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

PORTUGAL: LAW MATCHES REALITY.

PORTUGAL: LAW MATCHES REALITY. Good news for reproductive freedom today, as a referendum liberalizing abortion has passed in Portugal . Although the turnout didn't meet the quorum -- making it non-binding -- President Jose Socrates has pledged to change the policy. It's not a radical change -- it only permits fully legal abortion in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy -- but it's an important first step. Elaine Sciolino had an excellent article explaining the background this weekend, and which serves as another reminder of how abortion policy actually works on the ground. While American "pro-lifers" are generally unwilling to advocate legislation that is even minimally consistent with their professed values, on paper Portugal has a less obviously un-serious and unprincipled criminalization regime. Not only medical professionals, but women obtaining abortions and those who help them are subject to legal sanctions, as is the only defensible arrangement. But, in practice, only medical...

THERE, THERE, DON'T WORRY YOUR PRETTY LITTLE HEAD ABOUT YOUR REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM.

THERE, THERE, DON'T WORRY YOUR PRETTY LITTLE HEAD ABOUT YOUR REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM. Sara Anderson brings our attention to another innovation in the irrational abortion regulation obstacle course , this one from the Idaho legislature: A North Idaho lawmaker wants to make it a crime to attempt to coerce a woman or girl into having an abortion, according to S-R reporter Parker Howell, who covered the House Health & Welfare Committee meeting today where the bill was introduced. Rep. Bob Nonini , R-Coeur d�Alene, persuaded the committee to introduce his bill to outlaw the use of threats or physical force to dissuade a pregnant woman from giving birth. The measure also prohibits threatening to do �anything that the person does not have the legal right to do against the pregnant woman.� That could include employers threatening to withhold a job or promotion or �a school counselor maybe describing to a young person that by having this baby you have no future, those kinds of acts,� Nonini...

SMALL STAKES ENSURE THE MINIMUM CREDIBILITY.

SMALL STAKES ENSURE THE MINIMUM CREDIBILITY. Garance makes a very important point below . When evaluating assertions of great importance, it's always useful to see whether people talking hysterically actually act in ways consistent with their rhetoric. I've said many times that I've never found the ethical question of abortion particularly troubling, for a central reason: I won't take the "pro-life" moral position seriously until its supporters do. The anti-choice lobby uses lots of language that suggests a moral issue with stakes large enough to override a woman's fundamental rights -- "life," "killing babies," etc. -- but given that most American pro-lifers (among many other inconsistencies) think women should face fewer legal sanctions for obtaining an abortion than for spitting on the sidewalk, there's no reason to take their moral claims seriously. (And given that abortion laws on the books were essentially unenforceable against doctors who stuck to performing abortions on the...

MORE FRAILER THAN THE FLOWERS, THESE PRECIOUS POLL LEADS.

MORE FRAILER THAN THE FLOWERS, THESE PRECIOUS POLL LEADS. In discussing the many problems with the " Hillary is inevitable" meme, Jon Chait decides to bring out the heavy artillery by reminding us who was ahead in national polls at a comparable time in the last cycle: But national surveys, especially this early in the process, tend to sweep up the lightly held opinions of voters who are paying scant attention to the race, and, as such, they are little more than name-recognition contests. At this point in 2003, after all, polls consistently showed Joe Lieberman leading the Democratic pack. This, of course, merely reflected the fact that he had been the vice presidential nominee three years earlier. When Democratic voters started really paying attention to the race -- and to Lieberman -- his numbers started going south and never stopped. Yes, I think it's safe to say that, at least for candidates with Clinton's name recognition, national polls mean almost nothing at this stage of the...

SCALIA: BUSH'S ELECTION UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

SCALIA: BUSH'S ELECTION UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Antonin Scalia has done us the favor of explaining the equal protection theory behind the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore . (Which is handy, since the per curiam opinion for all intents and purposes failed to articulate anything that could be called a theory at all .) Says Justice Scalia : And this week Scalia told an audience at Iona College in New York that Florida's handling of the Florida recount in Bush v. Gore was a violation of the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law. "Counting somebody else's dimpled chad and not counting my dimpled chad is not giving equal protection of the law," he said. Scalia let the crowd know that the case is one only for the history books: "It's water over the deck -- get over it," he said. Given that Bush v. Gore explicitly claims to hold no precedential value in future cases, perhaps he's right; still, such voting cases will doubtless come before the court again in the future...

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