Interview: Carrie Johnson

Carrie Johnson is a Justice Correspondent for NPR. She began her career at the Legal Times, where she wrote about the courts. She then worked at the Washington Post for ten years, reporting on the FBI, Justice Department, and criminal trials. More recently, she spent a few weeks covering Paul Manafort’s trial for NPR. I had never talked with a radio journalist before, so I learned a lot from this conversation. Without further ado… 

When you were in high school, what were you passionate about?

I was passionate about writing and reading. I was also interested in sports, although not very athletic. When I was a freshman in high school, I joined the school newspaper and started covering sports. It turned into a job for money with my local newspaper. I got twenty dollars a week to write about high school teams that I covered, and I did that job through most of high school. In fact, when the sports editor of the local paper went on vacation, I would fill in for him. So I really have been reporting for money ever since I was fourteen or fifteen years old. 

Did you want to become a sports reporter when you grew up?

I really, really wanted to become a sports reporter when I grew up. I watched a show on ESPN called “The Sports Reporters,” and those were my heroes. I read all the sports coverage I could find, and watched sports on television, and went to games. But in that era, it seemed kind of difficult to be a woman reporting sports. There were things happening all over the country that made it seem like women were not welcome in locker rooms. I had an experience or two like that; not in the high school teams that I covered, but other ones. I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life. So instead I decided to cover law and lawyers, where there were fewer such incidents in locker rooms. [laughs]

When did you pivot to law?

I was interested in law by the end of high school, and I was reading a lot about it in college as well. But I didn’t think I ever wanted to go to law school. Writing about the law and covering court proceedings was as far as I wanted to go.

What turned you off from law school?

I wasn’t sure that I ever wanted to practice law in a big firm. And I’m pretty happy with that decision. I’ve covered lawyers in Washington now for about twenty-two years, and while I’ve seen many achieve great success, I don’t know that a lot of people are happy practicing law in some of those big firms. People who are in smaller law firms and people who are in the government seem to have more control over their schedules, and more control over the kinds of cases that they are taking – more satisfaction, really.

Who has played the biggest role in teaching you how to write? Did that happen at your local newspaper, or a little later?

I feel like it was maybe a little bit later. When I was very young, I got my hands on a paperback copy of columns by a writer named Jimmy Breslin. He was a famous columnist in New York City, and he’s considered one of the founders of narrative journalism. He was ingenious at talking to people, getting details out of them, and then finding new ways into stories that everybody else was covering. I read that book so many times. It had such an influence on me in that era.

Once I got to Washington, I got some really tough editing at a paper called Legal Times, where I was an intern in the summer of 1996. It turned out that instead of spending a summer in Washington, I wound up spending the next twenty-two years there. And I had really, really terrific editing from people like Tom Watson, who went on to be an editor at Newsweek.

When I went to the Washington Post in 2000, I had a number of amazing editors. That process can be tough, where someone is being very hard on your work and your approach to reporting. But hopefully you learn how to do this job through experience. If you have a bad day, the good news about reporting is that the next morning you wake up and it’s Day One all over again.

How do you think your writing improved?

I feel as if you’re most successful as a beat reporter if you’re breaking news about things that are really important, but you’re also explaining to people why something matters. One of the things that I try to do is to have sources from all different perspectives; not just the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General, but people who occupy more day-to-day, lower jobs in the Justice Department. People who square off against the Justice Department in court. People who may work for a courthouse. You can be more confident in your writing once you have a real sense of what’s going on, and use all of those sources to help build a picture of what’s happening and why it’s happening.

How long did it take to develop a network of sources?

When I started at Legal Times, I was doing the most basic of tasks. I was basically re-writing press releases about lawyers who left the government and joined law firms or went from one law firm to the other. Through talking to each of those people, confirming details, and making sure their names were spelled right, I came into contact with a number of people who went on to occupy big roles in the Justice Department or FBI. Most of them I’ve been lucky enough to stay in touch with and rely on for information.

When I began covering the Justice Department itself in 2007, it took a good year or two to wrap my arms around that institution. It’s a very, very hard beat to cover because there’s so much going on, both in Washington and in the U.S. Attorneys’ offices. There’s so much assertive litigation of DOJ priorities, and then there’s what we call “defensive litigation” – defending against lawsuits filed by people outside the government against the federal government. It’s an enormous set of issues. I’m not sure I’ve quite mastered it yet, but I keep trying every day.

