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

THE SELF-IMMOLATION OF RUDY.

THE SELF-IMMOLATION OF RUDY. As a staunch Giuliani opponent, I must admit a certain grudging admiration for his decision to be explicitly pro-choice rather than adopting the High Contrarian "I'm pro-choice, but it should be left to the states (and, er, whatever regulations Congress can pass" position, and it's refreshing in a way that primary voters would see this as the kind of dodge it almost always is . It's good for the country for a serious Republican candidate to take the normatively correct and (funding questions aside) majority position on the issue. Matt seems right , however, that " John McCain and Mitt Romney should, in my opinion, be popping some champagne this morning." The strategic calculation seems to be that the front-loaded primary will include more liberal states in which his abortion position won't be a big issue. The problem is that I don't see much evidence that Republican primary voters in those states are particularly socially liberal. Schwarzenegger had to win...

FOLLOW-UPS.

FOLLOW-UPS. As an addendum to Dana 's terrific post below, people interested in this topic should definitely read Michael Berube 's thoughts on the subject if they haven't already. I would also like to add that the possibility that women may choose to obtain abortions if their children will have severe disabilities (or for sex selection or whatever) is, as Dana suggests, likely to be a major rhetorical strategy for the anti-choice lobby. It seems worth noting that even if one were to assume that this is always immoral there's no way of addressing this in enforceable legislative enactments. Women barred from obtaining abortions for certain motivations can always claim other motivations, and how can they be proven wrong? (Making women get a doctor's certificate, say, would simply make abortions easier to obtain for women with the resources and information necessary to find more sympathetic doctors, while doing little to ensure that women have abortions for reasons that third parties...

ENFORCEMENT QUIBBLE.

ENFORCEMENT QUIBBLE. As I have already argued in exhaustive detail, on the merits I am generally inclined to agree with Matt in his disagreement with Garance . For those of you who skip the long, boring posts, I think that Garance has identified a real problem -- people, especially women, selling nude images of themselves under varying degrees of coercion -- but her remedy of raising the age where it's legal to participate in porn from 18 to 21 is both overbroad (prohibiting more conduct than is necessary to achieve the objective and resting on problematic generalizations about the decision-making capacity of young women) and underinclusive (the problem of models not giving informed consent or being taken advantage of while impaired by alcohol doesn't vanish when they turn 21.) As Matt says, requiring producers to take active steps to secure consent a second time, or at the very least a "cooling off" period (familiar from other forms of high-pressure sales) that allow one party to opt...

TOURISTS WHO STOP TO READ MAPS ON SUBWAY STAIRS: LOCK 'EM UP!

TOURISTS WHO STOP TO READ MAPS ON SUBWAY STAIRS: LOCK 'EM UP! Rich Lowry argues in re: Giuliani 's professed "hatred" of abortion that "Giuliani's 'hate' line rings so false because, temperamentally, he is not one to hate something without outlawing or attempting to discourage it." Roy has the correct response : That last bit is lovely and accurate. Mayor Giuliani, fellow citizens will recall, actually cracked down on dancing in bars, availing a disused Prohibition-era law. There is some dispute as to whether he did this as part of a crusade against underage drinking, or just because he's a miserable son of a bitch. But yeah, Giuliani does indeed seem to believe that what he doesn't like should be banned. That's why he would be a disastrous President. Lowry's description of the authoritarian Giuliani, given such charming views as his belief in arbitrary executive power (which he wouldn't abuse, trust him!), seems accurate. That this is supposed to make him more appealing to NRO...

CONSENT AND CENSORSHIP.

CONSENT AND CENSORSHIP. There has been a lot of interesting discussion of Garance 's WSJ op-ed about raising the age of consent in the porn industry. I should say that I share Avedon and Roy 's general libertarian perspective on the issue and probably end up in the same place as they do, but I think they're being a touch unfair to Garance's argument. Certainly, I agree (even leaving aside the question of whether obscenity should be excluded from First Amendment protection, which has never been very persuasive to me) that if the censorship of porn is necessary it won't work, and if it would work, it's not necessary. Canada's experience with R. v. Butler -- in which a Supreme Court decision permitting censorship of sexually explicit materials only on explicitly feminist grounds was used primarily to harass gay and lesbian and feminist bookstores -- is instructive. Roy also makes a good point about how "[p]opular R-rated giggle-fests from Porky's to the American Pie movies are, to me,...

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