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


DAMN THOSE LEGISLATIVE ACTIVISTS! You have to hand it to Mitt Romney --like so many opponents of same-sex marriage, he's principled. These decisions should be left to the legislature. Unless, of course, the legislature reaches an outcome you don't like, in which case the executive can veto the legislation and urge that it be resolved by the courts. Or, in Romney's case, when the legislature give you the wrong answer, you return to the courts , claiming another kick at the can because the legislature has used the method it usually uses to defeat enactments rather than the method you'd prefer. Although somehow I doubt that people who ( selectively ) decry "judicial activism" will object to this attempt to use the courts to "thwart the will of the people." As for the chances of the lawsuit succeeding: Lawrence M. Friedman, a specialist on Massachusetts constitutional law at the New England School of Law, said the court must decide if the State Constitution requires the legislature to...


WHEN YOU THINK YOU'VE LOST EVERYTHING, YOU FIND OUT YOU CAN ALWAYS LOSE A LITTLE MORE . So it's not just that Bush 's new chief of family planning services, Eric Keroack , uses wacky cartoons to teach kids reactionary, anti-scientific nonsense about sexuality. Apparently, he's not even a board-certified ob-gyn . Heckuva job, Bushie! (In fairness, as Bush appointments to crucial family planning posts go, he's still not quite as bad as David Hager .) -- Scott Lemieux


ROBERT ALTMAN. I was lucky enough to see a beautiful 35mm restoration of La Regle Du Jeu last week. The most obvious modern inheritor of the "open" filmmaking style invented by Renoir , Robert Altman , has died. Altman was a risk-taker, and as is well-known this made him uneven. ( Pauline Kael , one of his biggest critical supporters, said about the disastrous Quintet that "Altman has reached the point of wearing his failures like medals. He's creating a mystique of heroism out of emptied theaters.") But the upside is that he made a number of pictures that will be seen as long as people watch American movies. For me, the canon starts with the hauntingly lovely McCabe & Mrs. Miller , Nashville --his most successful Renoir-style social panorama--and the superb late-career Raymond Carver adaptation Short Cuts . And since any fan needs one, my favorite of his less-lauded pictures is California Split , his loose, amiable picture about happily degenerate gamblers. He was a giant of...

Partial-Birth's Trojan Horse

This month, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Gonzales cases, which concern the constitutionality of the Federal Partial-Birth Abortion Act . (There were two cases because the law was struck down by two different circuit courts.) There are three central questions about this case to consider as we await the Court's decision next year: 1) should the Court rule the legislation unconstitutional? 2) will the Court rule it unconstitutional? and 3) does it matter? The answers are 1) absolutely, 2) probably not, thanks to the American electorate catching on to George W. Bush two years too late, and 3) more than you might think. The legislation bans Dilation and Extraction (D&X) abortions, in which a fetus is delivered whole into the vaginal canal before the abortion rather than being dismembered in the womb. (There is actually a serious argument that the legislation is sufficiently vague as to encompass many abortions performed by the more common Dilation and Evacuation, or D...


MCCAIN AND ABORTION: THE DANCE OF DISINGENUOUSNESS. John McCain has come out for overturning Roe . Frankly, I'm not sure what this tells us that we didn't already know . McCain has already expressed support for the draconian ban in South Dakota, and voted to confirm Robert Bork and Samuel Alito . And in case McCain apologists once again mention that McCain "said that if his daughter wanted an abortion, he would leave the decision up to her," I note that the fact that McCain wouldn't dream of applying general bans on abortion to people in his social circles doesn't make him a pro-choicer; it makes him a Republican . John McCain's daughter won't have a problem getting an abortion whether Roe is good law or not, but a lot of other women won't be so lucky. Social conservatism for thee-but-not-for-me is pretty much what social conservatism means in this country. And his justification for supporting the overturning of Roe is also classically dishonest: MCCAIN: I don�t think a constitutional...