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

Built to Last

Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court by Jan Crawford Greenburg (The Penguin Press HC, 368 pages) As someone who not only studies the Supreme Court but teaches constitutional law, I always look forward to inside accounts of the Court -- the anecdotes they offer may be used to help students stay awake. Journalist Jan Crawford's much-discussed new book Supreme Conflict has both strengths and weaknesses compared to previous popular books about the Court, such as Edward Lazarus's Closed Chambers and Woodward and Armstong's The Brethren . It is not the book to turn to if you're interested in a legal analysis of the Rehnquist Court written for a general audience. (For that, I would recommend Mark Tushnet's fine recent book A Court Divided .) And since Greenburg is still a Supreme Court reporter, it doesn't (for better or worse) contain a great deal of the internal gossip about the Court that pervaded the Lazarus and Woodward-...


AND NANCY PELOSI IS GETTING A PASS FOR ATTACKING APPLE PIE AND FREEDOM! Matt deals with the central abject idiocy in this post by Michael Goldfarb . Obviously, nobody is mocking McCain for having security when he tours Baghdad; they're (correctly) mocking him for claiming that walking around with a bulletproof vest, a hundred troops, and air cover could tell us anything meaningful about the security of Baghdad neighborhoods . Going for the double play of dead-ender hackery in celebration of Opening Day, however, Goldfarb also asserts that " Nancy Pelosi gets a free pass for wearing a burka." I know that Middle Eastern culture isn't terribly important in the current political context, but it seems relevant here that a burka is a head-to-toe covering that severely restricts a woman's ability to engage even in ordinary day-to-day activities. Pelosi (like Laura Bush and Condi Rice ), however, actually wore ... a headscarf. (See a convenient comparison here .) Unlike burkas, they're often...


THE AUTHORITARIAN. Yglesias finds Rudy Giuliani asserting an "inherent authority" to fund troops without congressional appropriations. Evidently, it would be difficult to find a claim made by a mainstream candidate more transparently at odds with the text and structure of the Constitution. (Even John Yoo concedes that Congress can check the President's wartime powers by cutting off funds.) Meanwhile, Hilzoy notes that Giuliani responded to Ed Crane 's question of whether "the president should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens with no review" by saying that "he would want to use this authority infrequently." So he believes in the kind of arbitrary executive power that directly contradicts the core premises not just of the American Constitution but of liberal democratic constitutionalism in general, but don't worry -- he'd use it sparingly! Trust him! There seems to be some sentiment among some progressives that Giuliani would be a relatively tolerable Republican president, but...


BAD FAITH. My question for people who still argue that tax cuts actually increase revenues: shouldn't conservatarians who believe this be opposed to tax cuts? After all, they'll just produce more revenues that the government can use to spend and (according to supply-side premises) strangle the economy! The answer, of course, is that nobody really believes in this kind of supply-side economics. Everyone knows that, outside of exceptionally high rates, tax increases result in more revenue, all things being equal -- which is why governments like to raise them when they can. Arguments to the contrary are just for especially gullible rubes. --Scott Lemieux


ABORTION CRIMINALIZATION ON THE GROUND. Mexico City is on the verge of decriminalizing abortion. The New York Times story on it is really first-rate. What I like about it is that it makes clear what the effects of the abortion ban are, and women will have large numbers of abortions even under conditions of formal illegality: Dominated by liberals, Mexico City�s legislature is expected to legalize abortion in a few weeks. The bill would make this city one of the largest entities in Latin America to break with a long tradition of women resorting to illegal clinics and midwives to end unwanted pregnancies ... Leftists and feminists, meanwhile, have accused opponents of turning a blind eye to reality. They say millions of women here, and indeed throughout much of Latin America, already ignore the law and choose to abort fetuses, often in dingy underground clinics or the private homes of midwives. They risk infection, sterility and sometimes death. �Women are dying, above all poor women,...