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Government Explained Podcast - is here to provide timely, objective analysis, and present understandable non-partisan information for the everyday person. Each Podcast will resolve around a specific topic and only that topic. The goal of this Podcast is take complex government related topics and turned them into something that all can understand. If updates occur in the future regarding a previous episode, then a new episode will be created with "UPDATED" in the title.
 
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House Committee Hearings: The “Minority Witness Rule” When a House committee or subcommittee holds a hearing, the minority party members of the panel have the right to call witnesses of their choosing to testify on at least one day of that hearing. SUPPORT what we are doing here by contributing to our Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/governmentex…
 
On November 10, 2020, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in California v. Texas (consolidated with the related case Texas v. California), a constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act ’s (ACA’s) individual mandate. The suit also seeks to invalidate the ACA’s many other provisions, which cover a range of issues such as the regulation of p…
 
Article I, Section 7, clause 1, of the U.S. Constitution is known generally as the Origination Clause because it requires that [a]ll bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills. As generally understood, this clause carries two kinds of prohibitions…
 
QUESTION PRESENTED: As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), Congress adopted 26 U.S.C. § 5000A. Section 5000A provided that "applicable individual[s] shall" ensure that they are "covered under minimum essential coverage," 26 U.S.C. § 5000A(a); required any "taxpayer" who did not obtain such coverage to make a "[s]hared resp…
 
QUESTION PRESENTED: The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346(b), 2671 et seq., waives the sovereign immunity of the United States and creates a cause of action for damages for certain torts committed by federal employees "under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with t…
 
QUESTION PRESENTED: The Attorney General can cancel removal of certain immigrants under 8 U.S.C. § 1229b (a) and (b). To be eligible for cancellation of removal, a non-permanent resident must have ten years of continuous presence in the United States, and a permanent resident must have seven years of continuous residence. Id. § 1229b(a)(2), (b)(l)(…
 
Each major party in the House has a leadership hierarchy. This episode summarizes the election, duties, and responsibilities of the Speaker of the House, the majority and minority leaders, and the whips and whip system. The Speaker of the House is elected by the House on the first day of a new Congress. Customarily, the caucus or conference of each…
 
QUESTION PRESENTED: The City of Philadelphia chose to exclude a religious agency from the City's foster care system unless the agency agreed to act and speak in a manner inconsistent with its sincere religious beliefs about marriage. The Third Circuit upheld that action under Employment Division v. Smith. The questions presented are: Whether free e…
 
QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether the Eighth Amendment requires the sentencing authority to make a finding that a juvenile is permanently incorrigible before imposing a sentence of life without parole. SUPPORT what we are doing here by contributing to our Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/supremecourtBy Austin Songer
 
QUESTION PRESENTED: Does the "use of force" clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act (the "ACCA"), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(i) encompass crimes with a mens rea of mere recklessness? Did the district court violate Mr. Borden's due process rights when it applied to his sentencing a newer, more punitive interpretation of law than that which was in forc…
 
QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether, under section 5(f) of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, 45 U.S.C. § 355(f), and section 8 of the Railroad Retirement Act, 45 U.S.C. § 231g, the Railroad Retirement Board's denial of a request to reopen a prior benefits determination is a "final decision" subject to judicial review. SUPPORT what we are doing here …
 
QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether Exemption 5 of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(5) (2012), by incorporating the deliberative process privilege, protects against compelled disclosure a federal agency's draft documents that were prepared as part of a formal interagency consultation process under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1…
 
House Rule 18, clause 2 establishes minimum quorum requirements for eight areas of committee activity. Committees have some discretion in adjusting the minimum quorum requirements mandated in House Rule 11 under the provision in the same rule that committee rules “shall not be inconsistent with the Rules of the House.” For example, rules of the Bud…
 
A special rule is a House resolution that regulates consideration of a specific legislative measure named in the resolution. Members and staff commonly refer to a resolution of this kind simply as “the rule” for considering a measure. A rule has two key functions: (1) to enable the House to consider the measure specified, and (2) to set terms for c…
 
Under House Rule 20, clause 3, the practice of “pairing” involves—under certain procedural circumstances—a Member who is absent during a vote on the House floor arranging with a Member on the opposite side of a specific question who is present during a vote to announce that the present Member is forming a “pair” with the absent Member, thus allowin…
 
The principle of majority rule dominates the work of the House of Representatives. This means that most questions are decided by vote of a simple majority, assuming the presence of a quorum. For instance, if all 435 lawmakers vote, the winning margin is at least 218—one more than half the membership of the House. SUPPORT what we are doing here by c…
 
QUESTION PRESENTED: A noncitizen may not apply for relief from deportation, including asylum and cancellation of removal, if he has been convicted of a disqualifying offense listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act. The categorical approach (including its "modified" variant) governs the analysis of potentially disqualifying convictions. Under …
 
