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


THE GROWNUPS IN CHARGE . Hilzoy explains the implications of today's revelations about the abject fiasco that is Bush 's North Korea policy: Let's be very clear about what this means. We used to have a deal, the Agreed Framework, that kept North Korea from getting plutonium. We supposedly discovered that they were cheating on that deal by enriching uranium. Personally, I did not think that was a good reason to scrap the Agreed Framework -- making a uranium bomb takes a lot longer than making a plutonium bomb, and I didn't see why the discovery that North Korea had embarked on a slow, cumbersome process of developing nuclear weapons, one that wouldn't actually produce any weapons for years, was a reason to say: well, go ahead and develop nuclear weapons much more quickly, then! All this time, though, I was assuming that the North Koreans actually had a uranium enrichment program, and that they actually were cheating on the Agreed Framework. That's what this article calls into question...


GORE'S OBSTACLE. Media Matters has a good response to Richard Cohen, who blames nameless "colleagues" for the interminable media smear campaign against Al Gore in 1999 and 2000, while conveniently forgetting his own frequent participation in said campaign. This does remind us of a point indirectly raised by Ed Kilgore . Not only is Gore exceptionally well-qualified for the office, he's somebody who can generate support in the Democratic Party from the netroots to Marty Peretz -- one would think that this would be a compelling reason for him to run. But even among people (like me) who would unquestionably be Gore supporters if he joined the race, there has to be serious concern about whether we'd be in for 18 months of Love Canal and Earth Tones and I Invented The Internet and God knows what other crap people would invent out of whole cloth. It is possible that the countless foreign and domestic policy disasters of the Bush administration may convince some people in the media that...


THIS AIN'T NO KOREMATSU, THIS AIN"T NO FOOLING AROUND. The Canadian lawblogger Pithlord has a good analysis of the Supreme Court of Canada's recent Charkaoui decision , which held that the Canadian government's procedures for detaining and deporting terrorist suspects were insufficient to meet the requirements of fundamental justice. As he said, the decision is judicial review "at its best": "[t]he Court encouraged a more moderate response to a serious problem, one that has the potential to reduce miscarriages of justice." The Court's meticulous balancing of legitimate state interests and constitutional rights is particularly instructive in light of Benjamin Wittes' world-weary sneering about the inherent incapacity of courts to make reasonable legal judgments during times of war. --Scott Lemieux


AGAINST FALSE COMPLACENCY. Brad Plumer has a good piece about how any Republican President will almost certainly try to replace John Paul Stevens with a doctrinaire reactionary in the mold of Sam Alito . To add to his point, I think it's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that most landmark liberal precedents survived a significant number of Republican appointments (even leaving aside the fact that this is, as Brad notes, a misleading metric - -the Rehnquist Court's strategy was to largely drain precedents of substantial content rather than overturn them outright). First, you will often hear the idea that many Republican appointments have been "disappointments," with the implication that it's more likely than not that a new swing appointment will be surprisingly liberal (indeed, a few people -- despite a complete lack of evidence -- made this claim about Alito himself.) But this is misleading -- conservative justices selected for ideological reasons have, in...


POLITICS IS CONFLICT. I see David Broder has penned yet another paean to the "bold" Unity '08 project. (Broder's next column: it would be a really "bold" idea to have a sitcom in which a dumb fat guy is married to a supermodel.) This whole thing is so stupid that it almost lends it too much dignity to even criticize it, but it is instructive of the way in which High Broderism simply can't understand that people strongly disagreeing isn't some sort of social crisis -- it is simply inherent to politics. If it's too hard to get things done, that's about American political institutions, not ineluctable "partisan bickering." It must be said, however, that this iteration does contain one new twist. Normally, the affluent male pundits who are the only people who care about Unity '08 suggest candidates that are real fiscal conservatives and nominal social liberals, assuming (quite erroneously) that the majority position among pundits is the majority position of the electorate. This is...