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Strict Scrutiny

Strict Scrutiny

A podcast about the Supreme Court and the legal culture that surrounds it. Hosted by Leah Litman, Melissa Murray, and Kate Shaw. Produced by Melody Rowell.


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Comeback Kid

Our boy Steve is retiring. Here are our thoughts on the timing, his legacy, and potential successors.

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Putting the Tea in Totenberg

Nina Totenberg joins the podcast to discuss her story that broke the Internet and sent the Court into a statement frenzy. Kate, Leah, and Melissa then break down some of the January arguments and what is happening with S.B. 8.

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BONUS: Strict Scrutiny x Why Is This Happening?

The ladies of Strict Scrutiny join forces with Why Is This Happening?, hosted by Chris Hayes (aka Mr. Kate Shaw).

Late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, ?it?s hard not to have a big year at the Supreme Court.? With that in mind, we thought it would be good to do a gut check as 2022 promises to be one of the most important years in the Court?s history. We like doing new things here at WITHpod, so we?re excited to share our first crossover episode with the hosts of The Strict Scrutiny podcast, Chris? wife Kate Shaw, and her co-hosts Melissa Murray, and Leah Litman. Between the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned, historic potential rulings on voting and gun rights, and more contentious political battles, the year ahead will certainly be one for the books.

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Hot Potato

Payvand Ahdout, Assistant Professor of Law at University of Virginia School of Law and federal courts and post-conviction review expert, joins Leah to debrief the first week of the Court's January arguments, an important resentencing case to be argued the second week (attn: Kim Kardashian), and a bunch of court culture that ... isn't particularly upbeat for lady lawyers.

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Putting the F in FDR

Melissa, Leah, and Kate recap the Supreme Court?s opinions invalidating the Biden administration?s test-or-vaccinate policy for employers with more than 100 employees, and the Court?s grudging acceptance that employees at federally funded healthcare facilities should not be able to kill their patients.

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Justice for Snowflake

Leah, Melissa, & Kate preview the cases to be argued in the January sitting (other than the test-and-vax cases), and also cover all of the Court-adjacent news that has happened over the last month.

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No Laws, Just Vibes

Kate, Melissa, and Leah recap oral arguments in two emergency applications related to Biden administration policies designed to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

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Laboratories of Autocracy

Melissa, Kate, and Leah get to spend an entire show on one of their favorite topics -- Sam Alito. This time with an assist from Justice Alito?s nemesis, Adam Serwer.

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The People's Constitution

Leah is joined by Wilfred Codrington III to discuss his co-authored book The People?s Constitution: 200 Years, 27 Amendments, and the Promise of a More Perfect Union.

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Our Favorite Things, 2021

Leah, Melissa, and Kate round out 2021 with a discussion of their favorite things.


To wear

Wool leg warmers from Lunya

Washable silk pajamas from Lunya

True Botanicals

Kari Gran mini kit

The Lady Doth Etsy shop

Taylor Swift merch


To read

My Monticello, by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

The Silence of the Girls, by Pat Barker

The Women of Troy, by Pat Barker

The 1619 Project

Born on the Water, Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson

How to be Successful Without Hurting Men?s Feelings, by Sarah Cooper


To eat

This Little Goat


Levain Bakery cookie assortment


To support women journalists

Dahlia Lithwick - Slate Plus

Alexandra Petri - Washington Post

Rebecca Traister and Irin Carmon - New York Magazine and The Cut

Erinn Haynes and Shefali Luthra - The 19th


To smell

Parks Project-- like this Yosemite Lodgepole Pine Candle 


To spoil your dog

The Farmer?s Dog food

Buck Bones

Stuffing free toys

DIY sock bottle


And of course, to rep your favorite podcast

Strict Scrutiny merch

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The Marshmallow Experiment

We recap the second week of the December sitting, which is (more than) enough to justify a break for the New Year!


Michele Goodwin's powerful op-ed in the New York Times: "I Was Raped by My Father. An Abortion Saved My Life."Liliana Segura's reporting on Barry Jones, whose case was consolidated with Shinn v. RamirezNelson Tebbe's 2008 article in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, "Excluding Religion"

We rely on listeners to keep the show funded! You can become a Glow supporter for $7/month, or pick up some merch as you do the rest of your holiday shopping. 

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A Uterus, If You Can Keep It

Commander Vladeck returns to break down what the Supreme Court?s decision in the SB8 case does and doesn?t mean. (Spoiler alert: Nothing good!)

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Let's Be Legends

Tiffany Wright joins the show to recap last week?s oral arguments and to preview the second week of the December sitting... hijinks ensue.

