Early Returns Podcast with Jan Baran: The Honorable Thomas Griffith – Judiciously Ruling in the Face of Politics

Early Returns - Law and Politics with Jan Baran

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It appears that policy changes are being resolved in the courts, and most specifically at the Supreme Court.  If we look at recent court decisions involving abortion, the Affordable Care Act, Environmental Protection Act and gun rights, many people believe these decisions are politically motivated, especially when the politicians and media help to plant that seed by branding each Justice as liberal or conservative partisans.  

In this episode, Jan speaks with the Honorable Thomas Griffith, former judge for the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  They discuss when law becomes political and when politics becomes legal.  They examine how politics affects the legal process and how the legal system tries to rule honorably in the face of politics and political issues. 

A previous Early Returns guest, POLITICO senior legal affairs reporter Josh Gerstein, recently offered some thoughts during an award acceptance speech:  “It often seems like litigation is replacing legislation as the preferred means of advancing one’s agenda in this country.”  Jan asks: “Is litigation replacing legislation?  What would someone from the judiciary say about that?”  Judge Griffith shares his experiences being on the bench for 15 years and his views on how the media, politics, and a divided country fuel perceptions of the courts and its decisions.

Listen to the episode here.