Aliza Shatzman on Judicial Accountability

Daniella speaks with Aliza Shatzman, president and co-founder of the Legal Accountability Project, about advocating for judicial employees.

Part of a Series

This week, Daniella is joined by Aliza Shatzman, president and co-founder of the Legal Accountability Project, a nonprofit organization focused on ensuring ​that law clerks have positive, rewarding experiences as they start their legal careers. Aliza shares her experience facing retaliation and harassment from a powerful judge in Washington, D.C., and describes why her story drove her to help prevent others from facing similar situations. Daniella also breaks down why former Vice President Mike Pence is no hero in the story of January 6 and explains why the U.S. economy isn’t on the brink of a recession.

Learn more about the podcast here.


Daniella Gibbs Léger: Hi everyone, welcome back to “The Tent,” your place for politics, policy, and progress. I’m Daniella Gibbs Léger. We’ve got a great interview lined up for you with Aliza Shatzman, the co-founder of the Legal Accountability Project. It’s a moving and powerful discussion about Aliza’s experience facing retaliation and harassment from a powerful judge in [Washington,] D.C., and her work to ensure clerks have positive, rewarding experiences as they start out their legal careers. But first, you know it. We’ve just got to get to some news.

So, there are a couple of things I’ve got to get off my chest. And yes, that means we’re going to talk more about Republicans. I’m so sorry. As you know, the January 6 committee wrapped up its first round of public hearings, and it’s been a real doozy for [former President] Donald Trump and his allies. Don’t worry, they’ve already been renewed for a second season that’s coming to a station near you later this fall. In case you missed last week’s primetime hearing, we now know that Trump was well aware of the violence on the Capitol as it unfolded on January 6 but chose not to act. And despite pleas from his own officials, former staffers, and even current members of Congress trapped up on the Hill for 187 minutes, Trump did nothing but watch TV and call Rudy Giuliani to try and get more Republicans—you know, whose own lives were in danger­—to overturn the election.

It’s pathetic, and one of the many disqualifying things Trump has done as President of the United States, which leads me to one Mike Pence, his former vice president. 2024 is somehow just two years away, and you’ve probably noticed that Mike has been doing some things that most politicians contemplating a presidential run do. He’s been making curious trips to states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Sound familiar? I am literally triggered just by hearing those states. He’s been speaking out against former President Trump and endorsing a different set of candidates than Trump has in the midterms. Oh, and Pence also has a new book coming out later this November literally called So Help Me God. So help me God, if this person runs, I’m going to be sick to my stomach.

The latest speculation is that Pence will probably run for president—there goes my stomach—even if Trump decides to throw his hat in the ring again. But let’s be clear here: Despite the adoration that Mike Pence has received in the press in recent weeks for the actions he took on January 6, he is not a savior, and here’s why: Sure, he did what he was supposed to do on January 6, and he certified the election for Joe Biden. That’s great, but it’s the bare minimum. It reminds me of a classic Chris Rock riff from one of his earlier comedy specials, where he was making fun of fathers who brag about taking care of their kids. And he was like, “Of course you’re supposed to take care of your kids, you low-expectation mother-bleep.”

Anyway, let’s not forget that Pence—he first called Dan Quayle—yes, that Dan Quayle, the former vice president to George H.W. Bush—to ask him if he could overturn the results. Let me repeat that. He checked to see if he could do Trump’s bidding and overturn the results. Thankfully, Dan Quayle said, “No, you can’t.” And for months, as Trump sowed doubt about the election in the lead up to November 2020, Mike Pence stood by and did nothing to call out Trump’s outrageous anti-democratic behavior.

And let’s be honest, that’s exactly how Pence went about his time as vice president. He stood with Trump through every despicable thing that man did. A quick reminder in case you forgot or blocked it out of your mind, Pence locked arms with Trump in fighting to take health care coverage away from more than 20 million Americans. He fought to pass a $1.9 trillion—with a “T”—tax giveaway to the wealthy and major corporations. He stood by President Trump’s inhumane and outrageous border policy that put kids in cages and separated families. He didn’t condemn Donald Trump when he said there were “very good people on both sides” of the white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, [Virginia,] in 2017, nor did he speak out against the Muslim travel ban.

