Open University

What We've Missed About The Supreme Court
July 09, 2007

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.

So Would This Count As A Constitutional Crisis?
July 09, 2007

Editor's Note: Due to a formatting error, this post was originally misattributed to Cass Sunstein. We regret the error. By Sanford Levinson Imagine the following quite plausible events over the next 20 months: 1. Both Houses of Congress are repeatedly rebuffed in their attempts to subpoena the testimony of executive branch officials who almost certainly played key roles in the probably illegal politiciziation of the Department of Justice.

What I Owe Jefferson
July 06, 2007

by Richard Stern The Independence Day fireworks were beautiful to watch and hear from our little porch on Tybee Island. Garrison Keilor's "Writer's Almanac" had informed us that it was also Hawthorne's birthday and the one on which Thoreau had moved into his Walden cabin (made by him as Jefferson had made the lap-desk on which he wrote the 1300 odd words of the Declaration).

We Are What We See, Eat, And Read
July 06, 2007

by Eric Rauchway In his review of Michael Moore's Sicko, Josh Tyler claims Sicko is not a movie about the 50 million Americans walking around without health insurance. is a movie about the other 250 million of us who have insurance, but are just as well and truly screwed. It's also about freedom, real freedom, not the empty kind that gets thrown around as a buzzword; the freedom to live your life with the certainty that forces beyond your control won't take away everything you have and everything you are.

On The Notion Of "crisis"
July 05, 2007

by Sanford Levinson A number of readers of my previous contribution to Open University have chastised me, some quite severely, for using the words "constitutional crisis" to describe the commutation by George W. Bush of I. Lewis ("Scotter") Libby. Part of me is tempted simply to plead guilty to engaging in a case of blogger's hyperbole and let it go at that.

A Rededication
July 05, 2007

by Eric Rauchway E. L. Doctorow, on our founding texts and what we owe them, via Rorty, Dewey, and Whitman: When the ancient Hebrews broke their covenant they suffered a loss of identity and brought disaster on themselves.

A Constitutional Crisis
July 03, 2007

by Sanford Levinson I cannot restrain myself from offering some comment on the President's commutation of I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby's prison sentence. There are so many things that one might say: The most obvious point is that Mr. Bush has been notably uncompassionate in his use of his pardoning power in his first six-years in office; moreover, as Governor of Texas he exhibited almost blithe disregard--enabled, to be sure, by his lawyer Alberto ("Fredo") Gonzales--of the poor wretches condemned to die under a notably slipshod system of Texas criminal justice.

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.

The Value Of Religious Convictions
June 29, 2007

by Alan Wolfe In the current TNR I have a review essay on Russell Kirk. In passing I mention that Kirk, although insisting that religion serve as a pillar of society, never bothered to select out any one religion for the task. Against this, I wrote, "give me Father Neuhaus any time; when he defends the need for religion in the public square, you are not left in doubt about which religion it is." Or is not. As if on cue, Fr.

Liberty Versus Equality
June 28, 2007

by Robert Brustein The latest conflict in the academy between freedom of expression and ethnic and sexual diversity took place at Vassar College recently when minority students called for the banning of a school newspaper called "The Imperialist" because it criticized the creation of special social centers for minority and gay students.