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 FORGOTTEN TERRORISM:

THE FORGOTTEN TERRORISM: Garry Wills 's fine recent New York Review of Books article about the Bush administration's systematic evisceration of the separation of church and state recalls this important story: After his nomination but before his confirmation, Ashcroft promised to put an end to the task force set up by Attorney General Janet Reno to deal with violence against abortion clinics -- evangelicals oppose the very idea of hate crimes. The outcry of liberals against Ashcroft's promise made him back off from it during his confirmation hearings. In 2001, there was a spike in violence against the clinics -- 790 incidents, as opposed to 209 the year before. That was because the anthrax alarms that year gave abortion opponents the idea of sending threatening powders to the clinics -- 554 packets were sent. Nonetheless, Ashcroft refused for a long time to send marshals to quell the epidemic. And although this has also been largely forgotten, the fake anthrax attacks were mild...

LATE NOTES ON FEDERALISM AND JIM CROW.

LATE NOTES ON FEDERALISM AND JIM CROW. I'm very late in wading into the Jim Crow/federalism debate , but a couple of points I haven't seen anyone else make yet: Eugene Volokh is right that the "federalism permitted Jim Crow, and hence it's bad" argument is fallacious. Just as no constitutional theory can consistently prevent normatively odious outcomes when they have substantial political support, there is no institutional arrangement that can always produce outcomes than one considers to be normatively desirable. (If asked to design a new American constitution, I would unquestionably choose a Parliamentary model with a very powerful federal government; but while I strongly believe that this would produce more congenial political outcomes from my perspective in the long run, it would also have produced much worse outcomes from my perspective than the current Madisionian framework did in 2002-6.) However, I don't think this is the real problem with "states' rights" and Jim Crow. The...

WHEN DID RULINGS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS COURTS BECOME NATIONALLY BINDING?

WHEN DID RULINGS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS COURTS BECOME NATIONALLY BINDING? Mickey Kaus has the latest iteration of the countermobilization myth: Even in a highly Republican town like Plano, in other words, the religious objection to gay marriage isn't the crucial objection. Fear that moral entropy will envelop your family's children is the crucial objection. I don't see how that fear is addressed theologically. I would think it has to be addressed practically, over time, by repeat demonstration . But time is one thing a rights-oriented, judicial route to gay marriage doesn't allow. I've been through the extensive theoretical and empirical problems with the claim that litigation is a more divisive means of achieving social change than legislation many times, so I won't repeat them in detail here. But leaving aside the fact that last year Kaus was using anecdotes from Plano on the assumption that it was a bastion of cultural liberal elitism, what's remarkable about the argument is that the...

WE CAN"T AFFORD...

WE CAN"T AFFORD NOT TO HAVE UNIVERSAL HEATHCARE : To follow up on Atrios and Ezra , let me carry the stats in this Times article one step further. Let's use their figures to extrapolate government health care spending per capita: United States $2745 France $2464 Canada $2215 Again, our system doesn't just spend far more money than France's much better system and Canada's heavily flawed but still better system, but more government money. And as Krugman says today: Part of the answer is that our fragmented system has much higher administrative costs than the straightforward government insurance systems prevalent in the rest of the advanced world. As Anna Bernasek pointed out in yesterday�s New York Times, besides the overhead of private insurance companies, �there�s an enormous amount of paperwork required of American doctors and hospitals that simply doesn�t exist in countries like Canada or Britain.� In addition, insurers often refuse to pay for preventive care, even though such care...

WHAT'S NOT THE MATTER WITH KANSAS

WHAT'S NOT THE MATTER WITH KANSAS : Freshly re-elected governor Kathleen Sebelius has some gratifying parting shots for Kansas's outgoing Underwear Drawer Monitor Phil Kline : Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today criticized Attorney General Phill Kline�s actions in his abortion investigation into George Tiller. �The story just continues to get stranger and stranger,� Sebelius said in response to questions from reporters. On Wednesday, a state district judge rejected for the second time an attempt by Kline to file charges against Tiller, a Wichita doctor who performs abortions. Kline, an abortion opponent, said he would appoint Don McKinney, also an anti-abortion advocate, as a special prosecutor to take over the case before he leaves office Jan. 8. Asked if she thought Kline�s actions were appropriate, Sebelius said, �I think what the judge found is that he did not follow the law, he did not abide by the steps that needed to be taken. He looked at it twice, and to me that�s not appropriate to...

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