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

AFTER ROE? Jessie...

AFTER ROE ? Jessie Hill has an interesting three - part series about potentially overturning Roe at PrawfsBlawg. [HT: Volokh Conspiracy .] The long version of what I have to say on the issue can be found in my article last summer in TAP here and my reply to Benjamin Wittes -type "letting Roe go will be good for reproductive freedom" arguments here . To give the short version: The starting point for any discussion for the consequences of changing abortion law, I think, has to be the law on the ground, not the law in the books. The pre- Roe status quo ante was not that no women could get abortions, but because of arbitrary enforcement patterns affluent women had access to safe abortions and other women did not. What is at stake in abortion rights is whether poor women will have access to safe abortions. I think Hill is correct that Roe is safe for now -- there are still five votes on the record for affirming it. Even if Republicans get another appointment to replace Stevens or Ginsburg...

IRRATIONAL HATRED OF UNIONS IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLE.

IRRATIONAL HATRED OF UNIONS IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLE. Recently, Mark Kleiman noted , against Mickey Kaus 's frequent contention that busting teacher's unions that prevent school boards from replacing bad teachers with the immense pool of brilliant teachers just waiting to be freed from odious tenure protections is the key to improving America's education system, that 1) states that don't have strong teacher's unions don't have particularly good educational outcomes, and 2) while it's a difficult social science problem, the systematic evidence that having non-union teaching improved education is scant to non-existent. This led Kleiman to ask: "[w]ill he 'fess up to the fact that, like Bill Bennett , he'd much rather smash the unions than improve the schools?" Well, glad we've cleared that up . Kaus's bizarre advice to Barack Obama reminds us again that he really does think that bashing unions -- indeed, bashing all core Democratic constituencies -- is a good in and of itself. My...

HOW DARE YOU SHOW THE EFFECTS OF MY POLICIES!

HOW DARE YOU SHOW THE EFFECTS OF MY POLICIES! I've been looking forward to this since Friday: Something I didn't photograph, but wished I did: Nation magazine writer Max Blumenthal queued up to get a book signed by Michelle Malkin . When he reached her, however, he didn't produce a book. He produced this photo and asked her to sign it. According to Blumenthal, Malkin got so angry she left the table; video that can prove or disprove this telling should be posted on Monday. And, sure enough, the video's here : For some reason, Malkin is almost as ashamed as pictures of the race-based concentration camps she wrote an entire book defending as some Young Republicans are of their Confederate flag lapels ("What's wrong with the Confederacy?"). There are many more classic comments within; I particularly enjoyed the David Horowitz -- David Horowitz! -- claim that The Left is driven by "anger and resentment." Great work by Blumenthal. -- Scott Lemieux

I BLAME JAMES MADISON.

I BLAME JAMES MADISON. At her other online venue, J. Goodrich has a good discussion of American political culture and its role in the fact that the United States maintains an irrational health care system that provides much narrower coverage for much more money (including more state money) than other comparable liberal democracies. While this is important, I think that the single most important factor (both going forward and going backward) is the institutional structure of American government , with its unusually high number of veto points. In a Westminster system, having Bill Clinton ( or LBJ or Harry Truman ) support national health insurance with a legislative majority is enough to get it done, and such programs are virtually impossible to repeal once enacted. In the American system, you need not just a President who supports it, but a liberal (as opposed to merely Democratic ) majority in both houses of Congress (and in the Senate, you need a supermajority of an institution that...

FEMINISM AND EX...

FEMINISM AND EX ANTE HOUSEWORK STANDARDS. Matt interprets data adduced by Jessica and finds more evidence for my assertion that the typical arrangement of housework in households occupied by heterosexual couples reflects unjust gender balances combined with actually different ex ante standards of cleanliness/tidiness (which are related to said inequalities, of course, but a feminist analysis doesn't require any specific ex ante level of domestic work beyond what is necessary for sanitation, cooking, childrearing, etc.) With all due respect to the great Marcotte and Waring I continue to disagree with the implied solution of creating equality within domestic work norms that are an unholy marriage of 1) patriarchy, 2) the related assumption of one partner devoted full-time to domestic work, and 3) general cultural assumptions that unstructured leisure time is somehow immoral. Instead I think that it makes more sense to try to achieve equality within a more rational allocation of...

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