The Modern Law Library


Will big-data tools make policing less biased—or violate people’s rights? (podcast)

One day, there is a knock at the door, and you are handed a letter. The letter lists your friends, your activities, and the possible legal consequences you might face for those activities. The letter also says that you may be the next to be shot—or to kill someone else.

What can we learn from the history of interracial relationships in America? (podcast)

Richard and Mildred Loving did not set out to be civil rights pioneers. But in 1958, police burst into their home and arrested them for violating the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. Richard was white, and Mildred was not. They were legally married in Washington, D.C., but that did not protect them in Virginia. After years of living in virtual exile from their home state to avoid prison time, the Lovings looked to the courts for relief. And 50 years ago this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court granted that relief in Loving v. Virginia, striking down Virginia's law against interracial marriage and declaring that the freedom to marry is "one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men."

How the author of ‘The Forgotten Flight’ fought for justice for terror victims’ families (podcast)

If you mention a terrorist attack in which a Libyan suitcase bomb brought down an airliner, most people will be quick to remember Pan Am Flight 103, which crashed on Dec. 21, 1988 in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. But there is another, similar attack that happened nine months later, on Sept. 19, 1989.

First Amendment defender Floyd Abrams warns of threats to free speech in ‘fake news’ era (podcast)

The rights to free speech and freedom of the press were guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. But when it was first passed—and for its first hundred or so years—the First Amendment was not the robust defense we think of today.

Legendary civil rights attorney Floyd Abrams joins the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles to discuss his book The Soul of the First Amendment in this episode of the Modern Law Library.

Book Review: A beach read for lawyers entitled ‘Beach Lawyer’

You know after a breakup when your family tells you “the right one will come along?” You begrudgingly take their advice with the proverbial grain of salt because even though…

Merriam-Webster editor shares the ‘Secret Life of Dictionaries’ (podcast)

What do lawyers and lexicographers have in common? The main job of both is to determine the meaning of words.

In this episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles talks with Kory Stamper about her work as a lexicographer and editor for Merriam-Webster; her new book, Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries; and her position as chief defender of the word "irregardless."

Meet this year’s finalists for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction (podcast)

In this special mega-episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles speaks with all three finalists for this year's Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction about their novels, careers—and the first time they remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird.

How government actions, not personal choices, created segregated neighborhoods (podcast)

Richard Rothstein spent years studying why schools remained de facto segregated after Brown v. Board of Education. He came to believe that the problem of segregated schools could not be solved until the problem of segregated neighborhoods was addressed—and that neighborhoods were de jure segregated, not de facto.

David Grann uncovers conspiracy behind 1920s murders of members of oil-rich Osage Nation (podcast)

Although the Osage Nation had been forced from their ancestral lands by the U.S. government, through shrewd and careful bargaining, they retained the mineral rights to one of the richest oil fields in the world: Osage County, Oklahoma.

But the wealth of the Osage Nation, instead of insuring the prosperity and safety of the tribe, made its members targets for what was later known as the Reign of Terror. The task of solving dozens of murders fell in the 1920s to the newly formed FBI and its young director, J. Edgar Hoover.

How a Chinese-American family challenged school segregation in 1920s Mississippi (podcast)

Book cover

Almost 30 years before Linda Brown and her parents took on the Topeka Board of Education in Brown v. Board of

Should bystanders have a legal duty to intervene? Holocaust scholar weighs in (podcast)

If you are a bystander and witness a crime, should intervention be a legal obligation? Or is moral responsibility enough?

Is it time to rethink solitary confinement? (podcast)

In the 1960s and 1970s, a series of deadly prison riots convinced corrections officials that long-term solitary confinement was the only solution to control the “worst of the worst.” Supermax…

Book Review: ‘Baby You’re a Rich Man’

Being the pioneers of something almost automatically means not everything will be done to the standards you’ve yet to create. So, it should come as no surprise the now-legendary Beatles…

In novel ‘Al-Tounsi,’ author looks at US Supreme Court through a human lens (podcast)

In his debut novel Al-Tounsi, critically acclaimed Canadian-American author and playwright Anton Piatigorsky tells the behind-the-scenes story of U.S. Supreme Court justices as they consider a landmark case involving the rights of detainees held in a Guantanamo Bay-like overseas military base. It explores how the personal lives, career rivalries, and political sympathies of these legal titans blend with their philosophies to create the most important legal decisions of our time.

What can neuroscience tell us about crime? (podcast)

Paul Goldstein skewers law school politics in new satirical novel ‘Legal Asylum’ (podcast)

Alberto Gonzales reflects back on Bush administration and gives his advice for Trump staff (podcast)

The Hon. Alberto R. Gonzales rose from humble beginnings in Humble, Texas, to some of the highest legal positions in the country as White House counsel and U.S. attorney general under President George W. Bush.

Was this lawyer-turned-WWII-spy the basis for James Bond? (podcast)

In a different time, Dusko Popov might have enjoyed the life of a Serbian playboy without the interruption of espionage, subterfuge and violence.

But from the early days of World…

What can past presidential history teach us about today? (podcast)

The law is not Dallas attorney Talmage Boston's only love. He's had a fascination with presidential history since he was 7 years old.

John Lennon’s lawyer explains how musician’s deportation case changed immigration law (podcast)

When immigration attorney Leon Wildes got a call from an old law school classmate in January 1972 about representing a musician and his wife who were facing deportation, their names didn't ring a bell.

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