Adam Serwer

The Golden Days Of Slavery

Michele Bachmann signed a really tone-deaf pledge from a conservative religious organization in Iowa that declares that:

Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.

Bloggingheads: Race-Bending Edition

I discuss the Jewish vote, race-bending, and Michele Bachmann with Dave Weigel:

Get Ready For Another Challenge To The Voting Rights Act

Rick Hasen notes that a challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act that was recently dismissed for lack of standing has been reinstated by the D.C. Circuit, meaning that we could see another challenge to the VRA at the Supreme Court very soon. The challenge involves an attempt by officials in Kingston, North Carolina, to make city elections nonpartisan. Section 5 requires changes to local election practices in certain areas to be "precleared" by the voting section of the Justice Department:

Colorism And Criminal Justice

Topher Sanders writes about a new study that confirms that skin tone can affect how harshly black women are punished for a crime:

Villanova researchers studied more than 12,000 cases of African-American women imprisoned in North Carolina and found that women with lighter skin tones received more-lenient sentences and served less time than women with darker skin tones.

The researchers found that light-skinned women were sentenced to approximately 12 percent less time behind bars than their darker-skinned counterparts. Women with light skin also served 11 percent less time than darker women.

Financial Sector Amnesty

In the midst of the bankruptcy reform debate, Senator Dick Durbin flatly stated that when it comes to Capitol Hill, the banks "frankly own the place." They might as well have said the same thing about federal prosecutors and regulators with responsibility over the financial sector. Starting in 2005, The New York Times reports, the Justice Department opted for "deferred prosecution agreements" with banks and mortgage companies in lieu of actually prosecuting them.


Apologies, no links today because I had to leave early for a doctor's appointment.

Follow-Up On Geneva And Gitmo At Sea

I spoke to national security law expert Robert Chesney yesterday, who had some thoughts about the Geneva Conventions prohibiting the detention of prisoners of war at sea with relation to the Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame case.

Marriage Equality And Salience

My post at Greg's today argues that even as support for marriage equality is growing, those opposed are less willing to prioritize the issue:

Thiessen's Definition Of "Catch And Release"

Marc Thiessen accuses the Obama administration of having a "catch and release" policy based on Vice Admiral William McRaven's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding detention at sea:

"Food Nannyism" And Informed Consent

Ronald Bailey responds to the evidence that calorie labeling doesn't really affect people's eating choices and mocks "food nannyism," writing, "Nannies always know best and they never give up."

GOP Voter Suppression And "Jim Crow"

I'm frustrated by the way Republican successes at the state level in 2010 have allowed them to pursue their long-term policy goal of making it harder for Democratic-leaning constituencies to vote, but I really think the comparisons to Jim Crow are an example of hyperbole that distracts from the issue rather than adds to it.

Here's Steve Benen making the case, in reaction to Bill Clinton's recent remarks on the subject:

DoJ Short-Circuits Its Own DADT Appeal

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is currently considering a challenge to "don't ask, don't tell" filed by the Log Cabin Republicans, just lifted a stay that allowed the U.S. government to continue enforcing DADT. That means that DADT can no longer be enforced even though it's on the way out anyway, which is good news. 

The order itself contains this interesting sentence, which cites Attorney General Eric Holder's letter informing Congress the administration believes Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional:


The military's not so secret gender problem.

The CIA analyst who found Osama bin Laden.

I agree with this.

Where are all the Revolutionary War films?

A Few More Points About "Gitmo At Sea"

I just wanted to address a few more issues regarding the two-month seaborne detention of terrorism suspect Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame.

Legal Authority: The U.S. is arguing that Warsame is subject to military detention under the 2001 Authorization to use Military Force because he is a member of al Shabab.


I'll just briefly summarize this 2,000-word post from John Aravosis on the Obama administration's latest gay-rights failure:

The Obama administration has not merely ceased defending the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, it has now filed a legal brief supporting a group challenging it in court.

This is a "watershed moment" for LGBT rights that will speed DOMA's demise.