[Guest post by Perry Stein and Simon Meiners] The three-day marathon Supreme Court hearing on Obamacare is over and, to no one’s surprise, Justice Clarence Thomas didn’t say a word. The justice has long-been famous for his silence on the bench, having spoken just once since 2006. We decided to determine precisely how many times Thomas has spoken during oral arguments since he joined the bench in 1991. The task seemed pretty simple: just search through the Supreme Court transcripts.
Why the Supreme Court Justices Won’t Be Crudely Political When They Rule on Obamacare
March 29, 2012
In the weeks preceding the Obamacare case, many veteran Supreme Court-watchers could not bring themselves to believe that a majority of the justices would find the individual health insurance mandate unconstitutional.
Will the Court Uphold Health Care Reform? Survey Says...
March 19, 2012
Las Vegas hasn’t posted odds on whether the Supreme Court will reject health care reform. But the American Bar Association has done the next best thing. As part of a special publication devoted to the case, the ABA surveyed a group of veteran observers and asked them to predict the outcome. The results? Eighty-five percent predicted that the court will uphold the law. The ABA won’t say how it picked the experts; it promised anonymity to guarantee candor. So make of the results what you will. But those experts seem to part of a broader consensus.
March 14, 2012
There are two Democrats running at the top of the ticket this year, and only one of them is President Barack Obama. When Joe Biden’s name first came up, in 2008, as a possible running mate, I told everyone I knew that it would never happen. When Obama did choose Biden, I braced myself for disaster. But Biden turned out to be the right guy for the job. People don’t appreciate what a surprising outcome this is. My reasoning back in 2008 was grounded in observable fact.
I Am Not For Herman Cain. Believe Me, I Really Am Not. But…
November 08, 2011
Nor was I for Ross Perot, a man who (as of 1992) had made a $3 billion dollar fortune and headed a major hi-tech corporation, actually two. But he was—let’s be frank (and rhyme)—a real crank. Frankly, I can’t remember whether many people took him seriously as a thinking politician. Still, with his money he seemed able to stake a claim on the attentions of the electorate and attracted the support of millions of voters who would not have gone to the polls were their choice limited to either George H.W. Bush or Bill Clinton.
Why Cain’s Deny, Deny, Deny Strategy Is So 1990s
November 08, 2011
As his campaign implodes in the face of sexual harassment allegations, Herman Cain’s Super PAC has launched an ad featuring Clarence Thomas’s 1991 charge that similar harassment allegations represented “a high tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves.” “Don’t let the left do it again,” the ad concludes. In a tight spot, both Cain and Thomas played the race card they had previously criticized, and both denied the sexual harassment allegations rather than taking responsibility.
The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Conservative Reactions to Herman Cain’s Sex Scandal
November 05, 2011
When news broke last Sunday that GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain had been accused of multiple instances of workplace sexual harassment in the 1990s, conservatives had the opportunity to reevaluate their opinion of the candidate and his fitness for the highest office. Instead, reactions broke down roughly into two camps: those who saw nothing but a racist witch-hunt from the liberal media and those who took the opportunity to dispute and belittle the existence of sexual harassment in the first place.
How Cain’s Sex Scandal Will Help His Candidacy
November 01, 2011
The trouble Herman Cain is experiencing with Politico’s scoop on an alleged past settlement of sexual harassment charges—as well as his initial reaction to it—was, in many respects, predictable. Ever since the pizza executive’s improbable rise to the top of Republican presidential polls, there have been vague but menacing predictions that the new scrutiny he would face could quickly burst the bubble of his candidacy. Likewise, Cain’s pose as a victim of a politically, and perhaps racially, motivated smear was also predictable, but could prove remarkably effective.
Cain The Victim
October 31, 2011
[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] Alec Macgillis has already weighed in on some parallels between the allegations against Herman Cain and those made twenty years ago against Clarence Thomas. From the moment I read the Politico report last night, I knew the rightwing would go apoplectic and attribute the story to a liberal media that despises non-white conservatives. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you see, racism does not exist in America.
On The Cain-Clarence Thomas Connection
October 31, 2011
Well, that didn't take long. Scrambling to deal with Politico's report on allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain by two of his employees at the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s, Cain's campaign has already played the Clarence Thomas card. A campaign spokesman today invoked the Anita Hill-Thomas conflagration of 1991: “Sadly, we’ve seen this movie played out before -- a prominent conservative targeted by liberals simply because they disagree with his politics,” said spokesman J.D.