5-4 logo

5-4 Pod



Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency76

What's the return on investment on not having an asthma attack? If you can't count it, it doesn't count, according to the majority in this 5-4 ruling, which turned back EPA rules on mercury emissions from power plants. As a result, the power industry won't be burdened by those costly regulations, so you can breathe easy. LOL.

'This Is A Captured Institution' - An Interview with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse75

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) joins us to talk dark money, judicial nominations, and whether the Democrats have any hope of getting things done without filibuster reform.

Hamdi v. Rumsfeld74

A foreign 'prisoner of war' can communicate with their family. An American 'traitor' can argue their case in court. An American 'enemy combatant' can do neither, according to the Supreme Court, creating a third category of prisoner with very few legal rights. America immediately post-9/11 was very chill and normal.

Younger v. Harris73

Oof, this is a tough one: Protect the Constitutional rights of actual people, or clutch the vague concept of 'federalism' in my grubby little hands like Gollum with that ring. TBH probably gonna go with my precious.

2021-2022 Supreme Court Term Preview72

The 2022 Supreme Court term is shaping up to be pretty gnarly. We brought on The Nation's justice correspondent, Elie Mystal, to walk us through the cases he's watching.

Nieves v. Bartlett71

This case originates out of an incident at opposite Burning Man, a ski race in Alaska called Arctic Man. The ruling is about opposite free speech, wherein the justices vote to protect cops' First Amendment right to accidentally say the quiet part out loud when they're doing a retaliatory arrest.

Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl70

A treaty or law not honored by the United States? It's more likely than you think! In a rare child custody case, the Supreme Court rules on the Indian Child Welfare Act, and finds that when you squint your eyes and look at the law kinda sideways in the dark, Congress must not have meant for the law to actually keep Native families together. Land back

SB8: Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson69

In this emergency episode, the hosts discuss Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, the case where the Supreme Court declined to stay SB8. SB8 is the monstrous Texas law that allows anyone to sue anyone who even intends to help someone get an abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy. The effect is that while very early term abortions are still legal in Texas, private individuals have been deputized to bounty hunt abortion providers, activists, and even Uber drivers.

Welcome to Law School68

What, like it's hard? This one goes out to all those incoming, current and former Elle Woodses. You're doing amazing sweetie!

Nestlé v. Doe67

Is it wrong to enslave children on a cocoa plantation? We'll never know! The Supreme Court dismissed the case!

Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta66

The First Amendment protects the rights of very rich people to be anonymous, unbothered, moisturized, in their lane, well-hydrated, flourishing, when it comes to their charitable contributions. Not you though. Signing that petition to free Mumia in 11th grade is going on your permanent record.

Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee65

In this voting rights case from Arizona, the Supreme Court says you can DO racism, you just can't MEAN to do racism, deep down in your cold little withered heart.

Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid64

You know what's exactly the same? When the government kicks you out of your house so it can build a military base, and when a union organizer gives a farm worker a pamphlet. Or at least that's what the majority of justices on the Supreme Court think, based on the ruling in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid. We want to know what you think about 5-4 - give us your feedback on this survey!

Fulton v. Philadelphia63

In this emergency episode, the hosts discuss one of the spiciest cases from this term, Fulton v. Philadelphia. And you know how conservatives hate spice, so suffice it to say, this holding didn't come out great!

Meet Nick Wallace62

Congrats grads! Our gift to you is an interview with Nick Wallace. Nick is the former Stanford law student who was threatened with having his diploma withheld because the snowflakes in his campus' Federalist Society were triggered.

Smith v. Maryland61

Warrantless police surveillance of your telephone is A-OK, according to the holding in Smith v. Maryland - as long as the cops only look at WHO you call, not WHAT you say.

5-4 x Even More News - Abortion Rights60

The hosts join Katy Stoll and Cody Johnston from Even More News, to talk about what the Supreme Court's decision to hear a Mississippi abortion ban case means.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes59

The hosts discuss a case in which the Supreme Court denied 'class' status to female Wal-Mart employees in a gender discrimination class action, proving in this 5-4 decision that boys will be boys.

Jones v. Mississippi58

The hosts discuss the 8th Amendment and juvenile life without parole, and the tension between modern neuroscience, and the conservative impulse to maintain 200-year-old traditions of punishment.

Get Us to Seven feat. Rep. Mondaire Jones57

The hosts are joined by Rep. Mondaire Jones to discuss the Judiciary Act of 2021, Supreme Court reform, and the Biden Commission.