And in case that’s not enough, let’s not forget that Pence is currently leading the fight for a nationwide abortion ban. As governor of Indiana, he passed cruel anti-LGBTQI+ legislation; tried to stop the resettlement of Syrian refugees in his state fleeing the horror of Bashar Al-Assad; and more. So, let’s be clear. Mike Pence is as MAGA as it gets. And let me say it louder for the people in the back: This is not somebody we want anywhere close to the White House.

Now, speaking of outrageous things that give me a headache, if you’ve been anywhere close to a TV and watching the breathless coverage of the economy, you’re probably thinking, “Oh my god, the economy is falling off a cliff.” Well—newsflash—it’s not. Let’s get a couple of things right about what is and is not happening with the economy. Yes, as of this taping, we expect the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates another 0.75 percentage points as it works to pump the brakes on the global issue of inflation that is impacting our economy. And yes, most expect after this episode airs Thursday morning we’ll get a report on GDP that show the economy contracted for a second quarter in a row. And yes, some people will suggest that’s a harbinger of a recession. But despite what you hear from media pundits, most other economic indicators are actually quite strong.

And so, no, we’re not in a recession—at least not as it’s been traditionally defined or experienced. First and foremost, let’s be clear: The group at the National Bureau of Economic Research that is the official arbiter of whether the U.S. is in a recession has said before that two consecutive quarters of declining GDP growth does not automatically mean we’re in a recession. When we look at the past seven recessions, this country has faced, mass job losses occurred during all of them. That’s not where the economy is today.

Here’s what it actually looks like: Job growth, consumer spending, business investments—all the metrics that governments and economists use to assess the strength of the economy—are up. Since January 2022, we’ve added 2.2 million jobs, one of the fastest periods of job growth on record during the first few months of any year. We’ve recovered 98 percent of the jobs lost during the pandemic, and 100 percent of the private sector jobs that were lost during that time. And I can go on. Unemployment insurance claims remain not just low but much lower than what tends to occur before a recession. Layoffs are also at near historic lows, and job openings are at near record highs. The unemployment rate also remains close to historic lows, and production and real spending are strong. Oh, and gas prices? Well, they’ve also fallen 69 cents per gallon in the past 42 days. They’re under $4 a gallon in a number of states. According to the White House, that’s the sixth straight week of declining prices nationwide and the fastest decline in over a decade.

These are not the usual signs of an economy in a recession. And you don’t have to take my word for it. You can take the International Monetary Fund’s. They recently said the U.S. economy has staged a strong recovery from the pandemic and that they believe the United States will “avoid a recession.” Now that’s not to say that things like high prices aren’t a global challenge that just about every country is facing. They are, and the administration is doing everything they can to tackle this issue at home. That’s why the Federal Reserve is closely monitoring the economy and raising interest rates. I will note it’s also important that they don’t overreact and risk causing a recession either.

So, at the end of the day, don’t fall for all this talk about a recession and economic doom and gloom. Take a pause. Look at all the economic indicators. And most importantly, consider the source of what you’re hearing. If there’s anything else you’d like us to cover on the pod, hit us up on Twitter @TheTentPod, that’s @TheTentPod. And please let us know what you think of the show. You can rate and review us wherever you’re streaming from, and we really appreciate your feedback. Stick around for our interview with Aliza Shatzman in just a beat.

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Gibbs Léger: Aliza Shatzman is an attorney and advocate based in Washington, D.C., who writes and speaks on the subject of judicial accountability. After personally experiencing harassment and retaliation by a former D.C. Superior Court judge during her clerkship, she co-founded the nonprofit Legal Accountability Project, which seeks to ensure that as many law clerks as possible have positive clerkship experiences, while extending support and resources to those who do not. Aliza, thanks so much for joining us on “The Tent.”

Aliza Shatzman: Thanks for having me on the show.

Gibbs Léger: So, there’s been a lot of attention in the media recently on our courts and the judges and justices making decisions around critical issues like abortion rights, but your work focuses on the staff that support that work. So, tell us a bit about clerkships, you know? How do they work, and what role do they play in our judicial system?

