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 "STATES' RIGHTS" SCAM.

THE "STATES' RIGHTS" SCAM. As a follow-up to Garance below, it's worth noting that in a sane universe yesterday would put an end to the already-silly idea that most Republicans have a strong commitment to state autonomy, or that Republican opposition to the Supreme Court's abortion jurisprudence is about preserving state power rather than about a substantive opposition to abortion . (You may remember this nonsense recently in the New York Times from staunch feminist Ann Althouse , who claimed that Rudy Giuliani 's intent to pack the courts with statist reactionaries who would allow the state to force women to carry pregnancies to term is about enhancing freedom (!) because it was really about states' rights. Rudy, needless to say, supported yesterday's opinion; how this fits into his alleged belief that abortion should constitutionally be left to the states is unclear.) Congress not only passed a ban on a federal abortion procedure, but as Garance points out pre-empted state...

FOUR THINGS TO...

FOUR THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN READING GONZALES V. CRAHART. As an antidote to the inevitable chorus of fake moderates arguing that yesterday's abortion case is no big deal, four things to keep in mind as you ponder today's decision: Don't take assertions by the Court about whether they're overturning precedents or not at face value. What matters is the substance of the ruling, not how the Court characterizes past precedents. (The Court went out of its way to avoid saying that they were overturning Plessy in Brown , and then applied it as if it meant exactly that.) Moreover, the Roberts / Alito strategy of quietly gutting precedents -- epitomized in this case -- is much worse for those who oppose their legal goals than the Thomas / Scalia willingness to overturn precedents directly and honestly. The result of this type of case is a sharp restriction in the reproductive freedom of women without the political benefits of an outright reversal. Making it much harder to successfully strike an...

ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES

ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES . As Dana notes below, the Supreme Court has upheld the federal "Partial Birth" Abortion Ban Act, which as I have argued in detail , was 1) inevitable with Alito 's appointment to the Court, and 2) very bad. It was, I suppose, also inevitable that it would come down while I'm on the road, and I therefore haven't finished reading the decision yet. In the meantime, I note that almost everything that needs to be said about the constitutionality of these laws was said by Justice Stevens in his concurrence in Stenberg v. Carhart , which the Court (despite its disingenuous claims to be following precedent) effectively overrules today: Although much ink is spilled today describing the gruesome nature of late-term abortion procedures, that rhetoric does not provide me a reason to believe that the procedure Nebraska here claims it seeks to ban is more brutal, more gruesome, or less respectful of "potential life" than the equally gruesome procedure Nebraska claims it...

SELECTIVE OUTRAGE.

SELECTIVE OUTRAGE. To follow up on Matt and Atrios , Radley Balko asks his readers if they've heard of James Giles . Giles, like the three men in the Duke rape case, was falsely accused of rape. Unlike the Duke men, however, he didn't have the money to hire top-flight legal counsel and didn't benefit from attracting opportunistic attention from powerful conservative statists with a strong commitment to opposing "political correctness." As a result, Giles "served 10 years in prison, as well as an additional 14 years on probation and as a registered sex offender" before being exonerated by DNA evidence. Despite having faced much more dire consequences, Giles' case has attracted a fraction of the attention. The point is not that the Duke case was not an injustice, or that it didn't merit attention. Privileged white guys also deserve equal treatment under the law, and prosecutorial abuse is always bad. But despite the attempts of people like Walter Olson to draw grossly inappropriate...

THE ABSTINENCE-ONLY FRAUD.

THE ABSTINENCE-ONLY FRAUD. You may have heard the shocking news that state-funded moralizing adults telling teenagers not to have sex do not, in fact, prevent teenagers from having sex. Interestingly, several states -- not all of them liberal and coastal -- have started to turn down the abjectly useless federal funding they're being offered: In an emerging revolt against abstinence-only sex education, states are turning down millions of dollars in federal grants, unwilling to accept White House dictates that the money be used for classes focused almost exclusively on teaching chastity. In Ohio, Gov. Ted Strickland said that regardless of the state's sluggish economic picture, he simply did not see the point in taking part in the controversial State Abstinence Education Grant program anymore. Five other states -- Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Montana and New Jersey -- already have dropped the program or plan to do so by year's end. The program is managed by a unit of the U.S...

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