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


HOW BAD PROVISIONS GET PASSED. Several bloggers (including TAPPED's own Ann Friedman ) have discussed the dismal fact that Congress is proposing an increase in funding for useless abstinence-only sex ed. programs. According to a (subscribers-only) Congressional Quarterly report , the increase in funding was part of a deal to obtain leverage to fund other domestic priorities (including a commensurate increase in funding for Planned Parenthood). This compromise is defensible, assuming the final version does secure the other funding, but remains depressing. It will be worth keeping a careful eye on what finally emerges from the legislative sausage factory. --Scott Lemieux


WHOOPS, I DID IT AGAIN! An absolute must-read piece by Eric Boehlert on "journalist" Jeff Gerth and the "reporting" that ended up helping a president be impeached. Gerth's primary strategy is to blame many of the countless errors in his allegations about the Whitewater non-scandal on his colleagues, throwing the editors who inexplicably defended him under the bus. How about the crucial claim that Bill Clinton protected James McDougal 's Savings and Loan from being shut down? Funny story: Yet reading Her Way , which details Whitewater at great length, there is no reference to Bassett Schaffer , and there is no reference to the allegation that the Arkansas regulator turned a blind eye to Madison's woes in order to help out Clinton's savings and loan chum. The entire premise of the Times' early Whitewater reporting has simply disappeared. Why? Because Gerth's reporting on Bassett Schaffer was categorically false. Arkansas regulators had no authority to independently shut down failing,...


ROMNEY: LIAR, OR MORON? Maybe it's just me, but the fact that the leading fundraiser among Republican Presidential candidates is either ignorant of the most basic facts about the Iraq War or is a shameless liar strikes me as significant. But hey, that lie worked for the last Republican campaign , so why not? What's more, if you recall from the 2000 campaign, even according to some of our liberal columnists , whether you repeatedly tell bald-faced lies about your policies and your opponent's policies is less important than whether you sigh too much; and pointing out someone else's lies makes you seem like a "know-it-all." So Romney is just playing by the established rules. And it's not like his competition has a better grasp on reality ... UPDATE: Needless to say, the fact that Romney is unfamiliar with even the most rudimentary facts about the most important issue of the day doesn't stop him from being declared the winner by the internet's premier source for political haircut news...


LINE OF THE NIGHT: David Weigel in response to staunch advocate of arbitrary executive power Rudy Giuliani touting New Hampshire's state motto: "I have no comment on Rudy's "live free or die" remark. He might ban me from his event tomorrow." -- Scott Lemieux


AGAINST THE PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE. Adam Liptak has an excellent article ( via ) about peremptory challenges and their ongoing use to produce racially unrepresentative juries. Liptak mentions the 2005 Miller-El case, which I discussed here . (Remarkably, despite extensive evidence that created an exceptionally strong inference of unconstitutional race-based peremptories, Scalia, Thomas and Rehnquist dissented.) This case illustrates, however, the difficulty of proving racial discrimination no matter how overwhelming the patterns of exclusion are, and despite the Supreme Court's invitation state courts are unlikely to supervise procedures very aggressively. Like Liptak, Thurgood Marshall , and Stephen Breyer , I think it's time to do away with peremptory challenges entirely. They aren't constitutionally mandated, and it's increasingly hard to see how permitting the arbitrary exclusion of jurors would lead to fairer trials. Breyer quotes Arthur Goldberg , who noted that "[w]ere it...