Shatzman: Sure. So, law clerks are typically fresh out of law school—though increasingly, judges are seeking clerks with a little bit of work experience. But they’re young attorneys, and they opt for a pay cut to spend a year or two working for and learning from a judge. It could be either a state court judge or a life-tenured federal judge. And the issue about clerkships is the application process is quite decentralized and—particularly troublesome for my work—there’s really no way to know how to watch out for judges with a history of misconduct.

But basically, clerkships are when the young attorney spends a year or two working for and learning from a judge. Tasks vary from chambers to chambers, but most law clerks conduct research. They write orders and opinions. They go to court with the judge and assist them with judicial decision-making. They really get a crash course in trial lawyering. So, for folks who want to become public defenders or prosecutors, they learn a lot from observing the judges and the attorneys in the courtroom. And in the best of circumstances, it can really create a great lifelong mentor-mentee relationship between judge and clerk, where the judge helps the clerk throughout their career, serves as a reference, helps them get their next job. Unfortunately, in the worst of circumstances—which is what I spend a lot of time thinking about and talking about—it can really become a lifelong negative relationship that goes far beyond mistreatment in chambers, to a long-term, negative, retaliatory relationship between judge and clerk that can really make it enormously difficult for law clerks to secure their next jobs and pursue careers in the legal community.

Gibbs Léger: So, let’s talk about that a little bit. What are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve seen clerks face in the workplace and who do they affect the most?

Shatzman: Law clerks face a variety of challenges in the workplace. The issue with the judicial chambers is it’s a very isolated workspace. It’s typically a judge, one or two law clerks, and a judicial assistant working long hours behind locked doors in stressful circumstances. And judges face no oversight—regardless of the courthouse they work in—over their day-to-day dealings with their clerks. And there’s just an enormous power disparity between an often Senate-confirmed, life tenured judge, and a fresh out of law school clerk. It makes it enormously difficult for law clerks to speak out even in the face of mistreatment. And when I talk about mistreatment, it’s a variety of things. It is mean comments. It is bullying. It’s gender-based harassment, which is what I faced. It’s sexual harassment, which is what some 9th Circuit judges were accused of in the past couple of years. It’s retaliation, which is also what I faced. So, it’s a variety of issues.

And law clerks reach out to me every day to share their stories, confide in me, thanking me for what I’m doing. And I hear a lot of the same troubling fact pattern, which is: “My judge bullies me, and they call me into their chambers and tell me I am a poor performer, I’m not dedicated to the clerkship, but they won’t give specifics.” And I hear that over and over and it’s really just a smokescreen for mistreatment. But the challenge is—as if these this type of mistreatment were not devastating enough—the judiciary is exempt from Title VII, which is our anti-discrimination law that protects most employees from discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. Judges are not subject to strong judicial misconduct policies. And there are very few workplace protections in these judicial workplaces, and they are certainly not standardized. So, depending on what courthouse you work in, you could be particularly disadvantaged in the resources that are afforded to you, should you be faced with mistreatment and should you need to seek advice or reassignment or assistance.

Gibbs Léger: So, you touched on this a bit. You co-founded the Legal Accountability Project to address these issues. And I know that this came because of the personal experience that motivated your advocacy that you mentioned. Can you share with our listeners your story and how it inspired you to come to this work?

Shatzman: Sure. So, I served as a law clerk in D.C. Superior Court, D.C.’s local trial court, during the 2019–2020 term. And I selected the clerkship because I wanted to be a homicide prosecutor in the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office, and I knew that D.C. U.S. attorneys have appeared before D.C. Superior Court judges. Unfortunately, beginning just weeks into the clerkship, the judge for whom I clerked began to harass me and discriminate against me based on my gender. He would kick me out of the courtroom and tell me that I made him uncomfortable and he just felt more comfortable with my male co-clerk. He would tell me I was bossy, and aggressive, and nasty, and a disappointment. The day I found out that I passed the D.C. bar [exam]—so, big day in my life—he called me into his chambers. He got in my face, and he said, “You’re bossy. I know bossy because my wife is bossy.”