Bowles v. Russell56

The hosts are joined by Josie Duffy Rice and Jay Willis of The Appeal, to discuss 'Worst Supreme Court Justice of All Time' bracketology, and simple arithmetic. This week's case is Bowles v. Russell, in which the petitioner sought to have his appeal heard because a judge had miscalculated a deadline, and his lawyer had the audacity to adhere to it. The court denied the petitioner, citing 'rules are rules, even when they aren't actually rules.'

Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board55

The hosts discuss Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a 5-4 decision in which the Supreme Court denied a worker back pay that he was owed after being unlawfully terminated for union organizing, citing his lack of authorization to work in the United States. The decision completely rejected the ruling of the NLRB, guidance from the Department of Justice, standing immigration law, and basic human decency.

5-4 x Even More News54

The hosts appear on Even More News, with hosts Katy Stoll and Cody Johnston, to talk about voting rights cases at the Supreme Court, and H.R.1.

Connick v. Thompson53

The hosts discuss Connick v. Thompson, a 5-4 decision in which the Supreme Court holds that a conspiracy to convict an innocent man, by systematically withholding evidence that could prove his innocence, does not constitute a 'pattern.' Where's your dictionary now, Scalia?

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky Inc. v. Williams52

The hosts discuss Toyota Motor Manufacturing v. Williams,where the Supreme Court unanimously narrowed the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

San Antonio ISD v. Rodriguez ft. Alec Karakatsanis51

The hosts are joined by Alec Karakatsanis (@equalityAlec), founder and executive director of Civil Rights Corps, and the author of Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System. They discuss San Antonio ISD v Rodriguez, an equal protection case from 1973, which is widely cited by conservatives as holding that the equal protection clause does not protect impoverished people. The hosts beg to differ.

McCleskey v. Kemp ft. Josie Duffy Rice50

The hosts are joined by Josie Duffy Rice of The Appeal to discuss another death penalty case — McCleskey v. Kemp. In this 1987 decision, the Supreme Court held that statistical evidence of systemic racial disparities is not enough to prove discrimination. Instead, defendants have to show that individual prosecutors, judges or juries pursued them with racist intent. As a result, states were basically let off the hook for perpetuating systemic racism in death penalty cases.

Atkins v. Virginia49

The hosts discuss Atkins v. Virginia, a case in which the Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional to impose the death penalty on people with intellectual disabilities. But the Court also created a loophole by allowing states to decide the standard for who qualifies as intellectually disabled. As a result of the Court’s lack of clarity, some states have continued to execute people with intellectual disabilities to this day.

US v. Morrison48

The hosts discuss a case in which the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that allowed women to sue abusers in federal court for damages. In the process, the Court constrained the ability of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not only weakening an important civil rights law, but also making it more difficult for Congress to pass progressive legislation going forward.

Navarette v. California47

Your hosts discuss Navarette v. California, which held that an unverified anonymous tip about reckless driving could be sufficient grounds for the police to pull over a car. The case exemplifies how deferential the Supreme Court is to police power, and has resulted in an increased reliance on anonymous tips by the cops, and a corresponding erosion of citizens’ privacy rights.

Morse v. Frederick46

In 2002, a student held up a banner that said “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” at an Olympic torch relay, in full view of his classmates and teachers. When he was suspended, he claimed his banner was protected free speech under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court disagreed. In this episode, your hosts discuss the contours of student free speech, the Court’s puritanical moralizing on marijuana, and the importance of absurdist speech in creating real change.

The Rise and Fall of Roe v. Wade, Pt. 245

In the second part of a two-episode series on abortion rights, the hosts discuss Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 case in which the Supreme Court made it easier for states to restrict abortion access so long as abortion regulations don’t create an “undue burden.” The vague standard set lawmakers on a new path of attacking abortion access and fueled anti-abortion groups’ efforts to spread stigma and misinformation, setting up Roe v. Wade for a death by a thousand cuts.

The Rise and Fall of Roe v. Wade, Pt. 144

The hosts take on one of the Supreme Court’s most famous decisions, Roe v. Wade. In this first episode of a two-part series, they look at the legal and factual origins of Roe v. Wade. They also discuss how Roe was weaponized by the conservative legal movement to rally against an interpretation of the Constitution that allows for flexibility in favor of a far more rigid approach.

5-4 x Know Your Enemy43

Peter, Rhiannon, and Michael join the hosts of the podcast Know Your Enemy for a conversation about the conservative legal movement. They discuss the origins of conservative doctrines like originalism and textualism, and the rise of the Federalist Society from a small group of conservative students and academics to an organization whose members constitute the majority of the Supreme Court.