QUESTION PRESENTED: Police officers shot Petitioner, but she drove away and temporarily eluded capture. In this excessive force suit, the district court granted summary judgment for the officers on the ground that no Fourth Amendment "seizure" occurred. The Tenth Circuit affirmed, reasoning that an officer's application of physical force is not a s…
 
19-357 CITY OF CHICAGO V. FULTON DECISION BELOW: 926 F3d. 916 LOWER COURT CASE NUMBER: 18-2527, 18-2793, 18-2835, 18-3023 QUESTION PRESENTED: 1. Whether an entity that is passively retaining possession of property in which a bankruptcy estate has an interest has an affirmative obligation under the Bankruptcy Code's automatic stay, 11 U.S.C § 362, t…
 
19-108 UNITED STATES V. BRIGGS DECISION BELOW: 78 M.J. 289 LOWER COURT CASE NUMBER: 16-0711 QUESTION PRESENTED: 1. Whether the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces erred in concluding-contrary to its own longstanding precedent-that the Uniform Code of Military Justice allows prosecution of a rape that occurred between 1986 and 2006 only if it was …
 
The Speaker usually does not take the initiative to prevent the House from considering proposals or taking actions that would violate the House’s rules. Instead, whenever a Member believes that the House’s legislative procedures are being violated in some way, or are about to be violated, that Member may insist that the House’s procedures be enforc…
 
The House of Representatives distinguishes between privileged business and questions of privilege. Privileged business relates to the order or priority of business before the House and is defined in House rules and precedents as business that has precedence over the regular order of business and so may supersede or interrupt other matters that migh…
 
19-368 FORD MOTOR CO. V. MONTANA EIGHTH DISTRICT COURT DECISION BELOW: 443 P.3d 407 LOWER COURT CASE NUMBER: OP 19-0099 QUESTION PRESENTED: The Due Process Clause permits a state court to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant only when the plaintiff’s claims“arise out of or relate to" the defendant's forum activities…
 
QUESTION PRESENTED:The Copyright Act provides that, while "original works of authorship" are generally eligible for copyright protection, 17 U.S.C. 102(a), "[i]n no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of th…
 
QUESTION PRESENTED:Thirty-six States have enacted legislation to curb abusive prescription drug reimbursement practices by claims-processing middlemen-known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)-who make money on the spread between the rates at which they reimburse pharmacies and the drug prices they charge health plans. In response, Respondent Pharm…
 
LOWER COURT CASE NUMBER:QUESTION PRESENTED:To resolve disputes about use of the Pecos River, Texas and New Mexico entered into the Pecos River Compact. This Court subsequently entered an amended decree ordering New Mexico to comply with its Compact obligations and appointing a River Master to perform the annual calculations of New Mexico's water-de…
 
QUESTION PRESENTED:1. Does the First Amendment invalidate a longstanding state constitutional provision that limits judges affiliated with any one political party to no more than a "bare majority" on the State's three highest courts, with the other seats reserved for judges affiliated with the "other major political party''?2. Did the Third Circuit…
 
While the U.S. Constitution assigns explicit roles in the Supreme Court appointment process only to the President and the Senate, the Senate Judiciary Committee, throughout much of the nation's history, has also played an important, intermediary role. From 1816, when the Judiciary Committee was created, until 1868, more than two-thirds of nominatio…
 
This episode will discuss private bills and the procedures in the house. A private bill is one that provides benefits to specified individuals (including corporate bodies). Individuals sometimes request relief through private law when administrative or legal remedies are exhausted, but Congress seems more often to view private legislation as approp…
 
For this episode will be covering amendments between the houses. The House and Senate must approve an identical version of a measure before it can be presented for the President’s approval or veto. If the House and Senate approve differing versions of a measure, the differences must first be resolved. One way to do this is through an exchange of am…
 
On September 18, 2020, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, passed away at the age of eighty-seven, vacating a seat on the High Court that she had held for twenty-seven years. It is likely that Justice Ginsburg’s views in closely decided Supreme Court cases will be of most interest to Mem…
 
On June 29, 2020, in the case Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Supreme Court held in a five-to-four decision that the statutory provision limiting the President’s authority to remove the director of the CFPB violated the Constitution by infringing on the President’s powers to execute the laws. The opinion provides guida…
 
During the course of a presidential election year, the election process for the President and Vice President goes forward within a familiar timeline of events. At the same time these events are taking place, a related series of procedures that governs the actions of the electoral college progresses on a parallel track. This episode focuses on the e…
 
On June 18, 2020, in the case Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, the Supreme Court held in a five-to-four decision that the reasoning the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offered in support of its decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative was inadequate and therefo…
 
On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court issued a decision in a series of cases brought by gay and transgender workers alleging that their employers violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) by discriminating against them “because of . . . sex.” The Court held 6-3 in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia that Title VII forbids employer…
 
More than two decades after the U.S. embassies bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, some plaintiffs who alleged that Sudanese support of Al Qaeda contributed to the attacks have won the opportunity to obtain punitive damages against the government of Sudan. The Supreme Court decided 8-0 (with no participation by Justice Kavanaugh) in Opati v. Republic o…
 
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