And I was just devastated. I mean, this was my first job out of law school. I was a couple months into my legal career. And I just remember crying myself to sleep at night, crying in the courthouse bathroom. I just wanted to be reassigned to a different judge but my workplace did not have employee dispute resolution, or an employee dispute resolution (EDR) plan in place that might have enabled me to be reassigned. And I confided in some friends and mentors who advised me to stick it out. I knew that I needed a year of legal experience to be eligible to apply to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and I needed a reference from a judge.

So, we eventually transitioned to remote work during the pandemic. In March of 2020, I moved back to Philadelphia and stayed with my parents and worked remotely. So, the judge basically ignored me for six weeks before he called me up and he told me he was ending my clerkship early because I made him uncomfortable and lacked respect for him. Then he hung up on me.

Gibbs Léger: This is remarkable, my gosh.

Shatzman: So, I called D.C. courts’ human resources (HR) and they told me there was nothing they could do because HR doesn’t regulate judges, and that judges and law clerks have a unique relationship. And then they asked me, didn’t I know that I was an at-will employee? So, I connected with a couple of D.C. courts judges who directed me to the D.C. Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure, which is the regulatory body for D.C. judges where I would ultimately file my complaints. I drafted my complaint in May of 2020. But I decided to wait to file it until I had a new job, because I was worried this judge was going to retaliate against me.

So, it took me about a year to get back on my feet. [I] secured my dream job in the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office (D.C. USAO), [and] moved back to D.C. in the summer of 2021. And I was two weeks into training at the D.C. USAO when they told me that the judge had made negative statements about me during my background investigation, that I wouldn’t be able to obtain a security clearance, and that my job offer was being revoked.

Gibbs Léger: Wow.

Shatzman: So, a couple days later, I was offered an interview for a different position with that office and a couple days later, that offer was also revoked based on the judge’s same negative reference. I was two years out of law school and this judge seemed to just have limitless power to destroy my reputation and ruin my career. So, that is when I filed my judicial complaint with the D.C. Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure, added some sections about the negative reference, which I hadn’t yet seen but believed was gender-based, hired attorneys, and then in the summer and fall of 2021 participated in the investigation into the now former judge. And we were partway through the investigation when I found out that he was already on administrative leave pending an investigation into other misconduct at the time he filed the negative reference, but the D.C. USAO wasn’t alerted of that.

And then it wasn’t until January of 2022 when—pursuant to the terms of our private settlement agreements—he issued a clarifying statement to the D.C. USAO addressing some, but not all, of the outrageous statements he’d made about me. But by then it was too late. The damage had been done. It had been too long, and I was pretty much blackballed from what I thought was my dream job at the D.C. USAO.

Gibbs Léger: Wow, I … you can’t see me, but my mouth is, like, open. I am just horrified by this. And that is a really powerful story. Thank you for sharing that with us. I mean, I can’t imagine what it is like to have somebody in that kind of power position do that to somebody who is fresh out of law school. And you’re saying, you know, this is a pattern that has happened. And I have to imagine that behavior like this is not helping create diversity within the ranks of clerkships, which I think is an obstacle probably to diversity in our judiciary branch altogether.

Shatzman: Absolutely. That’s exactly—that’s something important that I definitely like to talk about is this creates a pipeline issue. We have a less diverse law clerk population and a less diverse profession because of judicial misconduct. Because, I mean, anecdotally, I know that it’s women, minorities, LGBTQ law clerks, who are being mistreated by judges and driven from the profession. And today’s law clerks aren’t only tomorrow’s, you know, assistant U.S. attorneys and public defenders and big law attorneys. They’re also tomorrow’s judges. We have a less diverse bench because of judicial misconduct. And as we know from the news right now, who’s on the bench is enormously important. And I’m just really concerned that there are attorneys even now who don’t see that this is an enormous, unaddressed issue. And we are just doing an enormous disservice to the next generation of young attorneys by not ensuring that their workplaces are safe, are free from discrimination and harassment.

Gibbs Léger: So, to that end, you know, one of the important policies that you are advocating for on a legislative level is the Judiciary Accountability Act. Can you give us an overview of what that proposed law is and what it does?

