September 6, 2018 / 7:18 PM / 2 months ago

On The Case: A podcast by Alison Frankel

Episode seven: The trillion-dollar question: Can private lawyers hold drug companies accountable for the opioid epidemic?

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Cities, states and counties across the country have hired private lawyers to sue the pharmaceutical companies that they blame for the addiction crisis that has cost tens of thousands of lives – and billions of dollars. One of the leaders of the private litigation, Paul Hanly, discusses why he thinks it’s okay for lawyers with a profit motive to step in when governments can’t otherwise afford to hold defendants accountable.

Episode six: Free speech vs. government regulation on the Internet

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Congress and the White House are talking about regulating Google, Twitter, Facebook and other internet content companies. First Amendment guru Eugene Volokh – who predicted the Babel of voices on the internet more than 20 years ago – explains why search engine and social media companies are (mostly) protected from government interference.

Episode five: Meanwhile, back at 1 First Street

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Even as the furor over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation continues to build, the court is trying to conduct business as usual. We get the inside skinny from Supreme Court lawyer (and former Antonin Scalia clerk) Kannon Shanmugam about what it’s like to prepare cases when you don’t know exactly who will be on the court when you argue them.

Episode four: Can the president control the Justice Department?

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Donald Trump is challenging the independence of the Justice Department in unprecedented ways – and neither the U.S. Constitution nor Congress has set explicit limits on presidential authority over federal prosecutors. But law professor and historian Rebecca Roiphe contends the rule of law will ultimately prevail.

Episode three: Courting Change - Trump’s impact on the federal appellate courts

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While all eyes are on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, this is far from the full story of Trump’s impact on the federal judiciary. In less than two years, Trump has appointed 26 judges to the 13 Courts of Appeals – a record pace. Reuters legal columnist Alison Frankel talks to Arthur Hellman, a law professor and expert on the federal courts, about Trump’s picks to the appellate bench and how his appointments could impact the balance of power of Democratic and Republican-appointed judges.

Episode two: Is America actually safer because you can’t sue gunmakers over mass shootings?

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State and federal laws make it almost impossible to hold gunmakers accountable when killers go on murderous sprees. Shooting victims’ families are fighting an uphill battle to get around those rules. But, in this episode, a top lawyer for the firearms industry makes the case that it hasn’t received any special protection – and that crime is actually down since gun immunity laws were passed.

Episode one: When the president wants you to just shut up

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What do NFL protesters, Omarosa and John Brennan have in common? President Donald Trump wants them all to shut up. But the president’s efforts to control what people say about him open up thorny questions about the First Amendment, employment law and national security. Reuters legal columnist Alison Frankel talks to Alex Abdo, senior staff attorney at Columbia University’s Knight Institute, to make sense of it all.

The First Amendment, gun litigation, President Donald Trump’s impact on the judiciary: The hurricane of daily legal news seems to never let up. A new podcast series from Reuters columnist Alison Frankel goes right into the eye of the storm, talking about law and precedent with experts who know their stuff inside and out.

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