Strict Scrutiny


A podcast about the Supreme Court and the legal culture that surrounds it. Hosted by Leah Litman, Melissa Murray, Jaime Santos, and Kate Shaw. Produced by Melody Rowell.

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Recent Reviews
  • Settercrazy
    Very Informative
    Thanks so much for taking the time to do this podcast. Discovered it when Kate was having the podcast with Chris Hayes, but I'm subscribed now. Will get the word out even more what is at stake in the next election where we MUST turn the Senate blue to not have the courts getting into this horrible regressive trend.
    Listen to learn.
    The four hosts are thoughtful and knowledgeable. They review and condense information for me. They freely share their take on why and how they think the legal world should be organized. I don’t have to agree in order to get the benefit of hearing another persons insight. Let’s face it, even the justices of the Supreme Court have their inherent biases running at a deep personal level. And so, the personal history matters when they come to make their decisions. Justice Tom Clark and the decision in Mapp vs. Ohio (367 US 643) is a good example.
  • KDon-Tel
    While some reviews knock the political commentary, I appreciate that these legal scholars keep sight of the real world ramifications of Court decisions and the consequences of the justices’ politics and personal histories. I am so grateful for this podcast and for these women stepping up to the microphone!
  • Shaun Patrick D
    Top of the playlist
    Love this podcast. Every time it comes up in the feed it goes right to the top of my playlist. Keep it going!!
  • legaleagle22
    Good, could use improvement
    This is a solid podcast on the Supreme Court. However, the hosts often focus on politics more than law; First Mondays had much more actual legal analysis. As political analysis, it's not very good. There is no ideological diversity whatsoever. The viewpoint is uniformly identitarian bourgeois liberal--there is much more discussion of gender than race and much more discussion of race than class--which reflects the backgrounds of the hosts. For example, the "court culture" sections are often incredibly elitist inside baseball, with lots of attention to the personalities of the tiny Supreme Court bar. From listening to it, you might think that the gender composition of the Supreme Court bar is the most pressing left-wing cause in America. The seeds of a good podcast are here, though, and increasing the law-to-politics ratio would make it a great listen.
  • regrun1
    Wish they’d leave their politics out of it
    Love hearing about the cases from these intelligent women but it would be nice if they would leave their political opinions out of it.
  • JenTaylor26
    Love this podcast!
    It’s super informative and fun to listen to. A must-listen for anyone who wants to keep up with SCOTUS news.
  • JReb3
    Left wing drivel
    Occasionally informative about SC cases, but the generally unbalanced left-wing commentary overwhelms the limited insight. There are many better SC podcasts out there. And Litman’s voice and cadence are very difficult to listen to. You can find better pundits without the painful voice.
  • hbd5035
    definitely recommend
    Fun and informative podcast. You'll learn, but it's not so dry that you'll zone out. Good way to keep up with the goings on at the Court. It's left leaning, but that's kind of the point. Why not get both sides of an issue? I listen to this and the Heritage Foundation's SCOTUS podcast (also done by women!).
  • Lawyer but not a lawyer Katie
    I am a former lawyer and progressive politics enthusiast who is SO PUMPED to have the brilliant, incisive and engaging voices of these scholars. The thing I love most is that they make Supreme Court scholarship and analysis accessible, interesting and digestible. I appreciate how they articulate and illuminate the real life impact of Supreme Court cases and help even non-legal folks stay connected to the critical issues before the court. Thank goodness for all of you brave and smart women.
  • Haleynw
    A Great Find
    I’m a young, female assistant at a law firm in D.C. that handles Supreme Court and appellate litigation, and next year I’ll be starting law school. I’m really glad I found this podcast—it’s entertaining, educational, and accessible without dumbing anything down. And it’s always encouraging to “see” women in such boss roles. Thanks!
  • Zot-t
    Excellent podcast; updating first review
    I listened to the first two episodes so far and I particularly enjoy that they have managed to infuse wit and humor into otherwise serious legal criticism and commentary, without being crass; and that they have managed to interject point-of-view commentary into their discussions without being overly political. This balance is hard - most fail at it. That these women have been successful here points to their overall sophistication, experience and learnedness. Well done! I look forward to more episodes. Update: I am dropping a star because a couple of the hosts show a more overt political slant when the cases under discussion are those that are politically charged among the public. These slips show show in many places- for example, they tend to interpret justices questions and hypotheticals through the lenses of their own sympathies; ‘conservative’ justice’s hypotheticals are cynical or hypocritical; ‘liberal’ justice’s hypotheticals are useful to expose critical flaws in an argument ... Of course, while I would prefer a more dispassionate discussion of the arguments of politically charged cases, I still think this is one of the best places to listen to SCOTUS commentary and I would still highly recommend it.
