Sarah A. Seo is a legal historian of criminal law and procedure in the 20th-century United States. Currently, she is a professor at Columbia Law School, where she teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, and legal history. Previously, Seo taught at Iowa Law School. Seo's first book, "Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom," was published in 2019. Her work has appeared in academic journals, The Atlantic, Boston Review, Lapham’s Quarterly, Le Monde Diplomatique, The New York Review of Books, and The Washington Post. Seo received her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2007, and then clerked for Judge Denny Chin, then of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and Judge Reena Raggi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
Is a mobile home a home or a car? Is a car parked inside a home part of the home? The answer to these stoner philosophical questions determine the scope of police power. Over the last 100 years, the Supreme Court has presided over the expansion of police discretionary powers to stop, search, and arrest people through litigation over automobiles. This week, we look at the stories of those decisions, including Carroll, Ross, and Whren, We then turn to the political morality of police discretion, and why John Rawl's test of public reason places far more constraints on law enforcement than the Supreme Court ever would. We investigate the consequence of public reasons tests for targeted policing, racial profiling, and consider whether police should have the power to overrule democratically elected criminal laws. Guest voices include Sarah Seo, Brandon Del Pozo, and archival audio from SCOTUS.In Slate Plus, Sarah Lustbader and Barry talk about how to implement public reasons test for policing, and how the existing system has judges and prosecutors presume that arrest is the default rightful response to lawbreaking, rather than being a default wrongful response for malum prohibitum crimes. To get the full bonus episode, sign up for Slate Plus at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sarah Seo, the author of How Cars Transformed Policing, talks to us about what rights we have in our cars, and what rights we don’t. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Good morning, this Thursday is another Sam/Michael hybrid episode. Today's show features an interview Sam recorded with Iowa University Law Professor Sarah Seo about her latest book, Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom. Sam and Seo discuss how the rise of personal automotive transportation led Americans to expect and accept a seemingly ever-growing police state in America. Michael will host the Fun Half. We're live at noon EST. Become a member of the Majority Report today! Don't forget to subscribe to Majority.FM's new morning podcast the AM Quickie! Check out today's sponsors: Hunt A Killer is the murder mystery subscription box that immerses you in an ongoing detective experience. Right now, just for our listeners, you can go to for 20% off your first box. Get your tickets to the Goth Socialist Variety Hour w/ The Antifada and Pod Damn America featuring guests Matt Christman, Virgil Texas, Leslie Lee III & Comrade Barbie at Littlefield NYC on Saturday, October 12 here! Get your tickets to the Michael Brooks live show in Philadelphia on Saturday, November 23rd (the weekend before Thanksgiving) with special guests Krystal Ball and Emma Vigeland! Get your tickets here. Check out Michael’s latest piece in Jacobin, “How Bernie Sanders Should Talk About Venezuela and US Intervention in Latin America” Check out The Michael Brooks Show at, and the new TMBS YouTube channel for all short TMBS clips Check out Matt’s podcast, Literary Hangover, at, or on iTunes. Check out Jamie’s podcast, The Antifada, at, on iTunes, or the new Antifada Youtube channel Follow the Majority Report crew on Twitter: @SamSeder @_michaelbrooks @MattLech @jamie_elizabeth @Bf1nn
In popular culture the car is seen as a symbol of freedom. But as Sarah Seo ’02 *16 writes, driving a car is also “the most policed aspect of everyday life.” Seo, a legal historian and the author of Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom, discusses the history of the automobile and its impact on the law and law enforcement in the United States, from a new interpretation of the Fourth Amendment to the issue of discriminatory policing.
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Creator Details

New York, New York, United States of America
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2 hours, 56 minutes
Podchaser Creator ID logo 309930