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 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,...


THE HORROR. It is quite remarkable how obsessed Chris Matthews remains with Bill Clinton 's sex life. (Why the adultery of Hillary Clinton 's husband is a major campaign issue while we can be free to swoon over Republican adulterers, some of whom actively humiliate their exes, remains unclear. Although one prominent law professor does claim that Hillary's campaign events are being used as fronts for Bill to meet women -- I'm sure Matthews will be discussing that soon.) Needless to say, this is just one dimension to his exceptionally creepy misogyny. Bob Somerby finds Matthews engaging in the following sober analysis, in language that occasionally bears resemblances to English: You know, somewhere out in the Atlantic Ocean, I think there might be a giant, green, ugly, horny monster. A gigantic, gigantic monster of anti-Hillary, and anti-woman Hillary, anti-liberal woman Hillary, some real ferocious beast out there that says no matter what happens between now and Election Day, they're...


BUT IF WE MAKE ACCESS TO THE BALLOT EASIER, DEMOCRATIC UNICORNS WILL STEAL OUR ELECTIONS! Today Michael Waldman and Justin Levitt have a really terrific piece about the GOP's voter fraud fraud. The scam is advanced by the common method of "generalizing from apocryphal anecdotes": Allegations of voter fraud -- someone sneaking into the polls to cast an illicit vote -- have been pushed in recent years by partisans seeking to justify proof-of-citizenship and other restrictive ID requirements as a condition of voting. Scare stories abound on the Internet and on editorial pages, and they quickly become accepted wisdom. But the notion of widespread voter fraud, as these prosecutors found out, is itself a fraud. Firing a prosecutor for failing to find wide voter fraud is like firing a park ranger for failing to find Sasquatch. Where fraud exists, of course, it should be prosecuted and punished. (And politicians have been stuffing ballot boxes and buying votes since senators wore togas;...