  • tkr723
    Not as good as First Mondays
    I’m glad this podcast stepped in to fill the gap left by FM, and all of the hosts are clearly extremely intelligent and thoughtful — but I miss the more rigorous focus on legal analysis as opposed to the overwhelming emphasis on cultural topics.
  • Literroy
    A good show, but with a major caveat
    I appreciate the gap that this show fills after the demise of First Mondays, but it suffers from one of the same problems that show did - a sort of unexamined elitism that permeates the whole show. Every host went to an elite law school, and now either teach at an elite school or practice at an elite firm. It goes largely unacknowledged, yet comes out in all sorts of ways - from the inside baseball talk about how clerks operate inside the Supreme Court (an experience very few people will even be considered for, and no one without the most prestine elite credentials) to a complaint in the most recent episode (at the time I write this) that members of the Supreme Court Bar didn't get the type of priority access to arguments that they're used to during the Title VII cases, rather than an analysis of how having special seats reserved for the Supreme Court Bar in the first place reproduces many of the types of inequality the hosts are (rightfully) upset about in many other contexts. Luckily it doesn't suffer from other problems First Mondays did, namely the lack of voices of women and people of color. (And I know it's not fair to keep comparing it to FM; I only do so because it was the closest analogue I was aware of before Strict Scrutiny came on the scene.) If I'm going to listen to a lot of elites explain a very narrow segment of the law, this panel makeup is way better than any of the other options we've had to this point. Plus they play Lizzo and RuPaul songs so they clearly have great taste! But I still wish there was more of an understanding of how the hosts' eliteness affects their perspective, and more of an attempt to grapple with that.
  • emdroid
    Great panel! could be better podcasters
    Super promising panel, but I think they’re still finding their podcasting legs here. They’re covering a dense topic, so I think tweaking the pacing and more defined transitions between segments would help. It also still feels like they’re establishing a natural banter, like they don’t know each other that well. And most importantly, though I hate to single anyone out: Kate Shaw talks so fast it’s impossible to follow. She’s brilliant like the rest, but girl. Take a breath! I ended up downloading a new podcast app just to make this listenable (somewhere between .75 and .8 speed worked), and used it to listen to a FiveThirtyEight episode she guested on recently. I learned a lot once I wasn’t distracted by how fast she was going. All that said, I’ll keep listening and am optimistic this will become a favorite show. It’s refreshing to find legal analysis that doesn’t talk down to its audience.
  • MarkBowen303
    Repetitive, doesn’t focus much on the court.
    Wildly partisan.
  • EmmmVerns
    Thank you!!
    You all had me at “a podcast so fierce it’s fatal in fact” :)
  • Chargrizzzle
    Happy to have this
    Was a 1st Monday’s on and off listener, over time found myself only tuning in to hear Leah Litman, then eventually tuning out when I could no longer stand hearing Dan Epps tell Prof. Litman to calm down — many moments of super whack (not so) coded misogyny that I’m happy to know have ended. Even more happy to know that this show exists now! Actually excited for the start of term bc of it. These women are super smart, thoughtful court commentators who remain enthusiastic about the law and its more capable practitioners even when SCOTUS consistently delivers disappointing opinions based on suspect reasoning. My only feedback: establish clearer transitions—maybe with short musical beats. Don’t be afraid to let the show take a breath. Anyone who is listening is super nerdy and willing to stick around. Thank you guys for making this!
  • Lover of Podcasts
    Very Good - and Suggestions
    I'm happy to have this lined up in my podcast feed. Just listened to the Sipping Our Tea episode and I have a couple of suggestions. Even if clumsy, I'd like to hear each person ID herself before speaking, until I get to know voices. You did introduce yourselves in the beginning (trailer) but it takes a while longer to memorize voices. Maybe even have a short re-intro of each of you (in your own voices) play at the beginning of each episode that just says your name, who you clerked for, and a sentence about your special area of interest? Also, please slow down a little! You say you want to make the SC and law accessible to laypeople. If so, some breathing and spaces and slower pacing would help. Give us time to absorb, process, and synthesize what you're saying. Thank you for the insights and camaraderie during this difficult time!
  • Timw8s
    Not Obligated to Leave a Review
    You won’t find this type of commentary in any newspaper. Good, insightful, informed opinion that is fun to listen to. Thank you!
  • sdthomp18
    I love hearing women talk about SCOTUS
    Thanks to all of you for this podcast. Really enjoying it! Surprised, though, that in all the ACCA nerdery there’s no mention that ACCA law has huge consequences for immigration law (specifically, noncitizens charged with crimes). Us immigration lawyers will also be watching Shular very closely this fall.