Shatzman: Absolutely. So, the Judiciary Accountability Act, or the JAA—that’s H.R. 4027 in the House and S. 2553 in the Senate—that would extend Title VII protections to federal judiciary employees, including law clerks and federal public defenders, enabling them to sue their harassers and seek damages for harms done to their lives, careers, and earning potential. But in addition to that, it would also create accountability for judicial misconduct. It would amend Title 28 of the U.S. Code to redefine judicial misconduct to include discrimination and retaliation. It would also specify that judges who retire, resign, or die, if there’s a misconduct investigation into them, that won’t cease. It would standardize employee dispute resolution, or EDR, plans, which right now is the internal complaint process for law clerks, and it would create a confidential reporting system so that law clerks who are facing mistreatment but are not ready to report formally can report there. And the third, really important aspect is it would impose some data collection requirements on the judiciary. It would require the judiciary to conduct a workplace culture assessment, which they have been notoriously unwilling to do. It would also collect and report data on outcomes of judicial misconduct complaints and the lack of diversity in clerkship and federal public defender hiring.

So, it’s enormously important legislation. It doesn’t fix everything, but it would be a real step in the right direction, and it would align the judiciary with the other two branches of the federal government. As of 1995, both Congress and the executive branch are subject to, and their employees are protected by, Title VII pursuant to the Congressional Accountability Act and the Presidential and Executive Office Accountability Act. Law clerks aren’t asking for special protections. They’re asking to be protected like other employees in similar workplaces.

Gibbs Léger: So, why do you think the judiciary has been so slow to adopt these protections that, like you mentioned, other branches of government have? Is it because they’re just insular, like, islands among themselves? What do you think it’s about?

Shatzman: So, honestly, I think some judges do believe that they are above the law. And I think my story is some of the best evidence we have that there are judges who believe and act as if they are above the law. I mean, they should be subject to the anti-discrimination laws that they interpret and enforce every day. I mean, the arguments that the judiciary gives in opposition to the JAA and other legislation are just—they’re nonsense. I mean, they talk about how it threatens judicial independence, which is ridiculous. That’s a smokescreen. This legislation has nothing to do with their rulings. It has everything to do with how they treat their employees.

I think they also make arguments about congressional oversight, that it’s intrusive, and how they want to self-police. But we know from similar workplaces—like the military and police unions—that internal self-policing doesn’t work. And the judiciary has had, like, 200 years to attempt to internally self-police and they are just notoriously unwilling to do so. Right now, law clerks have two options. They can file a formal judicial complaint under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act or an EDR complaint. Both of those are currently overseen by other judges, which means there are few complaints and when they’re filed, they’re dismissed. We really just need to take these processes outside the judiciary’s chain of command. They have had opportunities to propose new policies. They’ve had opportunities to internally self-regulate, and they have just failed to do so over and over. So, I think their arguments are just hollow. And I mean, they make pathetic attempts. They created this Workplace Conduct Working Group a couple years ago, and they just, you know, release these nonsense reports each year. So, you can tell that I’m unpersuaded by … yeah.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, yes. So, we like to end our interviews here on a positive note. And, you know, it sounds like your nonprofit is making some exciting progress on several of your initiatives. So, what are you most excited for about this next phase of the Legal Accountability Project? And if people want to learn more information or perhaps get involved, what can they do?

Shatzman: The Legal Accountability Project is a nonprofit that I launched recently with a law school classmate. We’re basically seeking to ensure that as many law clerks as possible have a positive clerkship experience and then extending support and resources to the ones who don’t. The two initiatives that I am most excited about in the fall are our centralized clerkships reporting database and our workplace culture assessment.

So right now, there’s really no way for law clerks to know who the good judges are to apply to, or who the misbehaving ones are to avoid, unless they connect with a current or former clerk who’s willing to give them the full scoop. And historically, law clerks don’t always do that. They fear retaliation by the judge. They fear reputational harm. What we are doing is creating a centralized database where current and former clerks will file reports anonymously about their clerkships—good, bad, or medium—and law students from the participating institutions will be able to read all the reports. It’s the best way to democratize and centralize the information. So, every law clerk from every school will be able to look out for misbehaving judges so that my clerkship reality is nobody else’s clerkship reality. And we are speaking with about 50 law schools right now in the process of identifying partners. We’re very excited about the interest from law schools on that.