When you started covering the Justice Department, you also began doing radio work with NPR. How hard was that adjustment?

It’s been a long process. I’ve been at NPR now for eight years, and I did not realize how much of a newspaper person I was until I joined NPR. The writing is very different. The architecture of a story is very different. On the radio, you’re speaking with an audience that’s very smart, but they may be doing something else at the time; they may be cooking dinner or driving their car, and they may have ambient noise. Their kids may be hollering at them in the backseat. So you really need to grab their attention and meet the listener where they are. That requires a different kind of writing than a newspaper style, where you’re packing lots and lots of information into the first three paragraphs. You kind of have to ease into a radio piece in a way that you don’t in a newspaper story.

I’ve also changed, somewhat, the kinds of stories I do. When I worked for the Post and Legal Times, sometimes I would use anonymous sources to criticize one institution. Say, the Justice Department and the White House were fighting, or the Justice Department and Homeland Security were fighting. On the radio, we don’t like to use anonymous sources because of course they’re not talking on tape, and we like to use recordings of people’s voices. So I’ve turned away from those inside-Washington stories. Instead, I try to do more stories about how the justice system touches the lives of individual people around the country. Those stories work well on the radio because folks can make their own case for why an issue matters and why it impacts them. It’s really compelling for listeners to hear the voices of other human beings making their case.

When you’re on air, how much of what you’re saying is scripted?

We do reported pieces with lots of tape from other people. Those are almost always pre-recorded, if not that day or a couple hours before, then sometimes if it’s a long feature, the day before. We also do things called two-ways, which are interviews between a reporter and host. Those are semi-scripted. Usually you know the questions in advance, and maybe you’ve jotted down some notes. But I can tell you, for instance, when Rod Rosenstein selected Robert Mueller to be the special counsel investigating Russian election interference, that came as a bit of a surprise. I think I was already at home and had just finished walking the dog. I had to go on the air and talk for several minutes about Bob Mueller, whom I had covered when he was the director of the FBI. And that was entirely unscripted. [laughs] So sometimes one makes room for surprise, and you hope you don’t make any mistakes. You hope you get all the important points in.

Do you remember your first radio broadcast, and how nervous were you?

I don’t remember the first one. I remember being unbelievably nervous, in a way that I was never nervous at the newspaper. I do remember starting at the Post and writing a story, and then that Sunday the story was in the paper. I thought, “Gee, a lot of people are going to see this.” But radio was different for me. It was more intimate; you can hear people’s emotions through their voice. You can convey a lot of things aside from the substance of what you’re saying, and it feels more personal than typing. I think that made me more nervous than I had been.

Now that I’ve been doing this for eight years, I’m less nervous. Although every once in a while, something really big is happening, and you can tell I’m excited about it by the tone of my voice. [laughs]

When you’re talking, do you have a specific listener in mind like your aunt or your neighbor?

They actually tell you that in the training. You’re supposed to imagine talking to one person. They tell you not to imagine a loved one, because that may impact your tone of voice in a way you don’t want. But, you know, a friend or a neighbor. You’re always supposed to think of that person when you’re talking. In fact, some people bring a photo into the studio with them to imagine they’re talking to that person. It really does make a difference. You can tell when someone’s reading and when they’re just talking, and it sounds a lot better when they’re talking.

Who do you imagine?

You know, first it was a friend of mine who lives in Canada. Then it became one of my neighbors. And now I’m in the strange position of sitting on my stoop in Washington, D.C., and a new neighbor will walk by. Then I find out that they are, actually, an NPR listener. So now I actually think of some of those people when I’m talking. It’s so funny.

How much time and care do you put into maintaining your voice?

When I started here, I had this essential question: “What if you get a head cold? What is the secret remedy to make yourself feel better and sound good?” It turns out that everyone has their own remedy, but there is no magic bullet. So I try to avoid at all times being around people who have head colds, or shaking hands with people who have colds. This has been a challenge. People who are not talking for a living don’t appreciate that.

If I am on early in the morning, I also wait to have my coffee until I’m done talking. This means that I have a real headache if I’m not on until nine. [laughs] But it’s just better for me. Some people don’t like to drink milk or have dairy before they go on the air. I try to remind myself not to eat potato chips, because that has a bad impact on my voice. Sometimes I forget, or I’ll eat chips and then something big happens at DOJ and I have to talk anyway.

