November 08, 2010
George F. Will is one of those conservatives who demands a high standard of proof when it comes to accusing white people of harboring racial prejudice against minorities: STEPHANOPOULOS: We -- we heard President Obama say he thinks that a lot of anti- government feeling, the idea that the government can't do anything right, is behind all this. What's your theory? WILL: The president's right about that. What we're hearing is the liberals' McCarthyism, which is, when in doubt, blame people for racism. Litigators have an old argument: When the law's on your side, argue the law.
Clarence Thomas And Alger Hiss
October 22, 2010
When Anita Hill came forward during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings to accuse him of sexual harrassment, it created a stark partisan divide. Democrats and liberals believed her, and held up her experience as a common example of women demeaned in the workplace and then smeared as liars if they dared report their experience. Republicans and conservatives furiously disagreed, seeing Hill's claim as a sexual witch-hunt and a plot by liberals who couldn't stand to let a black conservative ascend to such a high position. I remember very clearly having withheld judgment.
Chait Crony Defeated
June 08, 2010
This morning Dave Weigel reported on a Republican primary campaign in northern Virginia involving Matthew Berry, an openly gay former clerk for Clarence Thomas and FCC official under George W. Bush. It dawned on me that I knew Berry about thirty years ago when he was in my Sunday school class. I went to his house after Sunday school one day, and it was immediately clear that, despite being the two nerdiest kids in the class, we had little in common. I remember he absolutely insisted that we immediately go to work on an extra-credit homework task I had no intention of doing then or ever.
A Defense Of Right-Wing Sluttiness
June 03, 2010
Dana Goldstein makes a surprisingly compelling case for Nikki Haley, the far-right South Carolina governor candidate currently alleged to have had extramarital affairs with two men: I’m rooting for Haley because after watching so many men in politics fool around and still manage to hold on to their jobs—Bill Clinton, Mark Sanford, Clarence Thomas, John Ensign, Eric Massa, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Gavin Newsom, among many others—I hope we have reached the point when a woman, too, can screw up her personal life and still be evaluated on the public stage primarily for her professional achieveme
May 03, 2010
Miguel Estrada seemed to be a shoo-in for the federal bench. Nominated by George W. Bush to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2001 when he was just 39, Estrada was born in Honduras. He arrived in the United States as a teenager speaking little English and went on to graduate from Harvard Law School and clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. He then worked at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, arguably the most prestigious law firm in the nation, and, later, as an Assistant U.S.
The Right And Epistemic Closure
April 01, 2010
Having quoted Julian Sanchez earlier, let me quote another excerpt from a very smart post of his. Sanchez argues that conservatives are so determined to discredit internal dissidents because those dissidents are especially dangerous to their system of epistemic closure: One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News.
November 02, 2009
The saga of Rush Limbaugh and his failed attempt to acquire a piece of the St. Louis Rams may be the quintessential postmodern American racial incident. When word first leaked of Limbaugh's potential ownership, a couple of sportswriters, joined by a handful of cable news talking heads, repeated what turned out to be totally unsubstantiated quotes by Limbaugh praising slavery and James Earl Ray.
October 01, 2009
The most-watched case of the Supreme Court's last term, which ended in June, invited the justices to hold unconstitutional a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. The law required certain jurisdictions--largely in the Old South--to "pre-clear" any changes in their electoral systems with the Department of Justice. It was intended to prevent states with poor civil rights histories from changing their voting systems in ways that would keep blacks from voting.
April 15, 2009
Is the majority leader a partisan or pushover?
July 09, 2008
In 2006, at the end of his first term on the Supreme Court, John Roberts told me and other journalists that his goal as chief justice would be to promote unanimity and collegiality by encouraging his fellow justices to converge around narrow decisions with few dissents. During his first term, Roberts succeeded impressively: More than half of the Court's opinions were unanimous, and only 13 percent were decided by a 5-4 vote. The polarized Supreme Court term that ended last June, however, looked very different.