In addition to some other civil rights anniversaries, 2021 marks 50 years since the Supreme Court decided Younger v. Harris. There, the Court made it extremely hard for federal courts to stop an unconstitutional state prosecution. This “Younger abstention” doctrine has been with us ever since. Professor Fred Smith of Emory Law joins us to discuss what Younger’s impact has been and how it has especially made it difficult to fight state court systems that have become de facto debtors’ prisons. Additionally, we hear from Sam Gedge of IJ who gives us some of the background on the case and perspective on litigating civil rights cases with it looming in the background. We close with an investigation on where the heck the term “Our Federalism” (which Younger relies upon without citation) came from. Hint: Its first name is Felix.
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