Have you ever worked with a voice coach?

We have someone on staff here named Jessica Hansen, and she’s really wonderful. She does one-on-one sessions with people. When I started at NPR, I also had the great benefit of learning from three masters. One is named Paul Brown. He used to work for NPR Newscast; he’s now a retired musician in North Carolina. Another guy who really helped me was Jonathan Kern, who literally wrote the book on sound reporting and audio reporting. He is retired from NPR. A third person who was enormously helpful is a guy named David Candow. He was instrumental in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and did a lot of work with NPR. He died a few years ago, but I still remember a lot of the things that he taught me.

What’s one major thing that he taught you?

David Candow always preached about talking to people as if they were people. He didn’t like the word “citizens” – he thought we should use the word “people.” He didn’t really love the word “children” – he thought that we should use the word “boy” or “girl,” because they evoked an image in listeners. And just the way you say those words is different from “children” or “citizen.”

Candow also taught me a lot about writing short sentences and writing to my voice. I try to avoid writing with lots of clauses and interruptions; it’s better for me if I stick to subject-verb-object. Some people here who have true instruments with their voice can really do a lot. I try to keep it simple.

You said that there weren’t a lot of successful female sports reporters you could look up to in high school. Are there any women in radio you’ve particularly admired?

I have the great fortune of working with Nina Totenberg, who’s one of the best reporters of her generation in any medium. She is so smart and so funny and so tough, and she’s been a great colleague to me.

At NPR, we’re very lucky to have a number of women. We have a culture of founding mothers instead of founding fathers. And those people, aside from Nina, include Susan Stamberg and Linda Wertheimer. They certainly are masters of this art, and truly amazing to watch. I also have been able to watch Mara Liasson in action; she’s the former Congressional and White House reporter for NPR. Now she’s our national political correspondent, and she’s a force of nature.

That’s awesome. I’ve grown up worshipping Terry Gross, who’s out in Philly.

She’s a genius. And the notion that so many people… I hate to say it in this way. I don’t mean to be morbid. But if you look at the obituaries in the newspaper, look at how many times they quote that person’s interview with Terry Gross. Because she manages to extract information out of people that is essential and new, and so essential that it follows them to their obituary. I can’t imagine a better testament to someone’s interviewing skill than that. Once you start looking for that, you’re going to see it everywhere you look.

I haven’t seen that before, but I’m going to start.

Yeah, take a look. It really happens a lot with people in the arts and entertainment.

I actually just watched this documentary called “Obit,” which is about the New York Times’ obituary desk. The process for writing them is really eye-opening. I was curious about how they worked, what with the huge Aretha Franklin and John McCain obituaries in the last few weeks.

I saw that movie on a plane, and I fell in love with it. I was so sad to hear that one of the lead characters in that movie, Margalit Fox, actually just retired from writing obits. Anything with her byline, I want to read. I don’t care what it’s about; I know I’m going to like it.

That’s such a great movie. Anyway… What is a helpful criticism that you’ve gotten?

I think being as specific and as detailed as possible is a great approach, but not when it comes to numbers. People can get very lost in numbers on the radio. So if you use them, you need to be careful. I just finished covering the Paul Manafort trial, and having that in mind influenced my trial coverage. Of course it was a trial about tax fraud and bank fraud, and every day was filled with numbers and financial details. The key to covering that trial was picking the right details; if you could only choose one or two numbers in a piece, to use them really wisely. And instead, you could talk about what prosecutors were doing by introducing all that evidence, or what they were intending to prove, rather than getting lost in the numbers.

For instance, Manafort’s main defense in that trial was that Rick Gates, his business partner, was truly the culprit. And the government introduced a bunch of evidence about how much each of those guys made. I think Gates made something like $240,000 a year, and in some years, Manafort made $2 million a year. So I used that number by way of saying that the government is trying to show that Paul Manafort is driving the car – not Rick Gates.

Do you remember when you received that criticism?

Probably when I first started covering the Justice Department. I can’t quite remember, although I know I did a few pieces over the years about the Justice Department and the grants that it makes to state and local law enforcement. All those stories are filled with pitfalls about numbers. It must have been one of those situations.

Where did you sit in the courtroom?