Herrera v. Collins42

The hosts take on a 1993 death penalty case that has been called one of the worst decisions in capital punishment jurisprudence. Herrera v. Collins asks whether someone on death row can have new evidence of their innocence reviewed in federal habeas corpus proceedings, often the last resort for someone who has exhausted their appeals. In a 6-to-3 vote, the Court rejected the claim, barely shying away from holding that the Constitution does not protect against an innocent person being executed.

Roman Catholic Diocese v. Cuomo41

The hosts discuss Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, a recent case about COVID-19-related restrictions on religious gatherings. In it, the Supreme Court struck down hard capacity caps on religious gatherings in high-risk areas. The case has already spawned more challenges to pandemic-related restrictions on religious gatherings and likely foreshadows the expansion of legal exemptions for religious groups.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal40

The hosts discuss Ashcroft v. Iqbal, a 2008 case in which the Court created a new pleading standard for legal complaints that made it much harder for plaintiffs to bring their cases. Here, a Pakistani immigrant who claimed he was detained and tortured in the wake of 9/11 had his case dismissed because, according to the Court, his allegations that Bush administration officials were responsible for his treatment were not “plausible.”

Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett39

The hosts return to examining cases with a little-known campaign finance decision from 2011: Arizona Free Enterprise Club PAC v. Bennett. They discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling, which declared unconstitutional a matching funds program for political candidates who opt out of private fundraising, effectively killing public campaign financing. The hosts also talk about the Trump campaign’s ongoing efforts -- in the courts and otherwise -- to contest the results of the 2020 election, and how likely they are to affect the Biden victory.

The Courts Can't Save Him38

The hosts look back at the week-long presidential election, which Joe Biden won. They discuss the challenges mounted by the Trump campaign in various states and explain why none of them is likely to change the outcome of the election. They also reflect on some state-level initiatives and put forth their strategy for how President Biden should deal with a split Senate, especially on matters pertaining to the Supreme Court.

How to Fix the Court feat. Rep Ro Khanna37

The hosts discuss options for reforming the court — from court packing, to term limits for judges, to stripping the court of jurisdiction to hear cases pertaining to new laws. They also speak to Congressman Ro Khanna about court reform, and about the bill he has introduced to limit Supreme Court Justices' tenure. But they remain clear on their preferred option: packing the court to include more liberal justices.

Rucho v. Common Cause36

The hosts reflect on the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings, then move on to discussing gerrymandering, the practice of drawing up voting districts to favor a particular political party. Specifically, they talk about Rucho v. Common Cause, a 2019 case in which the Supreme Court not only refused to rule on two states’ gerrymandered maps, they found all partisan gerrymandering to be outside the purview of the Court going forward.

The Electoral College Coup is Coming35

The hosts discuss the past, present, and future of the Electoral College, and all the ways it could be used to stage a procedural coup in the upcoming election. They also talk about how the Electoral College could be restructured to give greater representation to states with large populations, like California. But if it were up to them, they’d get rid of this undemocratic institution all together, and switch to a system in which the president is chosen by popular vote.

What if Trump Dies?" And Other Questions"34

The hosts discuss the recent news that Donald Trump has contracted COVID-19 and what implications it might have for the upcoming election and the Supreme Court. Then they answer listener questions, covering everything from court reform to how to decide if you should go to law school.

Amy Coney Barrett is a Right Wing Freak33

The hosts talk about Amy Coney Barrett, who has been nominated to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. They discuss the nominee's judicial record, her faith, and what it means to be nominated by President Trump at this time.

What RBG Didn't Understand32

On this week's episode of 5-4, Peter, Rhiannon, and Michael are discussing the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Specifically, the hosts talk about the consequences of RBG's decision not to step down from the Court during Barack Obama's presidency, what that decision tells us about her, and what lies ahead.

LA v. Lyons31

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter, Rhiannon, and Michael are talking about police use of chokeholds. In 1983, the Supreme Court held in City of Los Angeles v. Lyons that a man who had been injured by a brutal police chokehold did not have standing to sue for an injunction—in other words, he could not ask the Court to order the police to stop using chokeholds. The Court’s decision allowed the practice to continue, and chokeholds have been a focus of police reform efforts and protests since then, particularly after the 2014 death of Eric Garner.

Voting Rights30

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter, Rhiannon, and Michael are discussing the right to vote. As the 2020 presidential election draws near, the Trump campaign has already started suing states over the use of mail-in ballots. The hosts talk through the basics of election law history and explain how individual citizens' right to vote is only sort of provided for in the Constitution.

Flood v. Kuhn29

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy) and Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon) are joined by their friend Adam to discuss the 1972 case that exempted professional baseball from antitrust law.

Nielsen v. Preap28

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about the 2019 case that denied immigrants who have committed certain crimes the right to a bond hearing, and illustrated the futility of objectively interpreting the law.

