Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

White Victims > Black Victims.

You should read the whole thing , of course, but here is one of the more noteworthy portions from Justice John Paul Stevens ' essay on the death penalty in the current issue of The New York Review of Books : In 1987, the Court held in McCleskey v. Kemp that it did not violate the Constitution for a state to administer a criminal justice system under which murderers of victims of one race received death sentences much more frequently than murderers of victims of another race. The case involved a study by Iowa law professor David Baldus and his colleagues demonstrating that in Georgia murderers of white victims were eleven times more likely to be sentenced to death than were murderers of black victims. Controlling for race-neutral factors and focusing solely on decisions by prosecutors about whether to seek the death penalty, Justice Blackmun observed in dissent, the effect of race remained “readily identifiable” and “statistically significant” across a sample of 2,484 cases. On that...

The Anti-Democratic Strain in Tea Party Conservatism.

Apparently, you're not a "real" conservative unless you want to amend the Constitution in order to settle scores with your political enemies: Michael Stokes Paulsen, a professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minnesota, said he was there to deliver bad news. "Washington, D.C., remains in substantial part enemy-occupied territory for those who favor any serious meaningful, permanent reforms that would effectively limit national government," he said. He thinks the federal government has so stretched its constitutional limits that the only way to snap it back into shape is with a constitutional convention called by the states. He acknowledged the very idea created a "split between the buttoned-down, starched-shirt real, true conservative conservatives who fear a constitutional convention and the rabble-rousing, redneck tea party types who say, 'Yeah, bring it on.'" Jonathan Bernstein wrote a great post on a similar subject over the weekend, so I'll just quote him here, "If...

The Solid South.

According to Politico 's Jonathan Martin , the Democratic South finally died with this month's midterm elections: For Democrats in the South, the most ominous part of a disastrous year may not be what happened on Election Day but what has happened in the weeks since. After suffering a historic rout — in which nearly every white Deep South Democrat in the U.S. House was defeated and Republicans took over or gained seats in legislatures across the region — the party’s ranks in Dixie have thinned even further. In Georgia, Louisiana and Alabama, Democratic state legislators have become Republicans, concluding that there is no future in the party that once dominated the so-called Solid South. I'd only note that this is the final culmination of a process that began with the 1994 midterm elections, where a large portion of Republican gains that year came from formerly Democratic strongholds in the South. Those voters were not strangers to voting for Republicans; they regularly supported GOP...

Off the Mark

Conservatives ranting against earmarks are really promoting big government.

House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
Republicans' railings against President Barack Obama's "socialistic" domestic agenda -- which really just consists of modest attempts to correct market failures -- include a particularly ironic crusade against earmarks. To conservatives, congressional pork is a classic example of a big-spending government, which is why they almost unanimously oppose the practice of allowing legislators to add funds for projects in their states or districts on top of unrelated bills, with little to no debate. In Politico last week, Rep.-Elect Sean Duffy of Wisconsin called banning earmarks a no-brainer, because they "symbolize everything Americans resent about Washington's business-as-usual." As of this week, Republican leaders in the House and Senate have endorsed earmark bans for the 112th Congress. Taking a page from his newest colleagues, incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner declared: "Earmarks have become a symbol of a Congress that has broken faith with the people. This earmark ban shows...

Good Times for Business.

How much of Congress' unwillingness to do anything on the economy has to do with the fact that business owners aren't exactly feeling the hard times? American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.66 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or non-inflation-adjusted terms. Corporate profits have been going gangbusters for a while. Since their cyclical low in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits have grown for seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history. Business owners aren't all rich people, but a large portion of rich people are business owners, and since Congress is most likely to respond to the interests of rich people, it shouldn't be a huge shock that they aren't too worried about the economy. After all, their business friends are doing just fine! Also, remember this the next time...

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