:00 - 42 minutes - 38.8 MB

When Chief Justice Earl Warren was asked at the end of his career, “What was the most important case of your tenure?”, there were a lot of answers he could have given. After all, he had presided over some of the most important decisions in the court’s history — cases that dealt with segregation in schools, the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, just to name a few. But his answer was a surprise: He said, “Baker v. Carr,” a 1962 redistricting case.  On this episode of More Perf...

Cruel and Unusual

June 02, 2016 16:00 - 40 minutes - 36.8 MB

On the inaugural episode of More Perfect, we explore three little words embedded in the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “cruel and unusual.” America has long wrestled with this concept in the context of our strongest punishment, the death penalty. A majority of “we the people” (61 percent, to be exact) are in favor of having it, but inside the Supreme Court, opinions have evolved over time in surprising ways. And outside of the court, the debate drove one woman in the UK to take on ...

Coming Soon: More Perfect

May 24, 2016 16:00 - 1 minute - 969 KB

How does an elite group of nine people shape everything from marriage and money, to safety and sex for an entire nation? From the producers of Radiolab, More Perfect dives into the rarefied world of the Supreme Court to explain how cases deliberated inside hallowed halls affect lives far away from the bench.