News & Politics

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

WNYC Studios

+253 FANS

Radiolab’s More Perfect is a series about the Supreme Court. More Perfect explores how cases inside the rarefied world of the Supreme Court affect our lives far away from the bench. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other great podc...Show More

Best
Newest
Looking for recently uploaded episodes
Who’s Gerry and Why Is He So Bad at Drawing Maps?

21:12 | Oct 3rd, 2017

“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 ...Show More

Kittens Kick The Giggly Blue Robot All Summer

36:31 | Jul 1st, 2016

We think of the Supreme Court justices as all-powerful beings, issuing momentous rulings from on high. But they haven’t always been so, you know, supreme. On this episode, we go all the way back to the case that, in a lot of ways, started it all.

The Architect

34:14 | Dec 7th, 2017

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 cas...Show More

Citizens United

1:00:36 | Nov 2nd, 2017

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 ma...Show More

Sex Appeal

55:48 | Nov 23rd, 2017

“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...Show More

The Hate Debate

36:19 | Nov 6th, 2017

Should you be able to say and do whatever you want online? And if not, who should police this? More Perfect hosts a debate about online hate speech, fake news and whether the First Amendment needs an update for the digital age.

Enemy of Mankind

54:36 | Oct 24th, 2017

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 wom...Show More

Justice, Interrupted

24:17 | Dec 19th, 2017

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...Show More

The Gun Show

1:09:43 | Oct 12th, 2017

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 ow...Show More

The Imperfect Plaintiffs

57:03 | Sep 28th, 2017

Last year, the court decided 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...Show More

More Perfect presents: Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl

42:21 | Jun 17th, 2016

On this episode, a three-year-old girl and the highest court in the land. From the Radiolab archives, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl is the story that inspired More Perfect's creation.

The Political Thicket

42:22 | Jun 10th, 2016

The question of how much power the Supreme Court should possess has divided justices over time. But the issue was perhaps never more hotly debated than in Baker v. Carr. On this episode of More Perfect, we talk about the case that pushed one Supreme ...Show More

American Pendulum Reprise

46:18 | Jun 26th, 2018

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, f...Show More

One Nation, Under Money

52:13 | Jan 30th, 2018

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 g...Show More

Mr. Graham and the Reasonable Man

1:08:09 | Nov 30th, 2017

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 ...Show More

American Pendulum II

31:56 | Oct 2nd, 2017

In this episode of More Perfect, how 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 ...Show More

American Pendulum I

46:10 | Oct 1st, 2017

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 Fr...Show More

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 9

23:48 | Dec 4th, 2018

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. Th...Show More

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 8

30:53 | Nov 30th, 2018

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. Th...Show More

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 7

41:27 | Nov 20th, 2018

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. Th...Show More

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 6

26:16 | Nov 14th, 2018

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. Th...Show More

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 5

29:53 | Oct 24th, 2018

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. Th...Show More

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 4

42:34 | Oct 12th, 2018

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. Th...Show More

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 3

33:31 | Oct 2nd, 2018

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. Th...Show More

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 2

28:22 | Sep 25th, 2018

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. Th...Show More

The Gun Show Reprise

1:09:24 | Sep 19th, 2018

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 gu...Show More

Lyrics to 3rd Amendment by They Might Be Giants

0:00 | Sep 18th, 2018

Listen to the full song at themostperfectalbum.org   At the bottom of the kitchen trash I found the empty container of take out food With my name clearly written on it Following a trail of footsteps from the standing water in the bathroom I discovere...Show More

Lyrics to 3rd Amendment by Palehound

0:00 | Sep 18th, 2018

Listen to the full song at themostperfectalbum.org You call for a place to lay down I’ve got no use for you sprawling out With blood on your mind You will have to stay outside You shoot your guns in my backyard You crush my flowers and scar the lawn ...Show More

Lyrics to 2nd Amendment by Sateen

0:00 | Sep 18th, 2018

Listen to the song on themostperfectalbum.org   A warm day, Warm day in winter A senseless violence couldn't have been simpler   The truth is We can’t turn back time And bring back lives Don’t let them be killed in vain We have to make a change   He ...Show More

Lyrics to 2nd Amendment by Flor de Toloache

0:00 | Sep 18th, 2018

Listen to the song on themostperfectalbum.org   Hoy el tema es el cohete, (Today’s theme is the gun,) That notorious juguete. (toy.) You should know what you’re defending When you second the amendment.   To bear and keep your arms Is your right here ...Show More

Lyrics to 2nd Amendment by Michael Richard Klics

0:00 | Sep 18th, 2018

Listen to the song on themostperfectalbum.org   What’s not found on the ballad may be better seen, Staring down the barrel instead, For the defense of the nation from the monarchy, An army lie sleepin’ bestead, Let’s clear the tree line, Watch the se...Show More

Lyrics to 1st Amendment by Cherry Glazerr

0:00 | Sep 18th, 2018

Listen to the song on themostperfectalbum.org    She and I are miles apart but I can feel her beating heart I melt away when i read her words on the page   I don’t know his family he and i, we feel the same I came across his story on the page And i a...Show More

Lyrics to 1st Amendment by Joey Stylez

0:00 | Sep 18th, 2018

Listen to the song on themostperfectalbum.org    Chorus I’m seeing ghosts, every move I make, They can’t break me , they can’t break me, I can feel the spirit of the drum, This worlds my turf all that’s under the sun, I can feel the spirit of the dru...Show More

The Most Perfect Album: Episode 1

39:03 | Sep 18th, 2018

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. Th...Show More

We've Got a Surprise For You

02:31 | Sep 11th, 2018

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 Burn...Show More

The Heist

21:03 | Oct 16th, 2017

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 ...Show More

Object Anyway

57:03 | Sep 29th, 2017

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 ...Show More

We're Back

01:23 | Sep 28th, 2017

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.

The Political Thicket

57:01 | Sep 26th, 2017

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’...Show More

Kittens Kick The Giggly Blue Robot All Summer

57:03 | Sep 25th, 2017

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 k...Show More

Object Anyway

48:16 | Jul 16th, 2016

At the trial of James Batson in 1983, 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 ...Show More

The Imperfect Plaintiffs

1:03:25 | Jun 28th, 2016

On this episode, we visit Edward Blum, a 64-year-old “legal entrepreneur” and former stockbroker who has become something of a Supreme Court matchmaker. He’s had remarkable success, with 6 cases heard before the Supreme Court, including that of Abiga...Show More

Cruel and Unusual

40:11 | Jun 2nd, 2016

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.” The Supreme Court has continually grappled with what these words mean, especially as they pertain to ...Show More