Strict Scrutiny depends on support from listeners. Become a Glow subscriber today for just $7/month, and get access to special live shows and virtual happy hours.


"Texas Abortion Law Complicates Care for Risky Pregnancies," by Roni Caryn Rabin. New York Times, November 26, 2021."The Judge Who Told the Truth About the Mississippi Abortion Ban," by Reynolds Holding. The Atlantic, November 30, 2021.Amicus brief by the Howard University School of Law Human and Civil Rights Clinic
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Fourth Dimension Feminism

Kate, Melissa, and Leah recap oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women?s Health Organization, the Mississippi case that banned abortion after 15 weeks.

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Sad Girl Autumn

It?s sad girl autumn at the Supreme Court -- Melissa, Kate, and Leah preview the upcoming cases, including the frontal challenge to Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women?s Health Organization, and discuss the Court?s lack of action on the S.B. 8 cases.

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At Liberty: This Fall?s Fight Against Forced Pregnancy

In October, Melissa joined the ACLU's podcast At Liberty to discuss the state of abortion rights in Texas and the rest of the nation. We're thrilled to bring the conversation to Strict Scrutiny listeners as well.

The Supreme Court is gearing up to hear challenges to some state laws restricting abortion, including a case from Mississippi that directly challenges the 1973 precedent set in Roe v. Wade. Given the court?s conservative super majority, many legal experts are warning that access to abortion may hang on Congressional action. The Women?s Health Protection Act, a bill that could legally enshrine the right to abortion care, passed the House on September 24th but faces a battle in the Senate.

Melissa's co-panelists are Imani Gandy, senior editor at the Rewire News Group and co-host of the podcast Boom! Lawyered, and Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, senior staff attorney at the ACLU?s Reproductive Freedom Project. Molly Kaplan hosts.

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Self-Own Sam

Professor Lisa Eskow joins the podcast to discuss some Justices? willingness to engage in ecclesiastical whack-a-mole in Ramirez v. Collier. There are also birthday wishes, Big Bird (and other birds), kale shops, and more!

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Have They Heard of Frat Houses?

Leah talks to Ahilan Arulanantham about the argument in FBI v. Fazaga, the case challenging the government?s surveillance of the Muslim community in Southern California.

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Arbitration Rat

Melissa, Leah, & Kate recap the remaining cases from the first week of November -- and focus on Houston Community College and NYSRPA v. Bruen, which raises the question whether NYU has a campus. (It does.)

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Foreign in a Domestic Sense

Kate speaks with Juan Perla and Neil Weare about United States v. Vaello-Madero, which will be argued before the Supreme Court on November 9th. US citizens who are otherwise eligible for SSI benefits are denied solely because they live in Puerto Rico-- a US territory. Does this denial violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment?

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Some Geniuses

Kate, Melissa, and Leah recap the oral arguments in the S.B. 8 cases on Monday, November 1st.

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That?s Just Like, Your Opinion, Man

Kate, Melissa, and Leah preview the whopper first week of the November sitting. They are joined by Joseph Blocher, Professor of Law at Duke Law, to discuss NYSRPA v. Bruen.

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Fatally Unequal

Melissa talks with Carol Anderson about her book, The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America. This event originally aired as a program by the Commonwealth Club of California back in July, and we're excited to bring it to Strict Scrutiny listeners ahead of Supreme Court arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen on November 3rd.

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Watch This Space

A quick breakdown on what the Court did and didn?t do today (Friday, October 22) in the cases against Texas's S.B. 8, which prohibits abortion 6 week's after the pregnant person's last period.

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Per My Last Email

Kate, Melissa, and Leah recap the last week of the October sitting and some developments in the S.B. 8 litigation.

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Latte Liberal

Melissa, Leah, and Kate recap the first week of the October sitting.

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Troll World Tour

Dahlia Lithwick joins us for a preview of this monster term, and a breakdown of ? that Alito speech.

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Hashtag YOLO

Recorded in partnership with the 2021 Texas Tribune festival, Dahlia Lithwick joins us to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court?s busy summer and do a lightening-round preview of 2.5 cases on the docket for the Court?s upcoming term. 

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Sounds Legit

Leah is joined by Jeannie Suk Gersen and Deeva Shah to discuss an important case, Roe v. United States, about the procedures for addressing workplace misconduct in the federal courts.

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Meager Sentences

Kate and Leah are joined by Elizabeth Wydra and Aaron Reichlin-Melnick to discuss more of the Supreme Court's orders coming out of the shadow docket. First up is the Migrant Protection Protocol, also known as the "Remain in Mexico" program from the Trump Administration. Then it's a look at the Court's decision to vacate the CDC's latest eviction moratorium, which allows evictions to resume. Both orders ruled against the Biden administration and were divided along ideological lines. 

