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

A POX ON THE HOUSE OF FALSE EQUIVALENCES.

A POX ON THE HOUSE OF FALSE EQUIVALENCES. Karen Tumulty has an account of Carhart II that fits squarely within the extremely annoying pox-on-all-their-houses genre endemic to media coverage of the subject. First, she has to claim that both sides are being dishonest in the D&X debate. The anti-choice lobby is criticized because the distinction between methods at the same stage of gestation is completely arbitrary; in other words, their position is genuinely incoherent and unprincipled, and the issue is purely a ginned-up political tactic. Pro-choicers (although not any of their specific statements) meanwhile, are criticized 1) for making statements about the relative rarity of the procedure that are in fact accurate, and 2) for claiming that the procedure is used for medical reasons although "there are alternative ways to perform the abortion safely, though perhaps not as safely as when intact D&E is used." Uh, what? Since when does using a procedure that reduces medical risk...

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A "PRO-LIFE" REPUBLICAN.

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A "PRO-LIFE" REPUBLICAN. The federal GOP's social and economic model Mississippi, as some of you know, is one of the more than 20 states with latent abortion bans that would come into effect if Roe v. Wade was overturned. (Although, of course, as Ben Wittes points out , going from abortion being legal in all 50 states to being banned in 15-25 states and more heavily regulated in many of the other states would actually be better for reproductive freedom because... I'm not going to lie to you, Marge. Well, goodbye!) And should the Court decline to overturn Roe explicitly, it has also been at the forefront of legislation instituting arbitrary regulations used to harass abortion clinics until they close . Via Barbara O'Brien , however, after fetuses become children, the state's interest in them seems to wane somewhat. How did the "pro-life" Mississippi GOP respond to increases in infant mortality? I think you can guess : In 2004, Gov. Haley Barbour came to office...

APPEASING THE UNAPPEASABLE.

APPEASING THE UNAPPEASABLE. I don't really agree with the take of my colleagues Garance and Ezra on Maureen Dowd 's abjectly horrible column yesterday. The error they're making, I think, it to assume that these charges have some sort of objective merit to someone, or that there's some way of avoiding having junior high narratives being developed about you. Consider what similar advice given to Al Gore would look like (and there are many people who blamed Gore for running a horrible, horrible campaign and not adapting to the media.) He wouldn't be able to wear "earth tone" suits, or casual jackets, or Armani suits, or work clothes...actually, I'm not sure what he could wear. He couldn't discuss past political achievements because the media would distort them and make them look arrogant. He can't pass on things a newspaper told him about his friend's novel because it might not turn out to be fully true. He can't pay a feminist consultant. And on and on and on. And if he had done all of...

NO CHANCE.

NO CHANCE. I'm frankly baffled by Ilya Somin 's claim that there are plausibly five votes to strike down the PBA Act on Commerce Clause grounds. The most obvious problem with his argument is that it entirely ignores the Raich decision, under which the Commerce Clause issue presented by the Act is plainly insubstantial . Obtaining an abortion is much more clearly a commercial transaction than growing medical marijuana for personal use, and given the dearth of abortion providers in the country abortion is certainly an interstate market. The idea that Scalia and Kennedy, both strongly personally anti-abortion, would switch votes given a more favorable set of facts is implausible in the extreme. It is true that the Court's personnel has changed, but the two Justices who left the Court were two of the three dissenters in Raich . At best, Roberts and Alito would be treading water, but both are demonstrably hostile to reproductive rights and lack Thomas's commitment to grand theory, so this...

AGAINST UNILATERAL DISARMAMENT.

AGAINST UNILATERAL DISARMAMENT. It may not come as a shock that I agree with Matt 's conclusion that Roe was correctly decided on the merits. (For those who haven't seen it, I lay out a three-part case for Roe here , here , and here .) Matt makes another important point about the pro-choice anti- Roe crowd who base their claims not so much on doctrinal analysis as a general claim about whether courts rather than legislatures should decide "cultural issues": The primary motive for this, I think, is that people find it odd that such a controversial issue as abortion rights should be decided primarily by the courts. They also feel, intuitively, that it's weird to leap so suddenly from one stance to another. I tend to agree that this is odd. The oddness, however, is right at the heart of the institution of judicial review as practiced in the United States. I'm of the opinion that this institution isn't a great idea and that many other countries have found more satisfactory institutional...

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