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


STRANGE JUSTICE. I like Bill Richardson , and hope that he becomes a viable candidate in the primary. But his choice of " Whizzer White " as his ideal Supreme Court Justice in tonight's debate is...odd. Myself, I would prefer a justice who was on the right side of (just for starters) Roe , Miranda , and Bowers . (In fairness, he did write one of my favorite concurrences .) The fact that, when informed he was expected to choose a living justice, he chose Ruth Bader Ginsburg while singling out her demolition of the rank sexism of Carhart II makes it all the stranger. -- Scott Lemieux


PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT LAWS: A POPULAR BAD POLICY. Phoebe Maltz makes a good point about laws requiring that women under 18 get parental consent before obtaining an abortion. Why is it a good idea for state policy to increase the number of teenage mothers? This is particularly true of David Brooks , who thinks that pre-viability abortions should be legal. Why on earth would we want to make it harder for the group for whom unplanned children extract the greatest cost to terminate an unwanted pregnancy? We can argue about whether parental involvement laws should be constitutional (I will concede that they have the strongest constitutional case of the common abortion regulations). But between the arbitrary application of bypass provisions , the fact that they're usually superfluous for young women in stable loving families and dangerous to young women with bad family relationships, and the fact that their primary concrete effect is increasing the number of teenage mothers, they're...


LOW BRODERISM. One could spend considerably more text than the column itself explaining the countless problems with David Broder 's latest adventures in center-right false equivalence. First, you have the Dean's horror over Harry Reid 's criticism of Alan Greenspan 's political motives, just because the latter's positions on fiscal policy changed when it came time to justify Bush 's upper class tax cuts, the horror! And then there's this: Given the way the Constitution divides warmaking power between the president, as commander in chief, and Congress, as sole source of funds to support the armed services, it is essential that at some point Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi be able to negotiate with the White House to determine the course America will follow until a new president takes office. To say that Reid has sent conflicting signals about his readiness for such discussions is an understatement. It has been impossible for his own members, let alone the White House, to sort out...


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. 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...