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

INFLAMMATORY WRIT: ...

INFLAMMATORY WRIT: An interesting article by David Savage about the military commissions bill signed by the President this week. I have been highly pessimistic about whether the Supreme Court will rule significant parts of the bill unconstitutional . But at least some scholars believe that the Court will not run (to their undying credit): Many legal scholars predict the law's partial repeal of habeas corpus will be struck down as unconstitutional. "This is an outright slap at the Supreme Court, and it is heading for invalidation," said Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University and an expert on habeas corpus. "This is a core principle of law that was established by the prisoners who were tossed into the Tower of London by the king, and it was preserved in the Constitution. Now, Congress is saying it doesn't apply to this disfavored group of prisoners." Another thing to add, which I didn't consider sufficiently in my first post, is the increased power of federal courts...

WHAT WAS THE...

WHAT WAS THE VOTE COUNT ON THE FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT AGAIN? Ed Morrissey claims that attempts to out GOP Senator Larry Craig shows that "Left hates gays." First of all, "a poster at Daily Kos and a gay activist" does not equal "the Left." (I mean, what do Ward Churchill and the immortal Some Guy With A Sign Somewhere have to say?) But more importantly, whether it's right or wrong the idea that outing someone reflects "hatred" for gay people is just silly. The premise is rather that politicians should be as comfortable with homosexual identities as they are with their heterosexual ones (you may have seen a political ad or two with a candidate's family prominently displayed), and that it's particularly odious for gay people to use the depriving of rights of gay people for reasons of political ambition. You may also remember this argument from the ridiculous Kabuki surrounding Mary Cheney , in which various cultural conservatives (and glibertarians ), as part of a campaign in which...

THE WAR OF STRATEGIC DEFERRALS.

THE WAR OF STRATEGIC DEFERRALS. An interesting article by Warren Richey about whether the Supremes will "trim" the appalling Military Commissions Act. My guess, as Richey suggests, is that the Court will do pretty much nothing -- Justice Kennedy invited Congress to act, and it did. These kinds of interactions between courts and legislatures have long been a hobbyhorse of mine , and I was happy to see the always-excellent Dahlia Lithwick tackle the subject recently in the WaPo : Congress gives in to the temptation of passing bills that are of questionable constitutionality because it's easy and convenient. Political expediency seems to trump constitutional principle. The elected branches need never defy the popular will if the courts are available to do so instead. And those members of Congress who insist that the courts should stay out of Congress's business should recognize Congress for the enabler it has become. It's a two-way street: The courts work with what Congress sends them...

VERDICT: STILL HOPELESSLY...

VERDICT: STILL HOPELESSLY ARBITRARY . The Canadian lawblogger Pithlord attempts to answer the (to me, completely unanswerable ) question of how advocates of criminalizing abortion can justify excluding women who obtain abortions entirely from criminal sanctions: *Criminalizing something much of a society thinks is permissible is often a mistake, even if that part of society is mistaken about the moral issue. That's basically my view of spanking. I might support criminalizing it if there was a social consensus against it, but I hardly want to drag ordinary parents away to jail when such a consensus doesn't exist. *Many women seeking abortions do so under conditions of economic or social duress. This would be even more true if abortion was legally unavailable. A person opposed to the legality of abortion could regard this as mitigative, even if not justificatory. The first point is a good one, but it's an argument against criminalizing abortion , period, not against excluding women but...

WHO CARES WHAT ANTHONY WOULD DO?

WHO CARES WHAT ANTHONY WOULD DO? Amanda Marcotte calls our attention to this excellent piece by Stacy Schiff , who debunks claims that Susan B. Anthony was a supporter of abortion bans. I find it particularly interesting because Anthony was able to ask questions about whether abortion bans actually accomplish anything even if you agree with the end of inhibiting abortions, a distinction which eludes most contemporary opponents of abortion rights. Still, there's another question here: what difference would it make if Anthony had supported abortion laws? With respect to Lincoln , Mark Graber recently pointed out: Many American political and constitutional arguments have something close to the following structure. 1) The following political action/constitutional understanding is wise, benevolent, and prudent. 2) Abraham Lincoln must have favored that political action/constitutional understanding because Abraham Lincoln was a wise, benevolent, and prudent leader. 3) We ought to adopt that...

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