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Matt Mackowiak's Mack On Politics

Smart political talk every week from Austin, Texas political consultant Matt Mackowiak, who has served in senior roles for two U.S. Senators and the Bush administration.
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Feb 6, 2017

In the 10th episode of ‘Mack on Politics,” we examine Russia and the Supreme Court with two experts: Michael McFaul and Ed Whelan.

Michael McFaul served as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation from 2010-2012 in the Obama administration and served on the Russia desk at the National Security Council for three years before that. Fluent in Russian, he is currently a professor at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute. We discussed what is going on in Ukraine, what Vladimir Putin is personally like (he first met him in 1989), what the U.S. just did with sanctions against Russia (and what they are considering next), whether NATO remains a vital alliance, what Putin is up to in Syria, whether the “Russian Reset” worked, what a post-Putin Russia will look like and we review his personal experiences while he served in Moscow as Ambassador.

Next, we dive deep into the Supreme Court with Ed Whelan, the President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), a former clerk to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Whelan gives us an overview of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, we discuss why originalism and textualism matter and whether judges should care about “outcomes.” Then, we looked at Gorsuch’s ten-year record on the Court of Appeals, previewed the Senate confirmation battle and the debate over the filibuster, discussed the current spring term and the upcoming fall term, and ended with his view on what it was like to work in the Supreme Court, what Justice Scalia was really like, and what the stakes are whenever the next vacancy arrives.

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