  • MAP916
    Fantastic Legal Podcast
    Always a treat to listen to Prof. Littman provide commentary on the Court. Also wonderful to be introduced to so many insightful, brilliant (and new to PodcastLand) scholars along with her. I look forward to many new episodes!
  • david_e_chavez
    Love it!
    I love the direction of this podcast. It’s so wonderful to hear Leah express passion or sass without being shot down by a male. And as a PoC, it’s so great to have representation on the hosting panel. AND RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE SINGLE AS AN OUTRO??? I’d give the show 6 stars if I could
  • Tia Falcon
    Or SCROTUS 😂. Great podcast. I learned a lot and can’t wait to hear more. Maybe in future episodes make sure to mute your phones 🙂
  • Smokeyllama
    Fast-paced or sped-up?
    I appreciate most of the legal analysis here but found it frustrating to listen to the podcast because of the speak at which they spoke at times. Four or five times during the first hour, I had to check my phone to see if I had inadvertently set it to 1.25x speed, but it was not. Words ran together in a torrent for about 2 minutes then back to normal speed. Maybe this is a streaming issue, but I think the episode was downloaded so that shouldn’t be the case. Did they try to shorten it with a speed bump? Or is one of the hosts just a rapid-fire speaker?
  • Gdtbay
    The New First Monday? (Second Monday?)
    Incredible scholarly talent on this podcast. Thrilled to have a real Supreme Court insider pod again!
  • Jonesin 4 entertainment
    Already overly biased
    Well, it ain’t the next First Mondays. I enjoy getting some liberal commentary on the Court, but it’d be nice if there were *some* semblance of balance on this podcast (or at least not open contempt for the conservative viewpoint). These people pride themselves on offering something different (mostly highlighting the fact the commentators are women) but they don’t seem to care about intellectual diversity at all. Newsflash: I’m here for smart legal commentary—I don’t care who it comes from, I just want to hear interesting ideas. Focus more on the content (like bringing in some balance/objectivity) and not on virtue-signaling aesthetics. I do like the goal of limiting legalese and making the law more accessible to non-practitioners. Hopefully this podcast turns it around. Best of luck.
  • ramerman
    No “First Mondays” but ...
    If they can drop the TDS, it is at least as good as the Heritage’s SCOTUS 101 just with a leftist bias. We know Leah can be fair but does she need Dan to keep her honest? And the whole “women’s perspective” is silly — Strict scrutiny is now the Third SCOTUS podcast by women.
  • Nativenewyorker123
    Too Partisan; Lacks Explanation of Both Sides
    It’s just news summary with clear bias. No legal analysis.
  • Maxwell House Voting Rights
    Immediately Indispensable Podcast
    Can't miss formula delivers expected results. Four brilliant and insightful scholars/practitioners provide an hour-plus of well-informed, accessible, and frequently funny analysis of the SCOTUS ecosystem. First episode consumed voraciously. Looking forward to seconds, thirds, etc.
  • JDM1785
    Great way to understand SCOTUS for non-lawyers
    I’ve been waiting for Leah Littman to start a new podcast since First Mondays ended - she’s so good I knew it would only be a matter of time. Thrilled she’s running it with two other women so she can talk about the politics and cultural impact of SCOTUS uninterrupted and unscolded. Subscribe!
  • mashley72
    Congrats on new Podcast!
    Really enjoy hearing from brilliant women legal minds on these very important topics. Already subscribed and can’t wait for next EP.
  • NJ1231
    I was looking forward to having a new Supreme Court podcast in my feed but this podcast seems to be more about partisan hot takes than in depth analysis and I say this as someone who is on the left side of the spectrum and whose favorite writer on the Supreme Court is Kagan. For example in their discussion of Gundy the issue of the case is first described incorrectly, they then correct it but besides a sentence about what the real issue is they never dig in to the case and instead have surface level takes on how weird it is that the more conservative justices sided with the criminal defendant (which isn't that weird when you consider the issue was much more broad and far reaching than a typical criminal case.) I know that no podcast is going to be impartial and, honestly, I'd probably prefer hosts that I agree with, this podcast (at least in the first episode) doesn't seem to dig into cases and instead provides shallow partisan takes. Maybe I'll check back in a bit to see if they hit a groove but for now I'm sticking with SCOTUStalks.
  • sweat shorts
    Strong first EP
    Jaime and Leah are two of my favorite legal tweeters so I can’t wait for weekly podcasts from them during the next SCOTUS term. First EP didn’t disappoint!!
  • WandaQuadock
    The first episode was excellent -- especially the last five minutes, when the hosts explained that part of their mission is to critically explore the culture surrounding the Court. I have high hopes for this podcast! Can't wait for more episodes.
