Jeffrey Rosen

House Arrest

0 0 1 1251 7132 Duke University 59 16 8367 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-language:JA;} On the eve of losing the House, the Republican National Committee sent journalists a frantic e-mail. "Who is Rep. Joh

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Full Court Press

Bill Keller can't sleep. It is four o'clock on a sticky morning in the summer of 2007, and the executive editor of The New York Times is pacing his home, cursing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Here is the root of his insomnia: A few months earlier, the Democrats recaptured the House.

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One of the defining principles of the Bush administration has been a belief in unfettered executive power. Indeed, President Bush has taken the principle to such unprecedented extremes that an ironic reversal has taken place: A conservative ideology that had always been devoted to limiting government power has been transformed into the largest expansion of executive power since FDR.

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This article is adapted from Jeffrey Rosen's new book, The Most Democratic Branch: How the Courts Serve America (Oxford University Press). On May 11, USA Today revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been secretly collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans in the hope of detecting terrorists. In response to the story, civil libertarians are once again rushing to court.

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After Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's inept performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Republicans as well as Democrats expressed strong skepticism about the legality of the Bush administration's domestic wiretapping program.

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Senator Patrick Leahy wanted a straight answer to a simple question. "Wouldn't it be constitutional for the Congress to outlaw Americans from using torture?" the senator asked Judge Samuel Alito during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings last week. Here was Alito's reply: "Well, senator, I think the important points are that the president has to follow the Constitution and the laws. ... But, as to specific issues that might come up, I really need to know the specifics."This wasn't exactly the answer Leahy was looking for.

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Uncle Sam

Senator Patrick Leahy wanted a straight answer to a simple question. "Wouldn't it be constitutional for the Congress to outlaw Americans from using torture?" the senator asked Judge Samuel Alito during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings last week. Here was Alito's reply: "Well, senator, I think the important points are that the president has to follow the Constitution and the laws. ... But, as to specific issues that might come up, I really need to know the specifics."This wasn't exactly the answer Leahy was looking for.

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For those who believe in bipartisan judicial restraint, Samuel Alito Jr. poses a dilemma. On the one hand, his vote to strike down a federal ban on machine gun possession in 1996 suggests that he might be a conservative activist who is determined to resurrect limits on congressional authority that have been dormant since the New Deal.

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Journalists have reacted to the indictment of Scooter Libby more or less along party lines.

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On the left and the right, Harriet Miers is being criticized as an unqualified hack. This magazine has put Miers at the top of its list of the Bush administration's 15 worst hacks (see page 25), and many argue that she doesn't have the qualifications that people look for in Supreme Court nominees. But Miers's nontraditional background doesn't preclude a successful career as a justice.

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