Law

Glasgow's Jack Bauer
July 03, 2007

In the aftermath of the thwarted attack on Glasgow airport, one man has emerged as the hero of the hour. Step forward baggage handler John Smeaton who, while enjoying a sly cigarete break, witnessed the attack and rallied to help the police take down the terrorists. You may well have seen him on CNN or Fox. A tribute website--www.johnsmeaton.com--has become a phenomenon, attracting more than 500,000 page views. More than 1,000 people have each pledged money to buy a pint for Mr. Smeaton at the Glasgow Airport Holiday Inn.

In Today's Web Magazine
July 02, 2007

Sam Tanenhaus looks back at Whittaker Chambers, one of the founders of contemporary conservatism, who might not be so proud of George W. Bush; Benjamin Wittes says Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion in the Supreme Court's public school diversity plan case is one of the worst pieces of legal writing he has ever seen; Dennis Ross advises Tony Blair on what it will take to succeed as Middle East envoy; Suzanne Nossel argues that European foreign policy has become anti-Bush; and the Editors are excited by the prospect that the District of Columbia may finally get a vote in Congress.

In Today's Web Magazine
June 29, 2007

Michael Kinsley recalls the time Ronald Reagan invited him to lunch (or did he?); Cass R. Sunstein says the Supreme Court's rulings this week belie a fundamental disagreement between the conservative justices; Eve Fairbanks listens to House Energy Committee Chairman John Dingell rant and rave about environmentalists; and James Kirchick braves protestors and a would-be pipe bomber at Jerusalem's gay rights parade. --Alexander M. Belenky

What 'they' Call It
June 29, 2007

by Cass Sunstein In the midst of all the discussion of race-based pupil assignments and affirmative action, I've now received an Op-Ed from someone at the same institution as the person who sent me an Op-Ed on climate change. (Or was that a parody?) I print this one because it seems to me to capture some widespread views in the popular press and perhaps even to overlap, at least a little bit, with the Court's analysis yesterday. (Or is this a parody? What do you think?) "Reverse Discrimination" "They" call it affirmative action.

Photographing Israel
June 29, 2007

Just a while back, I commented in this space on an exhibition of Israeli photographs at the Jewish Museum in New York. I found its chosen subject matter so self-consciously focused on the Palestinians that it gave hardly a look at the Israel which lives an ordinary life beyond and aside from the conflict. Yes, Israelis are aware of the Palestinian predicament, and they are often rattled by Palestinian terror. Some Israelis also believe that great injustices have been done by their country to the Palestinians.

The Company They Keep
June 28, 2007

Apropos this story--about the Israeli government's decision to let a BBC employee who moonlights for Hamas to enter the Gaza strip and help negotiate the freedom of Alan Johnston--just what, exactly, is the BBC doing hiring people who belong to Hamas? Angering? Yes. Surprising? No. --James Kirchick

Who Hates Sick Leave?
June 27, 2007

As Ezra Klein says, there's not too much that's shocking about the new Labor Department report finding that workers want more sick leave and paid vacation while businesses want, well, less. But this paragraph seemed ominous: Many businesses complained that the Labor Department's definition of a serious health condition enabling workers to take leave was unclear and too generous.

In Today's Web Magazine
June 25, 2007

Martin Peretz argues that the disintegration of Gaza marks the end of Palestinian nationalism; Jonathan Chait says that Michael Bloomberg's attempt to transcend ideology is merely a pretense; Jason Zengerle begins a debate with Chait over whether Fred Thompson stands a chance in the presidential race; Benjamin Wittes identifies the Supreme Court's looming legitimacy crisis; and Mark Lilla calls Alexis de Tocqueville a prophet for our times. --Alexander M. Belenky

John Roberts Unleashed
June 25, 2007

The Supreme Court went on a rampage today: weakening McCain-Feingold, barring ordinary taxpayers from challenging the White House's faith-based initiatives in court, siding with businesses over environmentalists in a dispute about endangered species, and ruling against a student who unfurled a "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner in school (no, really). Worth noting: All of those decisions were 5-4, Alito and Roberts wrote two majority opinions apiece, and in all cases, the court liberals--Ginsburg, Stevens, Souter, Breyer--were on the dissenting end of things. --Bradford Plumer

Conservative Jurisprudence Today
June 20, 2007

This has to be among the most depressing things I've read in a while: "Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. ... He saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Judge Scalia said. Then, recalling Season 2, where the agent's rough interrogation tactics saved California from a terrorist nuke, the Supreme Court judge etched a line in the sand. "Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer?

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