Four attorneys from three major secular organizations are launching today, May 18, the only legal affairs show for atheists, agnostics and humanists hosted completely by women lawyers.
“We Dissent” will discuss religious liberty in federal and state courts and the work these attorneys do to keep religion and government separate. The co-hosts are Rebecca S. Markert, legal director at the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Elizabeth Cavell, associate counsel at FFRF, Alison Gill, vice president for legal and policy at American Atheists, and Monica Miller, legal director and senior counsel at the American Humanist Association. The podcast began taping episodes in January, so there’ll be a few more dropping on Wednesdays for the next couple of weeks, but then it’ll be once a month starting in June.
In the first episode, Cavell, Markert, Gill and Miller discuss the “sleeper case” of the Supreme Court term that could upend prohibitions on government funding to religious schools. The lawyers break down the arguments from the voucher case out of Maine, Carson v. Makin, and discuss ramifications and potential outcomes. Cavell acts as the “showrunner” for this first episode — she did the background research, outlined the episode and was the main host. Each episode will have a co-host acting as the showrunner for the particular issue and will rotate through the organizations.
In the second episode, the four co-hosts review Shurtleff v. City of Boston, in which the city of Boston denied a religious organization, Camp Constitution, its request to fly the Christian flag at city hall. The hosts discuss the free speech and religion clause arguments presented at oral arguments last December. Note: This episode was recorded prior to the Supreme Court handing down the decision on May 2. An update to this episode is forthcoming.
In the third episode, Gill, Markert and Miller discuss another tool in the kit to keep religion and government separate: legislative advocacy. As the resident policy expert, Gill guides us through the many bills wending their ways through state legislatures this year that threaten church/state separation.
The podcast will hence explore religious liberty cases currently before the U.S. Supreme Court and at other federal courts across the country. The attorney hosts will also discuss other advocacy work undertaken to help atheists and other nonreligious people outside the courtroom.
Markert is elated that she’s played a key role in putting together such a distinctive podcast.
“I’m really excited how this all came together. We wanted to highlight the fact that there are so many powerful secular women doing a lot of the work to keep religion out of government,” says Markert. “Women lawyers have prominent roles in our national organizations and their voices deserve to be heard.”
The co-hosts thank FFRF staff members James Phetteplace and Greta Martens for their production support and work in helping get “We Dissent” off the ground.
We Dissent is available wherever you get your podcasts. The podcast’s website is we-dissent.org. You can also keep up to date with We Dissent on Facebook by clicking here or follow us on Twitter @we_dissent.
Tune in — starting now — for an incisive podcast that offers a fresh legal critique from a particular perspective.