DISCOVERY presented by UW Law

University of Washington School of Law

DISCOVERY is a podcast presented by the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, WA, featuring distinguished guests discussing today's biggest social, political and legal issues. Episodes focus on a diverse mix of legal and legal-adjacent topics through intimate conversations with experts, speakers and leaders from around the globe. For more, visit law.uw.edu/podcast. read less
Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

The Laws of Space Mining
Jan 3 2024
The Laws of Space Mining
If fishing in international waters is legal, what about mining asteroids and the moon for water ice and precious metals? Turns out in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) is lawful, as governed by the Outer Space Treaty and Artemis Accords, and embraced as advancing the cause of space exploration. Of interest to NASA and other civil space agencies around the globe, as well as a number of companies and academic organizations, ISRU actually offers lucrative opportunities for the rise of the world’s first trillionaire. So what laws govern the pursuit of commercial space exploration, and what legal prohibitions or safeguards exist against disputes over resources?  In this New Year episode of Discovery, we explore the legal landscape of ISRU with Austin Murnane, Senior Legal Counsel at Blue Origin, a rocket launch and human spaceflight business based in Kent, Washington. In 2023, Murnane spoke at UW Law’s Space Course: “The Case for Space Stations” and inaugural Space Law Diplomacy Symposium. Murnane is a former U.S. Marine with a J.D. from Fordham University and published The War Storytellers in 2015. He also holds a master's degree in Space Resources and is currently working on his Ph.D.   Murnane shares insights about the regulation of space mining as well as multiple parties’ interests, the continued evolution of the partnership between government and commercial parties, and an anticipated timeline for the development of technology that will make ISRU possible in outer space.
Operating in the Shadows
Nov 15 2023
Operating in the Shadows
On June 29, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against race-based admissions at college campuses nationwide after hearing companion cases by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) that challenged admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina (UNC). SFFA overturned the 2003 ruling by a more liberal Supreme Court in the case Grutter v. Bollinger, which affirmed that a student’s race could be used as one of multiple factors in admissions decisions at the University of Michigan.  Affirmative action was rejected by the conservative majority on the bench, which agreed that UNC’s policies violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and that Harvard’s affirmative action plan discriminates against Asian American students, a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But did it really change the way campus admissions will operate?  In their forthcoming paper in the Texas Law Review, “The Goose and the Gander: How Conservative Precedents Will Save Campus Affirmative Action,” Professor Guha Krishnamurthi of the University of Maryland Carey Law School contends (along with his co-author Peter Salib) that though affirmative action is legally dead, race will still figure into holistic admissions procedures-- just not as a check-box item. In this episode of Discovery, we speak with Prof. Krishnamurthi about the previous state of play in race-based admissions and his opinion that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against campus affirmative action has no practical effect on the way schools operate. He argues that due to the Supreme Court’s decades-old rulings that statistical proof cannot carry a constitutional discrimination claim, universities will only be liable in litigation if they admit that they practice affirmative action, so most schools will pursue diversity by other means, simply by operating in the shadows.
Building by Building
Feb 17 2023
Building by Building
As part of UW Law’s storytelling around Black History Month, the Discovery podcast interviewed Dr. Kara Swanson, professor of law and affiliate professor of history at Northeastern University in Boston, about the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. This lesser-known event, which Dr. Swanson calls the “racially motivated wholesale destruction of a community,” details the tragedy that befell the lives and property of the residents of the Greenwood area of Tulsa, Oklahoma – otherwise known as Black Wall Street – on May 31 and June 1, 1921. The Tulsa Race Massacre is not part of the property law curriculum in legal education but has much to teach us. History shows us that racial identity is significant to questions of property, so there are costs and consequences to excluding such events. The basic principle of trespass failed to withstand anti-Black racism. In this episode, Dr. Swanson takes the listeners on her journey of discovery and reflection of what we might learn if property law was taught with knowledge of the Tulsa Race Massacre and other events connected to race.  Dr. Swanson shares her scholarship on the law of trespass from a 2021 symposium, “The Tulsa Race Massacre: What’s Race Got to Do With It?” which marked the tragedy’s 100th anniversary. Dr. Swanson will be speaking with the 1L Perspective students at UW Law in March. A property law professor with interests in legal history, intellectual property law, gender and sexuality, and the history of science, medicine, and technology, Dr. Swanson has a Ph.D. in the history of science from Harvard University. Before entering law school, she was a published research scientist.
First of its Kind
Oct 28 2022
First of its Kind
In 2020, the police-involved killings of Manuel Ellis in Tacoma and George Floyd in Minneapolis were two cases among many incidents across the nation which led to the recent establishment of the Office of Independent Investigations (OII) earlier this summer in Olympia. Signed into law by Governor Inslee, the OII is a civilian-led agency that conducts investigations into police-involved incidents of serious harm or death. The agency’s creation offers an opportunity to improve public faith in police accountability.   In June 2022, Roger Rogoff became director of the new OII. Rogoff’s career in the criminal justice system spans 27 years, including roles as judge in King County Superior Court as well as in the juvenile courts, and as both prosecuting and criminal defense attorney. In addition to serving as assistant U.S. attorney, Rogoff most recently served as legal counsel for Microsoft on matters of data privacy and public safety. As Gov. Inslee stated, “Roger’s experiences make him exceptionally suited to lead an agency, independent of law enforcement or the governor’s office, to investigate cases.”  In this episode, Rogoff details how the OII is working thoughtfully and efficiently to fulfill its mission. He explains the office’s priorities for its first six months, law enforcement’s response to the agency’s creation, the way the OII will work with other parties, employment prospects, and how OII roles like family liaisons and community liaisons address the need for transparency around investigations of police use of force.