Adam Serwer

Adam Serwer is a writing fellow at The American Prospect and a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He also blogs at Jack and Jill Politics and has written for The Village Voice, The Washington Post, The Root, and the Daily News.

Recent Articles

Mandate Optimism

Conservative George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr has bravely predicted the outcome of the case against the individual health care mandate once it goes to the Supreme Court, and he seems pretty confident it'll be upheld: Here are my guesses. Justices Breyer and Ginsburg are pretty obvious votes for the mandate, as they dissented in United States v. Lopez . Justices Kagan and Sotomayor seem like safe votes for the mandate, even if only for the reason that there is almost no opposition to the constitutionality of the mandate in the Democratic establishment from which they were appointed. Chief Justice Roberts will likely vote to uphold the mandate given the very expansive views of the Necessary and Proper clause that he signed on to just recently in United States v. Comstock . I suspect Justice Kennedy will vote to uphold the mandate given his concurring opinion in United States v. Lopez . And I’m pretty sure Justice Thomas will vote to strike down the mandate given his...

On The "Submissive" Question

There’s a lot of chatter about the decision of the moderators in last night’s Republican debate to ask Michele Bachmann “As president, would you be submissive to your husband?” But for all the focus on whether or not the question is sexist, the real problem is that asking it mostly helps the candidate without shedding further light on anything important about their views. While the question may have seemed sexist or unfair, the fact is that the question was premised on her own words. In 2006, Bachmann said she pursued a law degree because ““The Lord says: Be submissive, wives. You are to be submissive to your husbands.” Here was Bachmann’s answer: Marcus and I will be married for 33 years this September 10th. I'm in love with him. I'm so proud of him. And both he and I -- what submission means to us, if that's what your question is, it means respect. I respect my husband. He's a wonderful, godly man, and a great father. And he respects me as his wife. That's how we operate our...

The ACA Mandate Isn't "Unprecedented"

The latest health care ruling from the 11th Circuit, striking down the individual mandate, uses the word "unprecedented" to describe the mandate more than a dozen times*. The opinion concludes that "It cannot be denied that the individual mandate is an unprecedented exercise of congressional power." The 2-1 ruling is significant in that it marks the first Democratic appointee to vote to strike down the mandate, and the second Republican to vote to uphold it. It also upheld the rest of the law, striking down only the mandate. The thing is that the individual mandate is um, quite " precedented ." The opinion rationalizes the precedent set in Wickard that Congress has the authority to regulate activity that has "substantial economic effect on interstate commerce." The 11th Circuit judges, like the other opinions before them, argue that people not purchasing health insurance "have not made a voluntary choice to enter the stream of commerce," which is an odd argument, both because not...

Relitigating Torture

I have to admit I'm confused by this reader email posted by Ben Wittes on the recent Donald Rumsfeld torture civil cases , which he says " totally represents my own uncertainty" on the matter. On the one hand, there are some pretty carefully-thought-out legal arguments as to why the lawsuits should be dismissed: Extension of Bivens is not favored, interference with military decision-making, etc. On the other hand, I can’t escape the feeling that this is one of those issues where there is a narrow chain of legal reasoning, each step of which is perfectly reasonable, leading you to a conclusion that seems completely untenable, namely that an American citizen who was detained arbitrarily, held incommunicado and without access to counsel for as long as 9 months, tortured, and then released without charges has no remedy. But I equally can’t escape the feeling that this is a case that is not about damages for a wronged individual but about exposing and relitigating the policies of the last...

Due Process In Last Night's Debate

Debates are often a decent barometer of ideology, since candidates fall all over themselves to ingratiate themselves to their respective bases. Republicans have long since coalesced around a position of denying individuals accused of terrorism due process, but it's still remarkable to watch Republican presidential candidates reject due process out of hand. Here's Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, disagreeing with Texas Rep. Ron Paul about trying suspected terrorists in civilian court: Well, because, simply, terrorists who commit acts against United States citizens, people who are from foreign countries who do that, do not have any right on our -- under our Constitution to Miranda rights. We've also seen that Guantanamo Bay has yielded significant information. In fact, we've learned that that led to the capture and the killing of bin Laden. This is a tool that we need to have in order to be able to prosecute the new type of war, the new type of warfare, and the new type of...

Pages