And the other thing we are doing is a workplace culture assessment of the federal and state judiciaries. As I mentioned a minute ago, the JAA would create such an assessment, but in the meantime, we’re hoping to pick up the slack for what the judiciary has been unwilling to do and finally elucidate some data on the scope of the problem, because I really think that quantifying the true scope of judicial misconduct is the first step toward crafting effective solutions and protecting the next generation of law clerks. And then, I mean, the third aspect is that I will be on a lot of law school campuses in the fall, sharing my story, talking about the Legal Accountability Project’s initiatives, and just encouraging a culture of reporting. I like to think that my story is one of empowerment. And I just really want to empower other law students and clerks to speak up, demand safe workplaces, and if they are former clerks who have faced mistreatment, I really just want to encourage a culture of reporting. Combat this toxic culture of silence in the legal community that really discourages law clerk reporting. You can find out more on our website, that’s legalaccountabilityproject.org. You can reach out to me on social media, Aliza Shatzman. You can email me. I’m pretty active on social media, and I love hearing from current and former clerks.

Gibbs Léger: Well, that is great information for our listeners. And I really just want to applaud you for not only telling your story, sharing your story, but taking action that I know could not have been an easy choice or decision to make. But the ramifications of the work that you’re doing, I think it’s going to have just great effects into the future. So, Aliza Shatzman, I want to thank you so much for joining us on “The Tent.”

Shatzman: Thank you.

Gibbs Léger: As always, thanks for listening. Be sure to go back and check out previous episodes. On the good news front, Joe Biden is out of isolation. He’s tested negative for COVID. He’s proof that modern science works and I’m very happy for him because—although, really, being isolated at the White House is probably a lot better than being isolated in my basement, I’m just gonna guess. But I’m happy for Uncle Joe.

You know what time it is right now, right? We got to talk about the last episode of “The Bachelorette.” Here, again, with us is Sam Signorelli, our digital producer. Hi, Sam.

Sam Signorelli: Hello, hello.

Gibbs Léger: So, where do we want to begin with this hot mess of an episode where my feelings went from anger to hot rage to sadness to rage. Where would you like to begin?

Signorelli: Yeah, these men ain’t it.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, there you go. They are not it, except for Nate. I like Nate.

Signorelli: Oh, yes.

Gibbs Léger: Until he shows me that he’s not it. So hopefully that doesn’t …

Signorelli: He’ll probably disappoint too. But we’ll hold out hope.

Gibbs Léger: We’ll hold out a little bit of hope. I just, to skip all the way to the end—they have now separated the men into Gabby’s men and Rachel’s men, which is what they should have done from the beginning.

Signorelli: Yes.

Gibbs Léger: And I refuse to believe that “The Bachelorette” producers didn’t know that that’s what they should have done from the beginning. But they wanted to get some like messy TV with the women crying, with the guys being expletives. Like they knew this was going to happen.

Signorelli: Yeah, I would agree. And I mean, to be fair, though, I guess you’re right. Why should we ever expect any of these men who go on a reality show to not disappoint? But I just couldn’t believe that they had the nerve to look Gabby in the face and be like, “Um, yeah, even if you were the only Bachelorette, I would leave. You’re smokin’ though.” I could puke.

Gibbs Léger: I mean I could puke. I could like throw a brick at my television. I was so … I was like, “First of all, how dare you?” Like one of my favorite memes on Twitter was like, imagine being a ‘four’ and telling a ‘10’ that you wouldn’t be interested in her. Like, sir, please get out.

Signorelli: Exactly. It’s just embarrassing.

Daniella Gibbs Léger: It is embarrassing. And look, like there’s a way—like one of the guys, I can’t remember his name—there’s a way to say, “Hey, you know, I just wanted to let you know that I’m feeling more vibes with Rachel and I just wanted to be upfront about that.” You can do that without putting down Gabby and saying, “She’s rough around the edges.” Excuse me, what the ‘F’ does that mean?

