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

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...

TRAMP THE DIRT DOWN.

TRAMP THE DIRT DOWN. Randy Paul helpfully supplements the NYT 's list of important dates in the life of the late Augusto Pinochet : September 1974: Has DINA, his secret police organization plant a bomb in the car of General Carlos Prats, his predecessor in Buenos Aires. The bomb kills General Prats and his wife, Sofia. Debris from the explosion is found on the ninth floor of a building across the street. October 1975: Has DINA, through Italian fascist terrorist Stefano Della Chiae, attempt to murder Christian Democrat politician and regime opponent, Bernardo Leighton in Rome Italy. Leighton and his wife survive, but live in constant pain for the rest of their lives. September 1976: Has DINA blow up the car of Orlando Letelier in Washington, DC, killing Letelier and his American assistant, Ronni Moffitt. November 1978: The bodies of fifteen men who were "disappeared" are found in an abandoned limestone mine in Lonquen . June 1990: The bodies of 19 men who disappeared in the 1970's are...

THE COUNTERMOBILIZATION MYTH -- CANADIAN EDITION.

THE COUNTERMOBILIZATION MYTH -- CANADIAN EDITION. Gay rights litigation has been very successful in our neighbor to the north, with major victories at both the federal and provincial levels (including with respect to marriage benefits. According to oft-cited conventional wisdom , this success should have been a disaster for the gay rights movement, mobilizing a huge backlash and setting the cause back for generations as citizens were incensed by decision by "activist" courts. The problem is that this is not, in fact, true. Not only did Parliament end up formally recognizing gay marriage, but gay marriage has continued to become more popular, now commanding the support of almost 60% of the Canadian public. I do not mean so suggest that we can therefore expect a majority of Americans to support gay marriage right away too. My only point is that there is no evidence whatsoever that using litigation has anything to do with it . Courts are likely to provide the initiative with respect to...

NO CREDIBILITY.

NO CREDIBILITY. As the Iraq War continues to get more and more hopeless, we're sure to start hearing more of the tautological trump card inevitably played by the dead-enders of ill-conceived wars: we need to maintain a ruinous war in order to preserve American "credibility." As Daniel Davies pointed out in comments about Michael Novak 's particularly insane version of this argument, this would seem to be the �if something is not worth doing, it has to be done at ruinous cost� theory of deterrence. Or, as he put it in his more extensive discussion of why this doesn't work even as abstract game theory, "It is certainly true that one of the benefits of doing something stupid is that it saves you from having to spend money on maintaining your reputation as an idiot. However, is the reputation of an idiot really worth having?" As our colleague Rob has pointed out in detail , the idea that one should keep fighting a ruinous war to preserve "credibility" or "reputation" is one of the dumbest...

Pages