Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

The Black Unemployment Picture.

To offer a few points on top of Tim's post , it's worth noting the extent to which this recession is still nearly a depression for people of color. Among African Americans, the unemployment rate for October was 15.7 percent, a small change from September's rate of 16.1 percent, but still 6 points higher than the total rate, and close to double the rate for white Americans. The picture is far worse for African American men and teenagers. Black men have an unemployment rate above the average for the population as a whole -- 16.3 percent for October -- and for black teenagers, the unemployment rate is 48 percent (by contrast, the rate for white teenagers is 23.6 percent). To repeat a point, the recession has virtually wiped out the last two decades of income and employment gains by African Americans. The sensible thing to do would be to just give money to disadvantaged African Americans -- and other poor people -- so that they can spend and bring the economy up with them. Of course, a...

The Vacancy Crisis

Obama has made fewer judicial nominations than any president in recent history -- with disastrous consequences.

Art by Michael Sloan
This summer wasn't easy for the Delaware Federal District Court. With one long-standing vacancy and an impending retirement, the four-seat court was hugely backlogged. "Because of the Speedy Trial Act," says Caroline Fredrickson of the American Constitution Society, "they've had to take their whole criminal caseload and outsource it to other federal courts." It was a drastic move, but the only way Delaware could have handled its growing load of civil cases -- judicial business that concerns people who have lost jobs, homes, and livelihoods and need the court's assistance. Thanks to this "fundamental breakdown in the judicial confirmation process," she says, "people are waiting and waiting, and yet there is no justice." This isn't an isolated problem. Lower courts in the United States have more than 100 vacancies, with 20 empty seats on the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and 84 on the District Courts. According to the Alliance for Justice, 22 state courts have openings that are...

"Half a Mil" Is the New Middle Class.

Mike Allen gives details on the contours of the upcoming fight over how to extend the Bush tax cuts: Hill sources tell us an income of up to $250,000 a year "is dead as the dividing line" for distinguishing the middle class in extending the Bush tax cuts, based on input from wounded returning Dems. Instead, negotiations will begin around a figure like $500,000 or $1 million. The administration play is to try to "decouple" the middle- and upper-class extensions, with a permanent extension for the middle class and a temporary extension for the top tier (maybe one or two years). "That gives us a better message," said a key Dem. aide. "Otherwise it's like the AMT, where we have to have this debate every year and then punt for another year." Politically, decoupling middle- and upper-class tax cuts is the best choice; Republicans would love nothing more than to vote on a package deal, so that they could profess concern for the middle class -- "We gave you tax cuts!" -- while redistributing...

Traveling Without Moving.

Net neutrality didn't fare very well in Tuesday's elections : Before Tuesday's midterm elections, there were 95 House and Senate candidates who pledged support for Net neutrality, a bill that would force Internet providers to not charge users more for certain kinds of Web content. All of them lost -- and that could mean the contentious proposal may now be all but dead. Obviously, these candidates didn't lose because of their support for net neutrality; they were doomed for other, less wonky reasons. Still, other Democrats are likely to over-interpret the results -- as they are wont to do -- and take this as a sign that they should oppose net neutrality, or at least avoid it as much as possible. Of course, it's not as if net neutrality were faring well anyway . Prior to the election, legislation to maintain a "neutral" Internet -- where bandwidth is treated equally, regardless of content -- was virtually frozen in place; in September, Republicans stopped a compromise bill that would...

Few Wins for Wealthy Candidates.

Today's Washington Post has an interesting piece on the failure of wealthy and self-funded candidates to win their elections on Tuesday: The Center for Responsive Politics calculates that out of 58 candidates who used $500,000 or more of their money on federal races in 2010, fewer than one in five won. Eight of the top 10 self-funders this cycle lost, with only GOP Senate challenger Ron Johnson of Wisconsin ($8.2 million) and House candidate Scott Rigell of Virginia ($2.4 million) emerging victorious. The results continue a long tradition of ambitious but failed bids for political office by self-financing tycoons from Ross Perot to Steve Forbes, who frequently have difficulty translating their financial advantages into votes. Since 1990, only five of the top 20 self-financed candidates have won, according to the center's data. As it so happens, I wrote a very similar piece last month. And not only did I touch on the general failure of wealthy candidates to go beyond primaries or win...