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

It's Not Illiberal To Defend Fundamental Rights

AP Images/Idaho Statesman/Joe Jaszewski

"In addition to whatever else the prosecution can prove," a judge told a defense lawyer on an early episode of Law & Order, "your client is guilty of bad timing." The same is true of The Week's Damon Linker, who wrote two posts urging liberals to temper their pursuit of justice for gays and lesbians in order to to respect the religious freedom of opponents of equal rights.

Kansas's Radical Attack on Gays and Lesbians

Flickr/John Lemieux

The bill passed by the Kansas House of Representatives today has a bland title—"An act concerning religious freedoms with respect to marriage." But the language cannot conceal the vicious discrimination it's intended to protect. The bill would allow not only private businesses but, quite remarkably, state officials to withhold services from gays and lesbians as long as it is motivated by a "sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender." This reprehensible proposed law would render gays and lesbians second-class citizens in Kansas and deprives them of rights most people have long taken for granted.

Michael Sam, "Distraction"

AP Images/Brandon Wade

Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam was the co-winner of the Defensive Player of the Year for the powerhouse Southeastern Conference. While a little undersized for an NFL player at his position, Sam was certainly a decent pro prospect sure to be selected in the upcoming NFL draft. But Sam is no longer just of interest to SEC fans and NFL draft obsessives. On Sunday, Sam came out as gay. If he makes an NFL roster, he would certainly not be the first gay man to play in the NFL, but he would be the first to be out to the public during his playing career. Whether he will get a fair shot to make it as an NFL player, however, is not entirely clear, as multiple NFL decisionmakers have announced their intent to discriminate.

GOP to Working Poor: Drop Dead

AP Images/Charles Dharapak

In one of the better lines in last night's State of the Union address, President Obama chided House Republicans for their endless series of votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act: "[L]et's not have another 40-something votes to repeal a law that's already helping millions of Americans ... The first 40 were plenty." He followed up by observing that "we all owe it to the American people to say what we're for, not just what we're against." As it happens, last week three Republican senators outlined a plan that can be fairly described as a Republican plan to replace Obamacare. (The basic features of the plan are clearly described by Sarah Kliff of Wonkblog here.) Because most of the Republican Party convinced themselves in 2009 that a tax penalty for people who don't carry health insurance was a grave threat to the American constitutional order, the plan does not include an individual mandate. But otherwise, in its general priorities the plan strongly resembles the Heritage Plan of the late 1980s. That is, it's radically different than the ACA, and it's horrible, immoral public policy.

Federal Board Finds NSA Program Illegal and Unjustified

AP Images/Oliver Berg

Yesterday, as Charlie Savage of the New York Times reported, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) created by Congress issued a comprehensive report on the National Security Administration's collection of telephone data. This damning report makes it clear that President Obama's proposed reforms to the program don't go far enough.

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