AT THE END OF MARCH, when Solicitor General Donald Verrilli appeared before the Supreme Court to make the case for the Affordable Care Act, he was widely perceived to have choked. When he approached the podium in the packed courtroom, the stakes could not have been higher. Verrilli was defending the Obama administration’s central domestic achievement, a reform that had consumed the White House for the better part of the president’s first term.
Life's Dominion: An Argument About Abortion, Euthanasia, and Individual Freedom by Ronald Dworkin (Knopf, 273 pp., $23) Liberals urgently need a constitutional philosophy, and Ronald Dworkin is eager to provide one. In his important writings over the past three decades, he has tried to work out a comprehensive theory of law, as well as a principled approach to the American Constitution. With few apologies, he has defended the Warren Court against a parade of conservative critics -- from the Burkean prudentialism of Alexander Bickel to the purported historicism of Robert Bork.
Kitty Kelley's achievement is extraordinary. She has provided a reason for sympathy with Nancy Reagan. She has taken one of the shrewdest, coldest, most manipulative women in American politics, a woman who broke new ground in spousal power, and transformed her into a victim. Kelley is a mean and greedy writer, so drunk on sensationalism that she lacks compassion and understanding. Her subject was a mean and greedy First Lady, so drunk on power that she lacked compassion and understanding. Both believe that nothing succeeds like excess and pettiness.
In early February 1984 E. Robert Wallach, a close friend and legal adviser of Edwin Meese, paid one of this occasional visits to the Bronx headquarters of the defense contractor Wedtech, a company that has since grown infamous for bringing and corrupting its way to fabulous success. Only a few weeks before, on January 23, President Reagan had announced the nomination of Meese to replace William French Smith as attorney general.
Guess what, Miss Liberty. Ed Meese has a birthday present for you. On July 3, a few hours before President Reagan flies north to officiate at the centennial celebration of the world's biggest female statue, his attorney general, if all goes as planned, will release the final text of the report of his pornography commission. The resulting fireworks may rival the big show in the sky over New York Harbor.