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Messing with Texas

Leah, Melissa, and Kate reconvene for another emergency podcast on Texas SB8, which is now being challenged by the federal government. Y?all, they are messing with Texas!

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Untitled Dating Show

It?s law school advice time, Strict Scrutiny style! Melissa and Leah chat with Mark Moran, graduate of UVA Law and contestant on FBoy Island, for the first ever Strict Scrutiny x FBoy Island Crossover. What can law school teach you about reality TV, and reality TV teach you about law school? A lot, it turns out?.

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Flagrantly Unconstitutional

Melissa, Kate, & Leah get together again to discuss the Supreme Court?s decision in the Texas SB8 case, what is happening now in Texas, and what might happen still with the law.

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Message Received

Commander Professor Steve Vladeck joins us for an emergency episode about SB8, the most restrictive abortion law that has been allowed to go into effect since Roe v. Wade.

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Sexual Justice

Kate and Leah talk with Alexandra Brodsky, founding co-director of Know Your IX and author of Sexual Justice: Supporting Victims, Ensuring Due Process, and Resisting the Conservative Backlash.

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How Rights Went Wrong

Kate and Leah talk with Jamal Greene about his new book, How Rights Went Wrong: Why Our Obsession with Rights is Tearing America Apart

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Open Wound

Melissa talks reparations with Katherine Franke, Columbia Law Professor and author of Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition.

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Superminority Status

Melissa and Leah are joined by Easha Anand (MacArthur Justice Center) and Kate Levine (Cardozo University School of Law) to recap the big criminal law cases from last term.

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Born Tired

In collaboration with The Appellate Project, Leah, Kate, and Melissa talk to Debo Adegbile and Bruce Spiva about voting rights and diversity in the appellate bar.

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Anti-Democratic Super Weapon

It?s Supreme Court reform summer! On this episode, Leah talks to Professor Nikolas Bowie about his testimony to the Presidential commission on the Supreme Court and whether we have or should have a democracy.

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Justice, Justice Thou Shalt Pursue

Melissa interviews Berkeley Law Professor Amanda Tyler about the book she co-wrote with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice, Justice, Thou Shalt Pursue. The book includes Justice Ginsburg's favorite opinions she authored, along with stories of her life, family, and career. Professor Tyler shares some of those stories as well as reflections on her working relationship and friendship with the justice. This conversation was originally an event put on by The Beverly Hills Bar Association and Writers Bloc Presents.

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Roses & Thorns

It?s here ? our term recap! We go over all the roses and thorns from OT2020, or at least as much as we have time for in this jam-packed episode.

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Textually Challenged

For a further break down of the opinion that is definitely not necessary to enforce the Voting Rights Act (Brnovich v. DNC), Leah is joined by two voting rights experts, Professors Nick Stephanopoulos and Franita Tolson, who offer their thoughts on (among other things) what music Justice Alito was listening to while writing Brnovich and who he was talking to as well.

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An Insult to History

With SCOTUS finishing in July, Leah recaps the end of the term (end of democracy?) cases, Brnovich and Americans for Prosperity, with law of democracy experts Wilfred Codrington and Rick Hasen.

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Tired of These Fools

On June 23rd, we joined the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, together with the Western District of Washington Federal Bar Association, for a ?SCOTUS in FOCUS? event moderated by Cynthia Jones, the program chair of the Society.

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Comrade Thomas

Kate and Leah recap the big FRIDAY, FRIDAY at the Supreme Court -- two statutory interpretation cases (Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation and Hollyfrontier Cheyenne Refining Co), and a major standing case (TransUnion v. Ramirez).

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Cheerleaders for Democracy

Kate and Leah recap four opinions: Lange v. California; Mahanoy Area School District v. BL; Collins v. Yellen; and Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid.

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Love and Basketball

Leah and Melissa do a quick dash through Monday?s opinions in Arthrex, NCAA v. Alston, and Goldman v. Arkansas Teacher Retirement Systems and a quick note on Nestle v. Doe before allowing Leah time to work out some feelings on Justice Alito?s dissent in the ACA case.

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Amuse Bouche

Kate and Melissa recap two opinions, California v. Texas (the ACA case) and Fulton v. City of Philadelphia (Masterpiece Cakeshop redux). For the latter, Katherine Franke joins with historical context and insights.

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State Courts Are Where It's At

Leah, Kate, and Melissa recap an important CVSG, the Court?s opinions (in Gary, Greer, and Terry), and a major Wisconsin Supreme Court case!

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