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

PUNITIVE DAMAGES AND...

PUNITIVE DAMAGES AND LESSONS ABOUT THE COURT . The Supreme Court today will hear oral arguments in Philip Morris USA v. Mayola Williams . The case concerns a $79.5 million punitive damage claim against Phillip Morris that was upheld by the Oregon Supreme Court. (See here and here for more background.) There's a good chance that the Oregon Court's decision will be reversed based on a Kennedy's opinion in State Farm v. Campbell , which discovered a limit against virtually all punitive damages that "awards exceeding a single-digit ratio." Pragmatism is one thing; inventing a right against punitive damage awards that are inconsistent with the Base 10 numbering system (or, in other words, finding a constitutional significance in the number of fingers on the human hand) is quite another. This case should remind us that, despite all of the attention given to hot-button social issues, the courts are also likely to be a major player in the Republican battle to ease restraints against...

AND THEN WHAT?

AND THEN WHAT? I have a lot of problems with Amy Sullivan 's recent piece about the opportunities allegedly presented by David Kuo 's new book. First of all, I reject her entire premise that Democratic politicians don't reach out to religious believers, and since she never mentions the names of prominent Democrats who treat believers with contempt it's impossible to evaluate her claims. Second, Sullivan's claim that liberal bloggers have "spent so much time fear-mongering about American theocracy that a book illustrating the opposite simply makes no sense to them" is belied by the fact that what is surely the most-discussed liberal book of the second Bush era makes the well-known case that evangelicals are being played for suckers by the business elite that really holds the power in the GOP. Kuo's revelations aren't so shocking as to be incomprehensible to knowledgeable liberals, but are rather banal. But my biggest problem with Sullivan's argument continues to be that she's...

THE MAJORITARIAN DIFFICULTY II.

THE MAJORITARIAN DIFFICULTY II. Looks like it's Jonah Goldberg Monday here on Tapped . Kevin Drum finds him claiming that the last "100 years" of liberalism has been about "shoving things down people's throats." Drum identifies the most obvious problem: the core elements of the liberal accomplishments of the last century -- most importantly the New Deal/Great Society safety net and civil rights protections -- are very popular, which is why conservatives get power only when they don't oppose them. But what's particularly remarkable is Goldberg's list of examples: "bussing, racial quotas, gay marriage, Title IX." He can't even cherry pick four without destroying his underlying argument. Busing, I'll give him, was unpopular and in some cases ordered by courts (although I'd love to hear what he would have done as a federal judge facing school boards with long histories of transparent constitutional violations trying to nullify judicial opinions striking down school segregation). But the...

SEPERATE AND UNEQUAL.

SEPERATE AND UNEQUAL. To follow up on my general concerns about federal rules intended to make single-sex education more common, Brad Plumer cites the details of the ACLU's suit against gender-based education in Louisiana, which persuasively cites evidence that this education reinforces gender sterotypes. More concerns expressed here and here . I also agree that it's important to make distinctions between K-12 and higher education here; unless the programs involved are very specialized (like VMI), having single-sex univiersities is much less likely to foreclose opportunities for women than single-sex high schools. --Scott Lemieux

IF YOU LIKE...

IF YOU LIKE THE WAR ON (SOME CLASSES OF PEOPLE WHO USE SOME) DRUGS, YOU'LL LOVE ABORTION CRIMINALIZATION. Jill Filipovic , while discussing the incredibly draconian new abortion ban set to be enacted in Nicaragua (which doesn't even have an exemption of the life of the mother), points us to data which reinforces a point that should be central to pro-choice discourse: abortion bans are failures even on their own terms . The Latin American nations which best reflect the combination of draconian bans, miserly social services, moralistic sex "education," and reactionary gender relations favored by most American pro-life groups also have very high abortion rates, much higher than those in most countries where abortion is not only legal but state-funded. Because affluent women have access to abortion even in regimes far more serious about enforcing bans than the United States ever was , and many women without the connections to get safe abortions will seek them on the black market, abortion...

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