Signorelli: I know. For those of you who listened last week, Hayden did indeed disappoint, so …

Gibbs Léger: I mean, he really, really did—like, so disappointing. And like, “Line up with his values?” I’m like, what are you trying to imply about Gabby?

Signorelli: Yeah, what does that even mean?

Gibbs Léger: I don’t know what that means. And I just don’t like him. And I still have feelings for Erich that are in the realm of I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him.

Signorelli: Yeah, it’s the mullet. It’s the mullet.

Gibbs Léger: It is the mullet, and it’s the being from Bedminster. I’m sorry, if you’re from Bedminster. But I’m from Jersey, so I can say that. But I don’t trust him. And I feel like he—I worry that he is happy he got the rose, like in the moment when he got it, but probably was gonna try and see what was up with Rachel too.

Signorelli: Yeah, I don’t know. And not all these men acting like it was the NFL football draft as they were walking over to their perspective groups. They were chest bumping and stuff. What are you doing?

Gibbs Léger: Honestly, it was so childish and ridiculous. And I felt so bad though for Rachel in that moment. I mean, just Jesse walking and snatching the roses from her. I was like, “Dude!”

Signorelli: Oh, I know. It was very … I just couldn’t … It was really hard watching it live. I’m so used to watching it a couple days later. So not being able to pause it and just take a moment to yell was very painful. I had to hold it in so I could hear what was happening.

Gibbs Léger: Exactly. I know I started watching it and then like my husband came down from putting our child to bed. So, we watched something else. And so when he goes to bed is when I finish watching it. So, you had sent me a text. I was like, “No spoilers, please.”

Signorelli: Yes, I did send my boss a late-night text about “The Bachelorette.” That is just our working relationship.

Gibbs Léger: Exactly, I think it’s very healthy. So, I am—I mean, of course I’m very much looking forward to next week to see how now the separate journeys play out. It seems like …

Signorelli: On the cruise …

Gibbs Léger: Right, on the cruise, which, I’m not a cruise person.

Signorelli: Me either.

Gibbs Léger: If you love that kind of travel, that’s great. It’s not my ministry, being stuck in a big boat for days where I can’t get off. Yeah, does not appeal to me.

Signorelli: Agreed.

Gibbs Léger: So, this seems like it’s going be fraught with peril, but I am looking forward to getting them out of the out of the mansion and into the world. So that’s pretty exciting.

Signorelli: Yeah, I am excited for what’s to come.

Gibbs Léger: Yes, and in that way, “The Bachelorette” producers have won. ‘Cause they know.

Signorelli: Yeah, they do. They keep doing it.

Gibbs Léger: They have us. Alright, so, we’ll talk more about this obviously through the week, but we’ll be back here next week with our hot “Bachelorette” takes.

Signorelli: Already can’t wait.

Gibbs Léger: And people, feel free to, you know, join in on the conversation on Twitter. We don’t just have to talk about policy. We can talk about “The Bachelorette.”

Signorelli: Mhm, there’s political implications to “The Bachelorette.” We’ll find them.

Gibbs Léger: We’ll figure it out. We’ll publish it on the CAP website. Alright guys, thanks so much for listening. Take care of yourselves, and we’ll talk to you next week.

“The Tent” is a podcast from the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It’s hosted by me, Daniella Gibbs Léger. Erin Phillips is our lead producer. Kelly McCoy is our supervising producer. Tricia Woodcome is our booking producer, and Sam Signorelli is our digital producer. You can find us on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Daniella Gibbs Léger

Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategy


Erin Phillips

Broadcast Media Manager

Kelly McCoy

Senior Director of Broadcast Communications

Tricia Woodcome

Former Senior Media Manager

Sam Signorelli

Policy and Outreach Associate, Government Affairs

Explore The Series

Politics. Policy. Progress. All under one big tent. Produced by CAP Action, “The Tent” is a news and politics podcast hosted by Daniella Gibbs Léger and co-hosted by Colin Seeberger. Listen each Thursday for episodes exploring topics that progressives are focused on.


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