Scott Lemieux

Scott Lemieux is an assistant professor of political science at the College of Saint Rose. He contributes to the blogs Lawyers, Guns, and Money and Vox Pop.

Recent Articles

Next for Clinton: A Running Mate

As speculation swirls over who would make the best running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, a key question is how her pick might tilt the balance of power in the Senate.

AP Photo/Steve Helber
AP Photo/Steve Helber Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to a question during a panel discussion on national security, Wednesday, June 15, 2016, at the Virginia Air and Space Museum in Hampton, Virginia. P olitical scientist Justin Vaughn recently invited 40 presidential scholars to name which running mate to Hillary Clinton would make the best vice president. Their choices, in order of preference, were HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, and Vermont Senator (and of course strong runner-up for the Democratic nomination) Bernie Sanders. It’s not a bad list. But it overlooks the all-important question of how Clinton’s pick will impact Democrats in the Senate, and overlooks a strong candidate now serving in Obama’s cabinet. At least one proposed nominee on the experts’ list, moreover, should be an utter nonstarter. If Brown were added to the ticket, Ohio’s Republican governor,...

Clinton Shifts Emphasis, but Not Position

Hillary Clinton’s supposed shift to the left has been overstated, as her support for a single-payer Medicare plan illustrates.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a get out the vote event at La Gala in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Monday, May 16, 2016. L ast week, Hillary Clinton unveiled a single-payer health insurance plan that would allow people to buy into Medicare starting at age 50 or 55. To some political reporters, this embrace of a public option represents an ideological shift. “Mrs. Clinton is moving to the left on health care,” asserted The New York Times , attributing it to her unexpectedly strong challenge from Bernie Sanders. Clinton was “floating a new idea,” declared The Wall Street Journal . But this is not precisely correct. There’s nothing remotely new about Clinton’s support for a Medicare buy-in or a public option for health insurance. From the beginnings of her husband’s administration, health care has been a major priority for her, and she deserves major credit for the Affordable Care Act, which closely resembles the plan that was a centerpiece...

The Limits of Originalism

Two recent rulings by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spotlight the limitations of originalist readings of the Constitution, which would dominate a Court controlled by conservatives.

S upreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recently issued two rather remarkable opinions that challenge landmark rulings of the liberal Warren Court, one directly and the other implicitly. The solo opinions—one on voting rights, the other on the right to criminal representation—may not portend major changes in the law for the immediate future. But together, the two opinions display the unworkability of Thomas’s influential brand of originalism, and they also show how radical an agenda a Supreme Court controlled by contemporary Republicans could pursue. Having blocked any consideration of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, Republicans on Capitol Hill have signaled their determination to ensure continued conservative dominance on the Court. On the Supreme Court, “conservative” is often associated with “originalism”— the idea that the constitutional provisions should be interpreted based on their meaning when they were ratified. Thomas is the...

"One Person, One Vote" Battle Just Starting

Three scholars scrutinize Evenwel v. Abbott, a Supreme Court ruling with broad implications for both the future of voting rights and the direction of the Court.

AP Photo/Eric Gay, File
AP Photo/Eric Gay, File In this May 30, 2013 file photo, Texas state Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa looks at maps on display prior to a Senate Redistricting committee hearing, in Austin, Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court handed Texas a victory Monday, April 4, 2016, upholding the state's system of drawing legislative voting districts based on everyone who lives there, not just registered voters. In its Evenwel v. Abbott ruling this month, the Supreme Court rejected a conservative voting-rights challenge that could have triggered partisan redistricting fights nationwide. Advocates of “one person, one vote” cheered, but the ruling may invite further challenges, and spotlights problematic originalist impulses on the Court. Carl Klarner and Daniel Smith examine Evenwel ’s legal impact, and Scott Lemieux tackles what Justice Clarence Thomas’s originalism means for the ruling and for the Court. DANIEL A. SMITH & CARL KLARNER The Battle Over "One Person, One Vote," Has Just Begun A fter the...

Obama and the Supreme Court: Lose Today, Win Tomorrow?

In choosing a successor to Antonin Scalia, Obama would do well to play the long game and consider a nominee with strong progressive credentials.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais President Barack Obama walks speaks to reporters about the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at Omni Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage, California, Saturday, February 13, 2016. T he unexpected death of Antonin Scalia leaves President Barack Obama with an unusual choice. He is not, precisely, nominating someone to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Republican Senate leaders have clearly signaled that they will not consider allowing Obama to fill the seat. In a sense, Obama’s nomination is symbolic—the first shot in a war that will, if progressives are lucky, allow Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders to nominate Scalia’s replacement in 2017. When choosing among nominees, Obama would do well to consider several factors with an eye on the long game. One thing Obama is likely to try to do is to minimize substantive grounds for opposition. A sitting federal judge who attracted bipartisan support and generated little controversy during the...

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