Wendy Kaminer

Wendy Kaminer is a former senior correspondent for The American Prospect and a contributing editor at The Atlantic Monthly. She also serves on the national board of the American Civil Liberties Union.

A lawyer, social critic, and former Guggenheim Fellow, she writes about law, liberty, feminism, religion, and popular culture. Her latest book is Free for All: Defending Liberty in America Today. Other books she has written include Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials: The Rise of Irrationalism and Perils of Piety; True Love Waits: Essays and Criticism; It's All the Rage: Crime and Culture; I'm Dysfunctional, You're Dysfunctional: The Recovery Movement and Other Self-Help Fashions; and A Fearful Freedom: Women's Flight from Equality. Kaminer's articles and reviews have appeared in many other publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, and Newsweek, and her commentaries have aired on National Public Radio.

Before embarking on her writing career, Kaminer practiced law as a staff attorney in the New York Legal Aid Society and the New York City Mayor's Office.

Wendy Kaminer retains copyrights to all her articles.

Recent Articles

On the Contrary

It's a summer of stupid lawsuits. Food "addicts" are suing McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and KFC, claiming that the fast-food industry creates cravings for unhealthy food and fails to provide consumers with nutritional information. (They might as well sue their parents for failing to provide them with common sense.) A female passenger is suing Delta Airlines for negligence, sexual discrimination and intentional affliction of emotional distress, because security agents asked her to hold up a vibrator packed in her mysteriously vibrating suitcase. (If this is her idea of actionable emotional distress and discrimination, you have to wonder how she gets through the day.)

On the Contrary

Women are hardwired to experience and recall emotions more readily than men, according to a study announced last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as on CNN's morning show. "The wiring of emotional experience and the coding of that experience into memory is much more tightly integrated in women than in men," according to the study's lead author, psychologist Turhan Canli of the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

On the Contrary:

Considering the generous tax exemptions long enjoyed by religious institutions, the routine invocation of God at official events or even the persistence of blue laws prohibiting the sale of liquor on Sundays, it's clear that the "wall" between church and state has never been much more than a curtain. While separationists often succeed in closing it, advocates of state-sponsored religion have been slipping under it for years. So the U.S.

On the Contrary:

Nearly 25 years ago, in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the U.S. Supreme Court held that educational institutions may consider the race of their applicants in making admissions decisions. But the Court didn't clarify the constitutional justification for racial preferences. Are they permissible only when offered as remedies for previous discrimination (to level the playing field)? Or may racial preferences be employed in order to achieve a university administration's vision of racial balance or diversity? (I'm using the term "racial" loosely, as we often do.)

Ashcroft's Lies

Conservatives are supposed to stand for personal accountability. But at the FBI, under the ultraconservative stewardship of a Republican president and attorney general, no bad deed goes unrewarded. Recent revelations that agents in Washington ignored clues of terrorist activities before September 11, and afterward covered up their incompetence, diminished what was left of the bureau's credibility, and yet promised to enhance its power. As the story of bureaucratic bumbling unfolded, 30-year-old restrictions on the FBI's authority to spy on domestic political activists, and anyone else it targets, were erased by order of the attorney general.


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