This is controversial, Anna. [laughs] Because in Virginia, the judge did not give the media a separate place to sit. And since that trial was near a number of buildings where a lot of people came to see the trial — just regular people, which is fantastic — it was hard for reporters to get seats and maintain their seats during breaks. On occasion, members of the public would move the reporters’ notebooks and sit down. [laughs] So if you left the courtroom, you might lose your seat. Which was very frustrating! And stressful. I tried not to leave the courtroom very much.

When I get my way, I like to sit in the second row of almost every courtroom I attend. That way, I get a look at the jury box, I can see the judge, and I can usually see the defendant. I look at all of those things while I’m writing down my notes, because it gives a good picture of how the evidence is coming in and how the defendant’s responding. But on a few occasions, it was so crazy in the Alexandria courthouse that we couldn’t get or keep our seats. I was happy to have any seat on certain days.

Do most courtrooms have a separate place for the media to sit?

In high-profile matters, most courthouses do set aside seats for reporters. You still need to get there promptly, but you don’t have to fend off members of the public in order to see.

Reporters had an interesting process for storing their phones during the Manafort trial. You guys went to a cafe across the street, right?

Yes. I have been doing that for most of the time that I’ve covered anything in that building. There’s a place called “The Cafe Gallery and Market,” and that’s right near the courthouse.

Before the trial started, there was a pretrial proceeding, and I was trying to record something from inside that cafe. But I couldn’t record in there because they had the radio on. So I asked to use the restroom, and I went in their restroom to try to record where it was quiet – except when you turned the light on in there, there was a very loud AC and vent. I couldn’t record there. So I turned off the light, and I had to record something in the bathroom of the cafe with no lights on. [laughs] That was not going to work very well for the trial.

That’s crazy.

I know. I was too old to do that for a long stretch. Happily, happily, my wonderful editors at NPR decided that we needed to get a hotel room across the street from the courthouse. We set up a little bureau where we had a line to headquarters, a microphone, and some headphones and a laptop. We were able to record almost everything from the trial across the street from the courthouse – and leave our phones in that hotel room.

Would a dark cafe bathroom be the strangest place that you’ve ever recorded?

You know what, I think so. I don’t think recording in a car is really that bad a thing compared to recording in a cafe bathroom with the lights off. [laughs] That was so low.

Did you do anything else to circumvent the electronics ban? I heard there were some payphones in the courthouse.

We did use the payphones. There were two of them on the second floor. One didn’t work; it took your money, but it didn’t work. The other phone did work, but there were long lines. We would sometimes communicate with our editors using that payphone. The challenge was that, for some of the younger producers and reporters, they didn’t even know what a payphone was. Which made me laugh very hard, and almost fall off the bench in the courthouse at one point. I was like, “You’ve never used a payphone in your entire life?” But people haven’t. They’re obsolete unless you’re at the courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, I guess.

I have no right to laugh at them, because I haven’t used a payphone either.

Of course you haven’t! And I hope you never have to. It’s really weird.

What was the atmosphere like in the courtroom?

I’ve covered a lot of trials, and they all sort of lull people into this sense of community. Obviously someone’s liberty is at stake, and that’s as serious as it gets. But the defense lawyers and the prosecutors joke around. The reporters joke around. Depending on the case, sometimes the family members of the defendant will get involved. You’ll develop a community in that way, since you’re sort of forced to be in the same room for hours on end.

I can tell you that when I was still at the Post, I covered a couple of different trials in Houston, Texas, including the trial of the former leaders of Enron. In that trial, the family members of the defendants were quite open and talked to you all the time. Some of the other people involved in the trial would talk with me during court breaks. It just became a very collegial environment.

Did you take notes during the Manafort trial? And if so, how were they organized?

No laptops or phones were allowed in that building, so I took a lot of notes. I had one of those long, thin reporter notebooks for each day of the case. I still have them, and I’m looking at them right now. I have my own little system of scratching out things that matter a lot and pulling down the pages. I made my own little jury verdict form. I’m going to keep that stuff for a long time, because this was quite an interesting trial to cover – I think I’m going to remember it for a while.

As soon as you left the courtroom on a typical day, what did you do?

I would usually be on the air around 5:00 or 5:30 every night, and court was not always done for the day. So I would have to leave the courthouse around 4:30 or 5:00 and run across the street to our hotel room. I’d check in with one of our producers – either Miles Parks or Barbara Sprunt – and find out exactly how much time I had to talk. And then I’d read the questions they were going to ask me, maybe jot down a few notes, and that was it. Not a lot of time to prepare.

