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

Why the Courts Matter to LBGT Rights

AP Images/Elaine Thompson

The eminent legal scholar and federal judge Richard Posner has a self-described "revisionist" piece on litigation and same-sex marriage in The New Republic. Since it is partly a review of Michael Klarman's From the Closet to the Altar, much of what I have to say about Posner's piece is contained in my review of the Klarman book, and I won't repeat all of those arguments in the same detail here.

A Guide to Anti-Choice Concern Trolling

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If you're a supporter of reproductive rights in the United States, you're forced to endure various forms of concern trolling. The centrist form, perfected by Slate's Will Saletan, exhorts supporters of abortion rights to concede that abortions are icky and that the good faith of people who support criminalizing abortion must be conceded even when their arguments are a moral, political, and legal shambles. While outright opponents of abortion rights are certainly willing to use these techniques, they have innovations of their own. The concern-troll-in-chief for opponents of reproductive rights is Ross Douthat of The New York Times. Last weekend's manifestation is a particularly good example, both because the arguments are relatively sophisticated and because Douthat is frequently generous enough to provide the material that refutes his own arguments.

California's Teeming Prisons

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Nearly 30,000 California prisoners are on hunger strike to protest various abuses, including the extensive use of solitary confinement. This strike is the latest reflection of just how broken the state's prison system is. In turn, the problems in California showcase the myriad messes that increasingly define American crime-control policy.

Ginsburg's (Pyrrhic?) Triumph

AP Photo/Ron Edmonds

The two major same-sex marriage cases decided by the Supreme Court in June were puzzling for at least two reasons. Windsor, which struck down a major provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, featured a notably opaque opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Hollingsworth v. Perry, on the other hand, which resulted in legal same-sex marriage in California—albeit through a technicality—had a vote lineup that bore little relationship to how justices typically vote in standing cases, suggesting strategic voting on both sides. Part of the reason for these anomalies might be the Justice Kennedy's uneasiness. But it's worth noting that the outcome produced by these two cases is consistent with the long-held beliefs of one justice who was (unlike Kennedy) in the majority in both cases: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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