Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

On Joe Lieberman.

It looks like DADT repeal has the votes to pass the Senate: Proponents of repealing the military's ban on openly gay servicemembers have enough votes in the Senate to get it done this year. The only thing standing in the way of ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell now is time. Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is backing the standalone Don't Ask, Don't Tell bill in the Senate, his office confirms to TPM. So is Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The pair join Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Olympia Snowe (ME) in publicly supporting the measure, giving it more than enough votes to secure the 60 needed for cloture, the first step before a final vote that would almost assuredly come down on the side of repeal. If this happens, and the Senate votes to repeal DADT, something tells me that some liberals will have to rethink their anger over Democrats' decision to let Joe Lieberman hang on to his seniority after the 2008 election, when he publicly campaigned against Obama. Lieberman hasn't been the greatest...

Food Safety and Earmarks.

Food poisoning is a lot more common than I thought: One in six Americans gets sick from food every year, and about 3,000 die from those illnesses, according to data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [...] The report estimates that 48 million Americans get sick from food each year. Of that, 9.4 million become ill after consuming food contaminated by at least one of 31 known bacteria, parasites and other pathogens. But the remaining 38 million victims -- the lion's share -- are poisoned by unknown pathogens, according to the report. Reports like this give a little more context to the battle Republicans are waging against earmarks in the omnibus spending bill; John McCain might think it's silly to spend $246,000 on bovine tuberculosis treatment in Michigan and Minnesota, but for the rest of us, it's money to keep our food supply safe. The same goes for the $522,000 slated for cranberry and blueberry disease and breeding in New Jersey, and the $500,000...

Curb Your Bipartisanship

Real change to the presidential appointments process has to be partisan.

Sonia Sotomayor upon being nominated to the Supreme Court (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
There is nothing particularly objectionable about the Small Business Administration, and there is no reason that it shouldn't have a chief counsel of advocacy. But by the time Winslow Sargeant took office via recess appointment, the office had been empty for more than a year. Likewise, the Department of Justice needs a director for its Office for Victims of Crime, and though President Barack Obama nominated Beatrice Hanson last December, the Senate has yet to move her nomination out of committee. Progressives have been vocal about the Senate's obstruction of legislation and, recently, judicial nominees. But few people have noticed the Senate's obstruction of the executive branch and it's ability to function effectively. Indeed, at the 18-month mark of Obama's presidency -- this summer -- more than 20 percent of executive-branch positions were unfilled. At the moment, there are 177 pending nominations. Some, like Sargeant's, have been filled by recess appointment. But the vast majority...

Al Franken on the Obama Tax Deal.

Among the "yea" votes in the Senate's lopsided approval of the Obama tax deal was Minnesota Sen. Al Franken , who called it "the hardest vote he's taken." He explains his decision in a short piece at the Huffington Post: A lot of people are unhappy that the president punted on first down, and I’m one of them. Extending the excessive Bush tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires will explode our deficit over the next two years without doing anything to help our economy. I think it’s simply bad policy. But for Minnesota’s middle class, struggling to get by in a tough economy, there’s a lot in this bill that will really help: tax cuts for working families, a payroll tax holiday, energy tax credits, and the extension of Recovery Act initiatives that are already making a difference. And for the Minnesotans truly suffering right now — men, women, and children on the edge of economic disaster — the alternative is simply unacceptable. If we let Republicans block unemployment benefits,...

The Supreme Court Is Political, Cont.

Jeffrey Toobin on Judge Hudson 's ruling against the individual mandate : Personally, I found Hudson’s opinion unpersuasive. His invocations of Comstock were particularly misleading, in my view. But I found Hudson’s use of Comstock illustrative of a larger point. Judges, to a great extent, can do what they want. They can manipulate precedents to reach the conclusions they want to reach. In high-profile cases, the decisions are more about politics than law. If Hudson can cite Comstock for precisely the opposite of what that decision was clearly intended to do, all bets are off. The fate of health-care reform will rest not with the skill of the lawyers who will argue it—or in the words of the cases on which they will rely—but on the preferences of the nine Justices who will decide the case. I was a bit strong in yesterday's post , so let me rephrase it: On minor issues, the Supreme Court is more likely to rely on arguments and precedent in making its judgment. But on major issues, like...

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