Wow. I would be so nervous.

Well, the challenge is packing all the information you’ve heard that day into just three or four minutes. After you do it awhile, you get more comfortable.

What advice would you give to a young reporter covering a trial for the first time?

Read all of the briefs beforehand. You cannot cover court proceedings properly if you have not read all of the briefs. They’re a roadmap to where each side intends to go, particularly the government. And the list of witnesses and the list of exhibits and some of the arguments they make – all of that you need to know before you ever walk into the courtroom.

And then you need to keep an open mind, just as the jury does. Remember that in cases involving a jury trial, the jurors may not have heard or read everything that’s in the press about a matter. They’re evaluating a case just on the evidence that’s put before them. Try to keep an open mind about how that’s playing with these jurors.

What is a common mistake that a reporter might make while covering a trial?

I think you need to wait at least several days to get a sense of whether the strategies of one side or another is working. The Manafort trial was only sixteen days long, and that was very speedy. But I’ve covered trials that have been three or four months. There, it may take a while to understand what the government is up to and whether the defense is successful in taking a battering ram to the government’s witnesses and evidences – and creating that reasonable doubt that they need to win an acquittal. As a reporter, you need to keep an open mind about that.

When did you realize this in your career?

Every case is different. Most of the trials I’ve covered happen to be white collar fraud cases, although not all of them. Remember, something like 97% of cases in the federal system end short of a trial; they end in a guilty plea. So trials are kind of rare now. When you have one that has captured the public imagination, you need to enjoy the experience and do as good a job as you can. We don’t have that many trials anymore, which is kind of a sad thing both for the system and for people in my business.

How many trials do you cover in a given year?

The Manafort case that I just did was one of the first wall-to-wall trials that I’ve covered for NPR in eight years. It’s very rare that, in this environment of diminishing resources in newsrooms, a reporter will be allowed to do one thing and only one thing for a few weeks. Normally, news organizations like ours will cover the opening statement, maybe a key witness, and then the closing of the case and the verdict. That would be it. You wouldn’t be there every day, because there’s too much going on and not enough resources to cover everything else. I’m very appreciative to NPR for letting me take those two and a half weeks to really dig into this experience. It also was a function of how interested the audience was in Manafort’s case.

Are you busier on a normal day during the Trump presidency than you were on a normal day during the Obama presidency?

I have been busy almost nonstop since July 2016. From the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which was in June, to Jim Comey’s press conference in July… Then I covered the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and I also worked on election night. I came in thinking I was going to write a story about Hillary Clinton and ended up writing something very different. I also wrote the story of Trump’s inauguration speech, which, as you may remember, was intentionally unorthodox. I haven’t had a quiet day since. [laughs]

Except when I’ve been on vacation. Even then, it’s been wild. But it’s been wild for a lot of people. You’re friendly with Ben Wittes, who has been as busy as I have known him in more than twenty years. He’s working every single day of the week for Lawfare, or doing television, or organizing conferences. This administration has gotten us busy in ways we never expected.

Compared to other judges you’ve covered, how much did Judge Ellis stand out? Was he as unusual as the media made him out to be?

He did stand out. I have covered trials where judges have been involved, and sometimes tough on one side or the other or both. There are big cases where that has happened. But this judge, I think, was unusually active. He has said that he had reasons for that, and he has pointed out that appeals courts don’t really like judges talking that much. They also don’t do much about it.

I do feel as if by the end of the case, when the jury was outside the courtroom, or at bench conferences with the lawyers, the judge did acknowledge that perhaps he had miscalculated the public interest in this case. That’s certainly true. We had people lining up at 4:00 in the morning to get into that courthouse, which didn’t open until 8:00 am. We had wall-to-wall coverage from every major newspaper and television network. The notion that the judge didn’t quite get that the trial of the president’s former campaign chairman would attract so much public attention was a little puzzling to me. But I’m glad that, by the end of the case, he acknowledged his misjudgement.

When Manafort’s defense opted not to call any witnesses, that was also a major news headline. But many people on Twitter didn’t think it was a big deal. What’s your stance on that?

