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


PRISON REFORM AND THE PLRA. I strongly recommend reading this post about the Prison Litigation Reform Act , which makes it more difficult for prisoners to sue and reduces the scope of potential litigation in ways that enable appalling prison conditions to continue. This is particularly problematic because (due to prisoners' evident lack of political clout) prison reform has always been a litigation-driven exercise, as Feeley and Rubin have explained in great detail. Limiting prisoners' right to sue in this manner is effectively the equivalent of sanctioning substantial amounts of abuse; hopefully Congress will amend some of the bad effects of PLRA. The SAVE coalition has a list or recommendations with other useful resources here . -- Scott Lemieux


JUDGMENT . Matt is right about this . In addition to the fact that it's contrary to progressive interests to have Penn advising people, there's the additional issue of what it says about Clinton's priorities that she would hire him in the first place. Clinton wants her head pollster to be somebody whose specialty is giving catchy names to wholly arbitrary groups of affluent people as a justification for throwing progressive policy initiatives under the bus. This says something important about her judgment, and what it says is obviously not good. -- Scott Lemieux


ONE LIFE. I also agree with Ezra about this . There is, of course, no "correct" choice for dealing with a such a tragedy, and had Edwards dropped out of the race to take care of his wife it would be entirely beyond criticism. But the same, I think, is true of the choice they did make. As I've said elsewhere, I certainly would not want my hypothetical spouse to give up her lifelong ambition because I got sick. Good luck to them both. --Scott Lemieux


CLINTON NON. To hop into the debate , I pretty much fully endorse the arguments of Matt , Sam , and Ezra . In particular, I would like to highlight the apercus that " nobody is entitled to a presidential nomination on account of unfair treatment at the hands of scoundrels, and liberals should avoid the danger of judging Clinton 's political maneuvers and struggles from her perspective rather than from the perspective of what's best for liberalism," and "Clinton's new dissembling, on an issue where the record is so clear, fits a pattern: Not only is she not much of a liberal, she actually seems determined to insult liberals' intelligence." I'm also not persuaded by the vote-counting data adduced by Garance . You can't compare raw vote totals without considering the fact that Clinton represents one of the most liberal states in the country and Edwards represented one of the most conservative. In context, it seems to me that Edwards ' voting record is at least as progressive, and...


COULD 2001 HAVE BEEN THE NEW 1937? Matt replies here to my post from yesterday about the 2000 election. There seem to be two separate arguments he's making here. On the less important issue of whether Gore squandered an opportunity because he failed to "propose a particularly ambitious domestic agenda during the 2000 campaign," I suppose that all things being equal I would have preferred that he do so. But as I said yesterday, I don't think that it's terribly consequential in terms of what he could have accomplished, and given the states in play he had sound strategic reasons for not doing so. The more important question is "would [it] have been feasible for a progressive president to secure a similarly-scaled, though differently directed, package of reforms." I am certain that it would not have been. The fact that, from a rational policy perspective, 2001 would be a good time for an ambitious progressive agenda is neither here nor there in terms of the political viability of such a...