The Score: Supreme Court, School Choice, Jackson Landers, Eminent Domain

This week on The Score – A look at the Supreme Court confirmation process. We compare the results of school-choice systems. A Charlottesville journalist submits to an exit interview. We return to the topic of eminent domain.

Supreme Court Confirmations
The biggest news this week has been the Senate confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. It was a trending topic on Twitter and on Google searches all day on Thursday.

During a break in the hearing, I spoke to Dr. Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. I wanted to know how Supreme Court confirmation hearings have evolved over time.

Perry is author of The Priestly Tribe: The Supreme Court’s Image in the American Mind (1999), “The Supremes”: An Introduction to the U.S. Supreme Court Justices (2009), and coauthor (with Henry Abraham) of Freedom and the Court: Civil Rights and Liberties in the United States (2003). She has been a frequent guest on The Score.

Educational Choice
Corey DeAngelis school choice Cato InstituteWe are still early in the school year, a good time to talk about educational policy. Recently I visited the Cato Institute in Washington, where I spoke to policy analyst Corey DeAngelis, who recently co-authored a study (with Blake Hoarty) called “Who Participates? An Analysis of School Participation Decisions in Two Voucher Programs in the United States.” We talked about his findings, which he also summarized in an article for the Washington Examiner:

Lower-quality private schools are more likely to accept the voucher offer, regardless of the strings attached, because they are the most desperate for cash. On the other hand, higher-quality private schools with educational models that are already working for their students are less likely to accept additional voucher regulations. In other words, voucher program regulations likely reduce the average quality of private schools that are available to students using vouchers. And limiting these program regulations could increase the chance that students using vouchers get into better private schools.

Of course, education regulators are trying to do the right thing. They just want to help kids get to the best schools possible. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that their policies tend to have the opposite effect.

Morphing Journalist
Jackson Landers Eating AliensJackson Landers and I have a long association in radio. We have been panelists in a long-running weekly round table each Monday afternoon at 5:00 o’clock on 94.7 WPVC-FM in Charlottesville. He has written for the Daily Beast, New Zealand Herald, New York Times, Washington Post, and Smithsonian magazine, in addition to two books on hunting and wildlife — The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer for Food (2011) and Eating Aliens: One Man’s Adventures Hunting Invasive Animal Species (2012). He was also principal writer and co-producer of the 2017 documentary film, Charlottesville: Our Streets, which examined the events of August 11 and 12 in that year.

Jackson is leaving Charlottesville for a new position at the University of Florida. He and I took a few minutes to look back at his career as a journalist chronicling civil rights and the alt-right and his transition from science writer to observer of white nationalism.

Drug War and Eminent Domain
Two weeks ago, we talked to Young Voices writer Jake Grant about criminal justice issues, but we had to cut short his interview because we ran out of time. This week, we can make up for that.

In a recent article, Grant wrote:

The Institute for Justice (IJ) ?estimates? that between 1998 and 2002, the government used or threatened to use eminent domain for private gain over 10,000 times. That ?includes? stories like the eviction of four elderly sisters from their home in Bristol, Connecticut to build an industrial park; a woman in her 80s forced out of her Bremerton, Washington home for an auto dealership; and a Florida family’s home confiscated so a golf course manager could live there. Far too often, government agencies use their power to benefit powerful corporate interests at the expense of ordinary Americans who rarely have the time, money, or resources to fight the state….

The government has many jobs that it needs to accomplish, but it can’t trample citizens’ rights in order to do them. The practice of eminent domain is in direct opposition to the role government should play in people’s lives. It enables the government and crony private interest groups to take advantage of those who are less fortunate.

From the Archives
Since we heard earlier from Jackson Landers, I thought it might be nice to listen to an interview we did with him back in March 2013, when he was a speaker at the Virginia Festival of the Book, talking about Eating Aliens.

Be sure to come back next week for more interviews, news, and reviews from The Score.