Boys Scouts of America v. Dale27

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about the 2000 case that allowed Boy Scouts to discriminate against gay scout leaders.

Miliken v. Bradley26

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and special guest Leon Neyfakh (@Leoncrawl) discuss the 1974 case that effectively ended school desegregation efforts.

Term Recap: 2019-202025

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) look back at the most recent Supreme Court term.

Bennis v. Michigan24

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about civil forfeiture, the practice that lets police seize private property if it’s suspected of being involved in a crime.

Epic Systems v. Lewis23

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) discuss a decision that let employers pressure workers into signing away their rights to class action suits.

Buckley v. Valeo22

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about campaign finance in Buckley v. Valeo. The decision established that, when it comes to elections, money is speech based on the First Amendment.

Janus v. AFSCME21

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) are joined by special guest Sam Bagenstos, professor at the University of Michigan Law School, to discuss a case that made it harder for unions to collect fees.

Qualified Immunity20

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) examine the doctrine of qualified immunity, which protects police and other officials from being sued for civil rights and other abuses.

Exxon Shipping v. Baker19

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) discuss a decision that limited damages in the case of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in US history. The ruling also capped damages that can be sought in all maritime law cases.

Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia18

On this week’s bonus episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about the Court’s surprise decision affirming that the Civil Rights Act prevents employers from discriminating against people on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The hosts pay special attention to Justice Alito’s special dissent.

Hernandez v. Mesa17

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about a case involving a Border Patrol agent who shot a teenager across the U.S.-Mexico border. The hosts are joined by Steven Vladeck, who argued the case before the Supreme Court on behalf of the victim’s family.

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby16

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about the religious freedoms enjoyed by corporations.

Buck v. Bell15

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) go back to a 1927 case that gave rise to eugenics programs throughout the US.

Tison v. Arizona14

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) discuss a 1987 case on felony murder, and whether it’s eligible for the death penalty.

Clapper v. Amnesty International13

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) discuss a 2013 case that tested the National Security Administration's ability to conduct surveillance on Americans without probable cause.

The Biden Court12

On this week’s episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) discuss what’s at stake for the Supreme Court in the 2020 election, and what the Court might look like under Joe Biden.

DC v. Heller11

On the eleventh episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) discuss the 2008 ruling that granted individuals the right to own guns, breaking with more than a century of precedent.

Kelo v. New London10

On the tenth episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) take aim at the liberals on the Court who ruled that the government can seize people’s land and hand it over to private developers.

Castle Rock v. Gonzalez9

On the ninth episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about a domestic violence case in Colorado that led to the death of three children and a Supreme Court ruling that affirmed a broad vision of police discretion.

Emergency Episode: RNC v. DNC8

On a special episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about the Supreme Court’s decision to block the state of Wisconsin from accepting late absentee ballots in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump v. Hawaii7

On the seventh episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about the 2018 travel ban case, which tested the Supreme Court’s willingness to serve as a check on Donald Trump.

NFIB v. Sebelius6

On the sixth episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) take on the Obamacare ruling in 2012, which isn’t as great as ACA fans might think.

Terry v. Ohio5

On the fifth episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about the 1968 ruling by the Warren Court that that paved the way for stop-and-frisk laws around the country.

Shelby County v. Holder4

On the fourth episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about the 2013 ruling by the Roberts Court that defanged a key component of the Voting Rights Act.

Fisher v. University of Texas3

On the third episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra) talk about the affirmative action case that flipped the Equal Protection Clause on its head.

Citizens United v. FEC2

On the second episode of 5-4, Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra), talk about the 2010 ruling that used the First Amendment as a basis for unleashing corporate spending in politics.

Bush v. Gore1

The debut episode of 5-4, presented by Leon Neyfakh (@leoncrawl) and hosted by Peter (@The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael (@_FleerUltra), focuses on the ruling that ended the 2000 Florida recount and put George W. Bush in the White House.


5-4 is a podcast about how much the Supreme Court sucks. It’s a progressive and occasionally profane take on the ideological battles at the heart of the Court’s most important landmark cases, and an irreverent tour of all the ways in which the law is shaped by politics.

Listen each week as hosts Peter, Michael, and Rhiannon dismantle the Justices’ legal reasoning on hot-button issues like affirmative action, gun rights, and campaign finance, and use dark humor to reveal the high court’s biases.

Presented by Slow Burn co-creator Leon Neyfakh, 5-4 is a production of Prologue Projects.

Our ad partner is Multitude. Contact them here to sponsor an episode of the show.


5-4 Pod