Cover art for podcast Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

33 EpisodesProduced by WNYC StudiosWebsite

From the producers of Radiolab, a series about how the Supreme Court got so supreme.

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21:03

The Heist

The Supreme Court may not have been conceptualized as a co-equal branch of the federal government, but it became one as a result of the political maneuvering of Chief Justice John Marshall. The fourth (and longest-serving) chief justice was "a great lover of power," according to historian Jill Lepore, but he was also a great lover of secrecy. Marshall believed, in order for the justices to confer with each other candidly, their papers needed to remain secret in perpetuity. It was under this veil of secrecy that the biggest heist in the history of the Supreme Court took place. 

The key voices:

    Jill Lepore, professor of American history at Harvard University

The key links:

Leadership support for More Perfect is provided by The Joyce Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation.

Supreme Court archival audio comes from Oyez®, a free law project in collaboration with the Legal Information Institute at Cornell. 

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