I was not surprised at all. The essence of their case was that Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business partner, was the main culprit. And they thought they did enough damage to Rick Gates in their cross examination that they would let things stand there. It’s not unusual for a defendant to decide not to testify, and it’s not unusual for a defendant not to put on a case. In fact, that’s actually a smart decision in a lot of cases. Had Manafort taken the stand, he could’ve done a lot of damage to himself. And remember, he has a second trial coming up in D.C. in September. There were lots of reasons why the defense didn’t put on an affirmative case of its own, and it wasn’t at all unusual to make that choice.

Were there any other widely spread misconceptions during the trial?

I think it can be a mistake for people to run in and outside the courtroom before a witness’s direct examination is done and before a cross-examination is underway. You don’t get the full picture of what the witness is testifying about, or whether the witness has credibility problems.

If you run out, you might report something that seems like a very big deal, but later in the witness’s testimony, or in cross-examination, it becomes much less of a big deal – or maybe even contradicted. So I think I would preach context, and taking the time to understand the full picture before running out of the courtroom.

If you run out, your chair might be stolen too!

That’s exactly true!

That’s a valuable currency in the courtroom.

People were getting quite hostile about it.

Yeah. I read a cool PBS article about what it’s like to cover the Manafort trial. I don’t know if this is directly connected to the chairs, but it said that reporters had to kill time while waiting for the jury’s verdict. How did you occupy yourself?

I actually read the physical newspaper – two of them, every morning, which made me super happy. Then I prepared for whatever verdict might be coming, and I read a book.

I also did a lot of chatting with other reporters. As you would imagine, reporters are super social animals. They all wanted to talk about what might be happening next, or where they wanted to go on vacation. We also spent a lot of time looking over the courtroom artists’ shoulders. Art Lien – who you’ve interviewed, I think – was there. He’s a wonderful, marvelous person. The other guy was Bill Hennessey, who’s also been in D.C. for a long time. We were looking at their work a lot and bothering them, probably, while they were trying to do their jobs.

Cool! Did the court artists stay in one place, or were they bouncing around to get different perspectives?

They were mixed in with all of us, depending on where you wanted to sit. But they usually got their own row because they needed to spread out a little bit with their materials.

It must have been strange to read about the Manafort trial in the newspaper while hanging out at the courthouse.

Yes, it was. It was. Before there’s a verdict, it was something to pass the time.

Are you reading any good books right now?

I just finished reading a new book by Kate Atkinson called “Transcription,” which is about a woman during World War II who did some espionage and then went to work for the BBC. It was terrific, and I read that in the courtroom while we were waiting for the verdict. I’m about to crack open something new this weekend, but I haven’t decided what yet.

Does your reading usually pertain to law or national security, or do you branch out more?
I wish I could say that I read a lot of nonfiction. I used to read a lot of it, but I have been so overwhelmed with news since 2016 that when I’m home at night, I like to read fiction to take me somewhere else. So I have big, big stacks of books to get through at home. But it’s hard to finish a book given the pace of news.

Are there any books you’d recommend about courts or the trial process?

When I started covering white collar crime for the Post, I read two books by a guy named James Stewart. He now writes a business column for The New York Times. One book was on the insider trading scandal in the 1980s, and it’s called “Den of Thieves.” The other book that he wrote, that I read before I covered the Enron trial, is called “The Prosecutors.”

I guess I could give you one more book while we’re at it. It’s not just about trials, but it’s about the Justice Department. This came out in the Clinton administration, and it’s called “Main Justice.” It remains a really great primer for what the Justice Department does and how it uses its resources. I still have that book on my shelf and look at it time to time for inspiration.

My last question is: If you could cover any trial in American history, which would you choose and why?

That’s really hard. You know what, I’m going to for an oldie but a goodie. When I go to conferences with criminal defense lawyers – or professors who believe in the adversarial system of justice – they all talk about John Adams defending people early on in America. He mounted a really zealous defense. So I would go back to the beginning and cover the Boston Massacre trials, which, in some ways, remains a high point in our system.

Other interviews conducted by Anna Salvatore: Lawfare editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes, former Solicitor General Neal Katyal, New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak, former Court writer Linda Greenhouse, SCOTUS court artist Art Lien, UCI Law Professor Leah Litman, IU Maurer Law Professor Ian Samuel, Fix the Court Director Gabe Roth, and litigant extraordinaire Fane Lozman. 

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