Law and Disorder Radio

Law and Disorder November 12, 2018

Update: Hosts Discuss U.S. Primary Election



Trump’s Judges Imperil Our Rights for Decades

In less than two years, Donald Trump has two installed not one, but two, right-wing justices on the Supreme Court, ensuring a conservative majority for decades to come.

Republican congressional leadership appropriated (stole?) a high Court appointment from Barack Obama and appointed Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch has cast the deciding vote in 14 cases that hurt workers, consumers, voters, immigrants and reproductive rights, while upholding abuses of government authority. Notably, he cast the deciding vote to uphold Trump’s Muslim travel ban in Trump v. Hawaii.

Republicans then pushed through the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, who lied under oath and displayed conduct unbecoming a Justice. Just as Gorsuch has upheld the views of conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation backers, Kavanaugh will surely do the same.

The public is less aware, however, of Trump’s systematic appointment of 29 right-wing judges on the federal circuit courts of appeals. And he hopes to appoint even more by year-end. These circuit court appointees have handed down regressive decisions favoring interests of the rich and upholding unlimited spending in politics. Judges who sit on the circuit courts wield enormous power because most cases are resolved at that level.

Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, for example, voted in one case to allow a corporation to racially segregate its workplace. She also rejected the asylum claim of an immigrant who alleged he was tortured, without even considering the case merits. In the Sixth Circuit Judge Amul Thapar voted to allow public officials to lead Christian-only prayers at public Board of Commissioners meetings.

These decisions are just the tip of the iceberg.

Guest – Attorney Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she taught for 25 years. The former president of the National Lawyers Guild and criminal defense attorney is a legal scholar and political analyst who writes books and articles, and lectures throughout the world about human rights, US foreign policy, and the contradiction between the two. She has testified before Congress and debated the legality of the war in Afghanistan at the prestigious Oxford Union. Her columns appear on Truthout, HuffPost, JURIST, Truthdig, Portside, Alternet, CommonDreams and Consortium News, and she has provided commentary for CBS News, BBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, NPR and Pacifica Radio. Her website is



The Nature of American Fascism

One hundred and eleven years ago American socialist and famed novelist Jack London in his book “The Iron Heel” anticipated what we are seeing developing in the USA today. He wrote “There is a shadow of something colossal and menacing that even now is beginning to fall across the land. Call it the shadow of an oligarchy if you will; it is the nearest I dare approximate it. What its nature may be I refuse to imagine. But what I wanted to say was this: you are in a perilous position.“

With our experience with fascism in the 20th century in Germany and Italy and with what we see developing in the USA right now we can clearly imagine what American fascism would look like.

– Socialism would be illegal and it’s proponents imprisoned
– Labor unions would be totally illuminated as an organization for those without property
– Quality public education would be further reduced
– The independence of public universities would be totally undermined
– Billions of dollars would continually being devoted to slick propaganda
– Much of traditional government functions with the exception of the police and the armed forces would be privatized
– The media and the Internet would be put under direct government control
– Minorities, blacks, Muslims, Jews, Mexicans, and LBGTQ people would be scapegoated for societies’ills.
– Women would be denied control over their own bodies
– Church and state would no longer be separated
– The rule of law would be cast aside.

Fascism doesn’t just doesn’t descend on us all at once like the falling of a dark curtain. It creeps in. It has been creeping in over the last 40 years of neoliberalism and with the rise of the ultra right who have taken over the Republican Party. All this was topped off to years ago with the election of Trump. In the last two weeks it has gotten even worse. Two black people were assassinated in Kentucky, 11 Jews were slaughtered inside there Pittsburgh synagogue, Trump canceled a nuclear non-proliferation pact with Russia, he declared himself a nationalist, really a white nationalist, and then sent 14,000 troops to the Mexican border to prevent desperate mostly women and children walking north from Honduras from claiming their lawful ride to asylum, and then he threatened to cancel birthright citizenship, a right guaranteed by the 14th amendment to our constitution.

We know which fascism looks like. We have identified it. But what do we do to fight it?

Guest – Barry Sheppard, is a political writer from Oakland California, a longtime socialist, activist, and author. Contact email:



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