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

Partial-Birth's Trojan Horse

This month, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Gonzales cases, which concern the constitutionality of the Federal Partial-Birth Abortion Act . (There were two cases because the law was struck down by two different circuit courts.) There are three central questions about this case to consider as we await the Court's decision next year: 1) should the Court rule the legislation unconstitutional? 2) will the Court rule it unconstitutional? and 3) does it matter? The answers are 1) absolutely, 2) probably not, thanks to the American electorate catching on to George W. Bush two years too late, and 3) more than you might think. The legislation bans Dilation and Extraction (D&X) abortions, in which a fetus is delivered whole into the vaginal canal before the abortion rather than being dismembered in the womb. (There is actually a serious argument that the legislation is sufficiently vague as to encompass many abortions performed by the more common Dilation and Evacuation, or D...


MCCAIN AND ABORTION: THE DANCE OF DISINGENUOUSNESS. John McCain has come out for overturning Roe . Frankly, I'm not sure what this tells us that we didn't already know . McCain has already expressed support for the draconian ban in South Dakota, and voted to confirm Robert Bork and Samuel Alito . And in case McCain apologists once again mention that McCain "said that if his daughter wanted an abortion, he would leave the decision up to her," I note that the fact that McCain wouldn't dream of applying general bans on abortion to people in his social circles doesn't make him a pro-choicer; it makes him a Republican . John McCain's daughter won't have a problem getting an abortion whether Roe is good law or not, but a lot of other women won't be so lucky. Social conservatism for thee-but-not-for-me is pretty much what social conservatism means in this country. And his justification for supporting the overturning of Roe is also classically dishonest: MCCAIN: I don�t think a constitutional...


FOCUS ON THE GOVERNORS : As the unofficial vice-president of Ezra 's Gore/Sebelius '08! fan club, I would be remiss not to link to Matt 's argument here . The Washington press corps' bias towards politicians already in the Beltway does seem to be the most convincing explanation for the gross overrepresentation of senators, beltway politicians, and scions of political families when discussing presidential candidates. (Would anyone have been touting the hapless George Allen as a presidential frontrunner if he had been governor of Wyoming?) With Sebelius, for example, it seems clear that she has some serious political skills -- for a (pro-choice!) woman to become a two-term Democratic governor of Kansas is considerably more impressive than, say, a Democrat able to become a two-term senator from New York. But with some online exceptions , it's hard to evaluate her fit for a spot on a national ticket because so little is written about her. And what's all the more annoying about this is...


REDUCING UNWANTED PREGNANCIES AND THE INTERESTS OF WOMEN. Brother Ezra links to a good article by Reason 's Julian Sanchez about demands for compromise in the abortion debate. Readers who are familiar with my work on the subject will know that I agree entirely with Sanchez' opposition to trying to find "middle ground" on the abortion debate. Both of the general lines of "compromise" being advanced -- insisting that abortion is icky and women who get abortions are immoral, and passing a series of regulations that end up creating a highly inequitable regime of abortion-on-demand for affluent women and highly restricted abortion for poor and many rural women -- are very bad on the merits, and represent a practical victory for the forced pregnancy lobby rather than true compromises. I'm not willing to claim that fetuses are "persons," not only because I think it's nonsense but because the vast majority of pro-lifers don't seem to believe it, or at least are not willing to advance policies...


MORE OF THESE PROBLEMS : Trent Lott -- your new Republican (in a word I hesitate to use in this context) whip. Red State has to be happy about Jeff Sessions 's chances now! -- Scott Lemieux