The top award for the YouTube debate thus far goes to Reverend Reggie, a black pastor from North Carolina. The question, for John Edwards: In the American past, religious justifications -- something prohibited by the Constitution, at least under most interpretations -- were used to prolong injustices like slavery, Jim Crow, not allowing women to vote. How can you use your Southern Baptist faith to explain your opposition to gay marriage? There just wasn't a good way to answer that. P.S.: His video -- featuring a song from "Hair" -- was pretty cheeky, though. --Eve Fairbanks
Bill Richardson had the only really specific response to the youth-group-icebreaker question to identify something you like or don't like about the candidate to your left: He lauded Biden's service on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, civil rights, Supreme Court nominees. Impressive, insofar as any response could be. Joe Biden likes Dennis Kucinich's wife -- yikes. --Eve Fairbanks
By Sanford Levinson I'm about to go off to New Zealand, one of the last countries in the world not to have a written constitution and to be firmly committed to parliamentary sovereignty (though some judges are reasonably forceful in enforcing the relatively new Bill of Rights (that, however, explicitly denies the power of what we call "judicial review," i.e., the ability of courts to invalidate legislation).
The Washington Post finally manages to figure out who met with Cheney's secret energy task force in 2001: One of the first visitors, on Feb. 14, was James J. Rouse, then vice president of Exxon Mobil and a major donor to the Bush inauguration; a week later, longtime Bush supporter Kenneth L. Lay, then head of Enron Corp., came by for the first of two meetings.
The AP has an interesting breakdown of which employers gave the most money to the presidential candidates. In most instances the big bucks come from investment banks or large corporations. Cablevision employees donated $93,675 to Hillary, for instance; Ernst & Young workers gave Giuliani $143,000; Obama hauled in $160,000 from Lehman Brothers. But check out the nefarious forces supporting conservative Republican Sam Brownback. The Kansas senator's top source of donations turns out to be Martin's Famous Pastry Shoppe in Chambersburg, PA.
By Robert Brustein The period of The Great Impeachment has been followed by a period of intense retrospection. This is the process that has occupied Congress during most of October 2007, when for the first time in American history an entire Administration was unceremoniously dumped from office.
It is not a virus. It is a plague. A few days ago, I posted in this space a note about some political science professor at the University of Minnesota who was eager to talk about Cindy Sheehan challenging Nancy Pelosi for her House seat. The announcement of this hot news came from the university itself, and it is apparently part of a rage whereby institutions of higher learning seek to prove to the "public" that teaching employees do, well, "public service." This morning I received an e-mail from the State University of New York at Albany.
By John McWhorter Since the Supreme Court last week decided against Seattle and Louisville, Kentucky's policies of assuring a certain degree of racial diversity in public schools, we have heard much about the undoing of Brown v. Board. However, I have a hard time mourning the decision, though the brute notion that we must ignore race to get beyond it is, surely, simplistic. Preliminarily, I think of the plethora of schools nationwide where all the students are brown and yet excellence is a norm.
By Richard Stern I enjoyed Cass Sunstein's recent speculations on the possible transition from the present conservative (rather than centrist) Roberts-led court to a liberal one of the sort over which Chief Justice Warren presided. My interest in court matter was ignited sixty-seven years ago when I read Drew Pearson and Robert S. Allen's The Nine Old Men and wrote in my Hunter College Model School yearbook that I wanted to be a Supreme Court justice. The chief redeemers of that beknighted court, Brandeis and Cardoza, were Jews, as high as such people as I could go in that era.
By Cass Sunstein According to conventional wisdom, the Supreme Court is equally divided between a conservative wing and a liberal one, with Justice Anthony Kennedy acting as the swing voter. But there is something extremely strange about this view of the current situation. By the standards of the recent past, the liberal wing isn't liberal at all. According to conventional wisdom, the Court has long been evenly balanced between left and right, and it has finally shifted a bit to the right under Chief Justice John Roberts. But there is something strange about this view as well.