John Roberts Unleashed

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

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?

Crimes And Misdemeanors

Richard Cohen makes some reasonable points in his column today decrying the investigation that led to Scooter Libby's conviction. (Liberals really ought to be more leery about Patrick Fitzgerald's efforts to strong-arm reporters.) But he concludes by making a specious analogy to Bill Clinton: I have come to hate the war and I cannot approve of lying under oath--not by Scooter, not by Bill Clinton, not by anybody. But the underlying crime is absent... People makes this comparison all the time, and it's a false one. Yes, both men lied under oath.

Degrees For A Dictator
June 17, 2007

And to think that many of these same high dudgeon, high-minded Brits are boycotting Israel. Peter Godwin is a journalist who knows Zimbabwe; he has known it really from the beginning. Godwin was there and he told his readers what was happening about Robert Mugabe. They were not ignorant but the faculty of Edinburgh University, which awarded the despot an honorary degree in 1984, was ... or made itself ignorant or, worse yet, pretended to ignorance.

Kennedy Continued
June 14, 2007

by Jacob T. Levy Apropos of Jeffrey Rosen's new piece on Justice Kennedy's penchant for freelance moral abstraction, I thought I'd note an instance Rosen didn't mention. (I'm drawing on my paper "Three Perversities of Indian Law.") Under traditional American jurisprudence, American Indian tribal governments have self-governing authority that predates and is not dependent on the American constitutional order.

For Obama
June 13, 2007

Apropos Jonathan Chait's Plank, "More Poll Chewing," on the dismal showing of Hillary Clinton against any and all potential Republican presidential candidates, the question arises: is the party committing suicide, and just when it has had some life breathed into it? I asked that question in 1988 when the party, in a fit of enthusiasm for a real stiff, nominated Mike Dukakis. I mentioned his name at a dinner party the other night, a dinner party of grown-ups and well-educated grown-ups, at that. And one of the guests, a psychiatrist, asked who he was.

Who Woulda Thunk?
June 13, 2007

Say what you will about the Wall Street Journal editorial page, but they had the very good sense to run a surprising column (subscription required) today by former Republican Congressman Bob Barr arguing in favor of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Barr makes a coherent and convincing conservative case for removing the ban, writing: Conservatives are supposed to favor meritocracy--rewarding ability--especially in the armed forces.

In Today's Web Magazine
June 13, 2007

Jeffrey Rosen shows how Justice Anthony Kennedy has imposed his own morality on the Supreme Court (he also provides a field guide to some of Kennedy's most immodest speeches and opinions); Eric Reeves argues that Tuesday's "breathrough" on Darfur is about to hit a wall; Justin Shubow responds to Merlin Chowkwanyun's article and argues that race is in the genes; Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg say that Fred Thompson isn't another Reagan; and Sacha Zimmerman lambastes reality shows for their blatant disregard for the environment. --Alexander M. Belenky

Gaza Safer Under Occupation
June 06, 2007

The Palestinians are desperate. That's old news. Yes, of course, the occupation makes them desperate. But, hey, the occupation of Gaza was liquidated almost two years ago. Not a single Israeli soldier is in Gaza, except for the one captured last summer from over the Israeli border. According to an article by the very savvy Isabel Kershner in todays Times, even Mahmoud Abbas has averred that "the brink of civil war ...

Jews Are Gluttons For Punishment
June 05, 2007

The Jerusalem Post reports this morning that a bus carrying Israeli demonstrators from a Peace Now rally in Hebron against the occupation was pelted with rocks and stones. Where is the Palestinian sense of hospitality to friends?