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

Stop Defending the NCAA

Flickr/Daily Collegian

The possibility that last year's Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel might be suspended for selling his autograph to willing buyers has left more people aware of the grossly exploitative nature of the NCAA Cartel. There's good reason for that. Preventing players from even making deals with third parties to be paid is a particularly indefensible manifestation of the NCAA's rules. And citing "amateurism" in defense of this exploitation is no answer at all. There's certainly no prohibition on reaping commercial rewards from Johnny Manziel's sweat.

Who Cares What the Framers Thought about the Filibuster?

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Even the most indefensible elements of the status quo will always have their passionate defenders. The filibuster as currently practiced in the U.S. Senate has become particularly indefensible, and one of its staunchest defenders is Richard A. Arenberg, author of Defending the Filibuster. Arenberg has an op-ed in Politico summarizing his defense, which fails to convince.

I do agree with Arenberg on one point—the filibuster is constitutional. The Constitution does give the Senate the authority to set its own rules, and the filibuster violates no provision of the Constitution. Since I'm not a Republican nominee on the current Supreme Court, that settles the question for me however little I like the outcome. The Constitution gives the Senate the authority permit the filibuster if a majority chooses to do so. Whether the Senate has exercised its authority wisely is another matter, however, and in this case it simply hasn't.

The NSA Can't Be Trusted

flickr/Sparky

On August 9, President Obama gave a news conference at which he defended his administration's record on surveillance while proposing some modest reforms. Predictably, it got mixed reviews from observers concerned about civil liberties. Less than a week later, The Washington Post published an important story about the National Security Agency (NSA) that makes it clear more reforms are necessary—and undermine Obama's defense of his record.

Bloomberg's Stop-And-Frisk Program Is Unconstitutional

AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari

In a major victory for civil rights and civil liberties, a United States District Court Judge has held that the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policies are unconstitutional. Judge Shira Scheindlin's opinion justifying the ruling is a tour de force. Carefully assessing both systematic evidence and the cases of individual litigants, Judge Scheindlin leaves no serious doubt that the NYPD's policies are inconsistent with the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Against Douthat on Abortion Restrictions, Round Two

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Ross Douthat has a thoughtful response to two critiques—one from me at the Prospect and another from Katha Pollitt at The Nation—of his recent column on European abortion policy. It would help to clarify some of the empirical issues that are central to our disagreement.

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