  • jfisch24
    The SCOTUS commentary we need.
    I cannot wait for this to be up and running full time in the fall. Get the hot takes and in-depth analysis you need to keep you up to date on the Supreme Court. A must-listen for lawyers and non-lawyers alike!
  • LlamaGB
    What??? Women and SCOTUS
    About time. Thanks for bringing an alternative voice to review of The Court. Love it
  • JJT334
    Everything I enjoyed about First Mondays, but without all the pesky misogyny. The hosts are engaging and do a great job of explaining what’s going on at the Court AND why it matters—rare to find this mix of accessibility and incisive commentary. Looking forward to their coverage of the next SCOTUS term.
  • Cadet Master Chief Petty Officer
    Just a more blatantly partisan version of First Mondays.
  • Twowackykids
    Great podcast for understanding how the SCOTUS works
    As a non-lawyer I appreciate the explanations of the cases and how they fit into a larger framework of the court over all. It’s funny, witty, and very clever, and I can’t wait until the fall.
  • fishxc
    Insightful commentary
    Insightful, entertaining, and honest commentary on the Supreme Court.
  • Hobbes714
    Good start
    First episode was good! It’s a solid premise and I appreciate any platform for female voices in the legal community. Some of the discussion was quite interesting in episode 1, like with the lost constitution. The one-sidedness of the podcast is a bit disappointing. For example, framing Gorsuch’s opinion in Gundy as hating to administrative state so much that he sides with sex offenders is a bit dishonest. Could’ve been a good moment to go into Gorsuch’s libertarian streak.
  • P&K&M
    Hot Take
    This podcast does a great job of going into detail on particular cases and illuminating the trends across those cases. Leah’s realist perspective confronts the false narrative that judges are independent arbiters using a process to arrive at a decision (as opposed to arriving at a decision and rationalizing it). I also appreciate not having to hear about Leah giving “too hot of a take” all the time.
  • gp public defender
    Excellent news
    This is so exciting! Subscribed as soon as I heard the preview on amicus. Grateful to the four of you for bringing such intelligent, entertaining scotus analysis to the podcast airwaves.
  • Seemamo
    Important legal perspective - but fun to listen to
    really enjoyed the first teaser episode that discussed the last SCOTUS term- as they mentioned it’s not BRO-TUS or SCRO-TUS- a much needed group of voices who will be analyzing and explaining the significance of SCOTUS opinions to other lawyers and the general public. It was smart and fun- a tough combo.
  • AmyH145
    Way Too Heavy Handed
    Ugh, I wanted to like it, but it’s way too heavy handed and outrage mongerish. It’s like they just pash around the grand stand for an hour and a half and call it good.
  • daverangaviz
    This is a good podcast
    These people are brilliant. Looking forward to this show in the fall. Great first episode.
  • sennheiserz
    Love the show, with one caveat
    Love this show already and the rapport and expertise of the ladies. As a non-attorney it would be nice to have you provide some quick definitions or layman’s terms of more complex concepts (pretextual? Remanding in the context of a census?). Otherwise keep up the great work :)
  • Adam Bryant
    Manna for hungry legal minds
    For SCOTUS watchers, this podcast is the equivalent to the 1992 Olympic "Dream Team" in men's basketball: LEAH LITMAN: You fell in love with her incisive analysis on the now defunct "First Mondays" podcast. Now, she's back and better than ever. TWITTER BONUS: cute dog pics and on-point .gifs MELISSA MURRAY: Sharp dresser, sharp mind; she's a fearless and eloquent advocate for equity and justice. TWITTER BONUS: Rivaled only by perhaps Elie Mystal and Ian Millhiser, she calls out B.S. arguments with the best of 'em. KATE SHAW: Obama alum and all-around Constitutional Goddess, with an NPR-esque voice made for podcasting. TWITTER BONUS: Well...she doesn't tweet very much. But Chris Hayes does enough of that for the both of them (put his podcast in your earholes, too!) JAIME SANTOS: Honestly, I know nothing about her. Nonetheless, I'm going to use the company she keeps as a heuristic to say that she's totally awesome and I look forwarding to getting to know her. TWITTER BONUS: Her bio says she "takes notes and therefore is a real lawyer". I'm guessing she would never violate the "Stringer Bell Rule", though, if ever such a thing were applicable (which it's not, okay!?) In sum, these lovely legal luminaries deserve all the star ratings you can muster. When not podcasting, these women are helping to improve and protect our judiciary and democracy, one trenchant legal argument at a time. Subscribe to their podcast, follow them on Twitter, and feel grateful that they share their collective wisdom with the rest of us.
  • sperezg15
    Highly Recommend
    Smart yet fun and accessible!
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