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

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,...

THE PROBLEM WITH ANTI-CHOICE ULTRASOUND POLICY.

THE PROBLEM WITH ANTI-CHOICE ULTRASOUND POLICY. To follow-up on my recent post about William Saletan running interference for anti-choice ultrasound policies, Neil explains in further detail why the moral inferences Saletan draws from ultrasounds don't actually follow, a persistent problem with his arguments on the subject. One is reminded of another recent definitive episode in wingnuttery, in which the fact that Terri Schiavo 's involuntary movements and facial expressions were erroneously treated as evidence of consciousness: Of course, nothing is morally significant about squirming -- ours or the fetus'. What is significant is whether the fetus has a mind like ours. If it has no mind, or a mind of such a primitive level that it can't even feel pain, there's no reason to have attitudes of moral concern for it. The neural hardware for pain perception only starts to show up around week 23, and isn't in place until week 30 of the pregnancy. So having moral concern for a first-...

They Know Best

Safe, Legal, and Unavailable? Abortion Politics in the United States by Melody Rose (CQ Press, 235 pages) The Supreme Court's recent decision in Gonzales v. Carhart upholding the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act is, make no mistake, a blow to the reproductive rights of American women. Particularly instructive is the way in which Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion -- attempting to answer the inherently unanswerable question of what legitimate purpose an abortion regulation that protects neither fetal life nor a woman's health could possibly have -- used nakedly sexist premises to justify the ban. (It is a grim irony that Kennedy's celebration of the state's paternalistic regulation of hysterical, flighty women who don't understand their own most fundamental interests comes in the context of an opinion defending a patently irrational law containing consistently illogical reasoning and vacuous emotional rhetoric.) As political scientist Melody Rose's study of abortion politics in...

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