Adam Serwer

"Women's Empowerment" Does Not Lead to Sex-Selective Abortion

Ross Douthat had a head scratcher of a column yesterday positing that sex-selective abortion is the "result" of women's empowerment, offering India as an example:

The spread of sex-selective abortion is often framed as a simple case of modern science being abused by patriarchal, misogynistic cultures. Patriarchy is certainly part of the story, but as Hvistendahl points out, the reality is more complicated — and more depressing.


This is a tough read, but it's worth it.

Bmaz thinks Justice Anthony Kennedy is going to "seal the deal" for marriage equality.

Interfering with prosecutorial discretion, immigration edition.

"Are you a flake?" is a softball question.

Private Prisons Spend Millions Pushing Bad Policy

I meant to link to the Justice Policy Institute's report on private prisons last week, but Andrea Nill Sanchez has a good summary of the report's conclusions about tremendous influence private prison companies have amassed by throwing money around:

Culture War Counterterrorism: The Senate Wants To Interrupt Terrorism Investigations To Make A Point

Ben Wittes writes that the detention provisions in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act could have the impact of hampering terrorism investigations with their requirement that all Muslim terrorism suspects be forced into military custody:


Malik Zulu Shabazz, one of the defendants in the trumped up New Black Panther voter intimidation case, has recently apologized to President Barack Obama for saying this:

Conservatives: Democracy "Fails" When I Don't Get What I Want

Andrew Sullivan flags some eye-popping responses from religious conservatives regarding New York's decision to pass marriage equality legislation. Here's Kathryn Jean-Lopez:

Video Games Protected By The First Amendment

California's effort to prevent the sale of violent video games to minors produced some of the most amusing oral arguments at the Supreme Court we've ever seen, with Justice Samuel Alito poking fun at the originalism of Justice Antonin Scalia by saying, "I think what Justice Scalia wants to know is what James Madison thought about video games. Did he enjoy them?"

Not Deporting Someone Is Not The Same As Granting Them Citizenship

Suzy Khimm checks in on the latest immigration nontroversy, the supposed "stealth DREAM Act" instituted by the Obama administration in the form of an ICE memo reminding the agency that their priority is the removal of undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

The Libya Vote: The Worst Of All Worlds

Earlier today, Congress voted on two Libya resolutions: One to authorize military intervention, the other to restrict the U.S. to support operations. Both failed. 

Geert Wilders Acquitted Of Hate Speech

It should go without saying that anti-Muslim Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders' acquittal on charges of hate speech don't vindicate the content of his remarks. While Wilders view on Islam are abhorrent, the laws under which he was being prosecuted are a far bigger travesty. As Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, "the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones," not government deciding which ones are evil and which ones are good.

Militarizing Domestic Detention

The outlines of a Senate "compromise" on detention have emerged, and it looks like Democrats have agreed to allow military detention in a domestic context with Muslims suspected of terrorism:

Another provision would mandate military detention for people suspected of being "high value" terrorists from Al Qaeda: members of the organization who participated in planning or conducting attacks on the United States. The mandate would exclude United States citizens, and it would allow the secretary of defense to send detainees to the civilian criminal justice system at his discretion.

Clarifying Yoo

Yesterday Glenn Greenwald wrote:

In his column for the American Enterprise Institute today, John Yoo accuses President Obama of transgressing the proper limits of executive power by asserting the right to wage war in Libya without Congress.

Programming Note

My apologies everyone, I should have written this sooner but blogging is going to be a bit slow today and tomorrow because I'm out reporting on a story that has a short lead time. Things should be back to normal next week.

Unprosecuted Felons

Tim Lee makes a great point about selective moralizing about violations of immigration law:

The same point applies to immigration law. Obviously, we ought to enact sane immigration laws that make it easy for people like Jose Vargas to get a green card. But given that we haven’t done that, it’s a good thing—both for him and for the rest of us—that our enforcement system wasn’t effective enough to prevent him from taking a job here.

The Will And Organization Of Immigration Reform Advocates

I was kind of shocked to see Matthew Yglesias write yesterday, in response to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas outing himself as an undocumented immigrant, that "undocumented people could in principle force their way onto the agenda if there was enough will and organization."