Deep Dive Podcast


Hear about the cases, issues, and tactics advancing IJ’s fight from freedom—directly from the people on the front lines. Deep Dive with the Institute for Justice explores the legal theories, strategies, and methods IJ uses to bring about real world change, giving listeners an inside look at how—and why—we do what we do.


  • September 8, 2020

    How Federal Agents Can Legally Take Your Money at the Airport

    The simple trick the feds use to take hundreds of millions of dollars from travelers

    Law enforcement agencies routinely seize currency from travelers at airports using civil forfeiture—a legal process that allows agencies to take and keep property without ever charging owners with a crime, let alone securing a conviction. In this episode, we discuss the real stories of victims of this abusive practice, the new IJ report—”Jetway Robbery?”—that shows just…

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  • August 20, 2020

    Did the Supreme Court Just Say States Have to Fund Religion?

    Unpacking the Court’s Espinoza ruling

    When it handed down Espinoza v. MT Dept. of Revenue this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court added one more facet to a year that has already upended the status quo when it comes to education. In this episode, we discuss where the Espinoza case came from, what the ruling means, and what it really does…

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  • August 13, 2020

    It’s Time to Fund Students, Not Systems

    Why the future of education is student-centered

    With an increasing number of parents desperately seeking educational alternatives for the upcoming school year, teachers’ unions and school districts are doubling down on the status quo. Worse, in many places they are moving to take away options that had been available to parents for years. It has never been more clear that the time…

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  • August 6, 2020

    Can the Government Put Cameras on Your Property Without a Warrant?

    Why the 4th Amendment Doesn’t Protect You Like You Think It Does

    Decades ago, the U.S. Supreme Court created the so-called Open Fields Doctrine. The result was an exception to 4th Amendment restrictions on the government’s ability to snoop on Americans. With a new case in Tennessee, IJ is pushing forward a strategy to restore those limits and protect basic property rights. Learn more about the state…

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  • July 13, 2020

    Court Strips Elderly Woman of Her Home and Ruins Her Life

    A tree falls on an elderly woman’s home—and a court run without due process or oversight takes everything from her

    After a tree fell on her house, IJ client Sarah Hohenberg’s journey through Memphis’ Environmental Court left her bankrupt, homeless, stripped of her possessions, and a fugitive from the law. We discuss how this happened—and how IJ’s new lawsuit aims to end this kind of abuse. Click here for additional Deep Dive episodes

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  • June 18, 2020

    Why Won’t the Supreme Court Hold Police Accountable?

    What’s next in the fight against qualified immunity

    This term the U.S. Supreme Court closely considered eight different petitions dealing with the controversial doctrine of qualified immunity. Ultimately, it denied them all. In this episode, we talk about what the Court’s decision means for IJ’s fight for police and government accountability—and where we go from here. Click here for additional Deep Dive episodes

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  • May 21, 2020

    Can the Government Throw You Out of Work? (Not in Some States!)

    Revitalizing Legal Protections for the Right to Earn a Living

    With more Americans out of work than any time in recorded history, whether or not they will be able to earn a living is top of mind for many people. All too often, however, courts turn a blind eye to laws and rules that arbitrarily and unnecessarily shut people out of work. Recent state supreme…

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  • April 30, 2020

    Current Legal Challenges to COVID-19 Rules

    As the coronavirus pandemic upends life and work, we dig into the latest virus-related legal developments.

    We’ve all been watching the unprecedented situation with COVID-19 play out. At IJ, we have a particular interest in what’s happening in the law. This episode discusses the kinds of constitutional litigation we’re seeing, as well as legal avenues that can help make life better now and those that lend themselves to longer term strategic…

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  • April 3, 2020

    When Can the Government Lock You in Your House? Quarantines and the Constitution

    IJ Attorneys Discuss States’ Police Powers

    As we all deal with the many changes in day to day life brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, have you ever wondered just what the government has the power to do to protect public health and safety—and when and how can it exercise that power? In today’s episode, we discuss government police power and…

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  • March 6, 2020

    How Government Officials Can Blow Up Your House with Grenades—and Get Away With It by Claiming Immunity

    IJ’s new project on immunity and accountability, and why it is so important

    Listeners of the podcast who have also listened to IJ’s Short Circuit podcast are probably familiar with the concept of “qualified immunity.” In this episode, we talk about what the term means and how it came to be, as well as what it looks like in practice and why changes to immunity doctrines are essential…

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  • December 16, 2019

    Stories from IJ’s Front Lines

    A Conversation with IJ President Scott Bullock About the Cases and Clients that Helped Shape IJ

    Before he was IJ’s president, Scott Bullock spent 25 years as an IJ attorney. In this episode, he recounts his years in the trenches as a litigator, and the ways his cases and clients helped make him and IJ what they are today. For more Deep Dive episodes click here.

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  • November 22, 2019

    Zoning, Excessive Fines and Other Hot Issues in the Law

    And Why Judges Should Engage with Them

    We talk with the director of IJ’s Center for Judicial Engagement about a few of the issues the legal community is buzzing about at the moment. For more Deep Dive episodes click here.

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  • November 14, 2019

    Law for Non-Lawyers – Due Process and Equal Protection

    Learn the Basics of Constitutional Law

    This discussion is a continuation of our foray into law for non-lawyers. Many people are familiar with the concepts of “due process” and “equal protection,” but where are they found in the Constitution, and what do they look like in practice? For more Deep Dive episodes click here.

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  • October 29, 2019

    Law for Non-Lawyers – Standards of Review

    Why do property, economic, and other vital liberties get only “rational basis” review?

    What does it mean when courts apply “strict scrutiny” in their review of a law? Why do property, economic, and other vital liberties get only “rational basis” review? And why do these things matter to a constitutional litigator? Learn all this and more in today’s Deep Dive with the Institute for Justice. For more Deep…

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  • September 17, 2019

    Previewing IJ’s Next Case at the United States Supreme Court

    What Blaine Amendments Have To Do with Educational Choice

    Supreme Court Case on Montana school Choice

    Never heard the term “Blaine Amendments” before? The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear IJ’s educational choice case Ezpinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue is likely to change that. In today’s Deep Dive IJ Senior Attorney Tim Keller and IJ Attorney Erica Smith describe what Blaine Amendments are, why they matter to parents who simply…

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  • August 27, 2019

    District Works: Improving a City From the Ground Up

    How IJ is Changing the Landscape for Entrepreneurs in Washington, D.C.

    When IJ Associate Director of Activism Brooke Fallon started talking to entrepreneurs in Washington, D.C., about their experience doing business in the District, she got an earful about the burdens and challenges they face just trying to get off the ground. The result of those conversations was District Works, an IJ-led project and coalition of…

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  • August 27, 2019

    Uses (and Misuses) of Amicus Briefs

    The Whys, Whens, and Hows of Being a Friend of the Court

    IJ Senior Attorneys Robert McNamara and Paul Sherman discuss amicus briefs: what they are, where they came from, and how IJ—and others—use them for maximum impact.

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