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

CATASTROPHE KEEPS US FROM THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION.

CATASTROPHE KEEPS US FROM THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION. As someone who has long been a proponent of " Hillary Myth #2 ," I was very interested in the data adduced by Garance . I do think that Matt Yglesias gets at a couple of possible limitations. First, I definitely agree that Clinton won't be perceived by Democratic primary voters as substantially more liberal than her reputation, but whether this will be true of the general electorate remains open. And second, I also agree that Clinton probably won't be seen as more liberal than an African-American Senator from Illinois, but it does seem to me that there would be a major gap in perceived versus actual progressivism when comparing Clinton to, say, John Edwards . Still, given the likely dynamics of the 2008 election, I concede that Clinton being perceived as an arch-liberal may well not be a significant problem. This theory, however, comes with a very large downside. Given that the Iraq war will still be raging and almost certainly...

MORAL CLARITY.

MORAL CLARITY. Via Drum , I see that in his new LA Times column ("Iraq Needs a Pinochet ") Jonah Goldberg argues that you can't make an omelet without throwing a few people out of planes, and that the baseline for measuring the quality of a country's leadership should be Fidel Castro . (This must have been the grading curve his colleague John Podhoretz was using when he called George W. Bush a "great leader.") Of course, if one was inclined to be charitable -- and when it comes to people who supported this disastrous war for many years, I'm not -- it could be pointed out that the current situation in Iraq proves that pretty much any state is better than having no effective state, which is true enough. But consider how much is being conceded here. Evidently, it was never plausible to think that Iraq was magically going to turn into a stable, pro-American democracy after the invasion, which means that the immense cost in lives and resources was going to be expended in a war in which the...

BLAME CONGRESS.

BLAME CONGRESS. Glenn Greenwald and Lyle Denniston have excellent analysis of the decision of District Court Judge James Robertson to dismiss the habeas corpus claim of Salim Ahmed Hamdan . Under the circumstances, the decision is actually about as good an outcome for opponents of arbitrary detentions as could be expected. Robertson held that Congress has not suspended the writ of habeas corpus for American citizens--it lacks the power to suspend the writ because there is not a n ongoing "rebellion or invasion." Admittedly, it's easier for courts to construe the statute more narrowly when doing so doesn't require ruling against the administration, but this is as least one reason for cautious optimism. Still, for the most part this decision is depressing; as Denniston notes, it is unlikely that many detainees will be able to take advantage of the inapplicability of the statute to American citizens, even assuming that other courts will construe the statute similarly. The key thing to...

WHY THE "PARTIAL BIRTH" CASE MATTERS: AN ANTI-REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM PERSPECTIVE.

WHY THE "PARTIAL BIRTH" CASE MATTERS: AN ANTI-REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM PERSPECTIVE. Hadley Arkes , one of the pro-life movement's most prominent intellectuals, has an article in First Things about the upcoming "partial birth" abortion decision. It starts off strangely, with the claim that "people on both sides seriously expect the Court will use its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade ." My question -- such as who? I read as much as I can on the subject, and I certainly haven't encountered anyone saying this. The "people" adduced here would seem to be comparable to the extensive list of Castro lovers in academia and the media that Tailgunner Glenn Reynolds claims to have . What many pro-choicers have argued is that the partial-birth case can be used to water Casey 's "undue burden" standard down to pretty much nothing. And where Arkes's essay is useful (in addition to previewing the highly unconvincing ad hoc justifications that will be trotted out if Clarence Thomas makes the unprincipled...

A (QUALIFIED) DEFENSE OF THE TRANS-FAT BAN.

A (QUALIFIED) DEFENSE OF THE TRANS-FAT BAN. This probably won't help increase comity between progressives and our newly receptive libertarian brothers and sisters, but as William Saletan and Lindsay Beyerstein point out, the case for New York City's much-derided ban on trans-fats is actually very compelling. I tend to start from quite libertarian premises on such issues, and I certainly for the most part don't think that it's a legitimate role of state coercion to mandate asceticism or conformist aesthetic values. But this isn't what this ban will accomplish. There are many problems with making reducing obesity in itself a primary goal of public health (starting with the fact that, as an independent variable, being overweight has a weak impact on one's health), but in this case it has had the ironic effect of making the case for banning trans-fats look weaker than it actually is. To be clear, this ban will not cause New Yorkers to become thinner, or result in a significant reduction...

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