September 20, 1993
The envelope, please
In the mail, a broadside from the Heritage Foundation. Nothing special about that. Like many Washington journalists, I get two or three missives a day from Washington's leading conservative "think tank." They come in a profusion of categories, with somewhat less variety in themes: Heritage Foundation News ("ECONOMIST CALLS CLINTON ECONOMIC PLAN DISHONEST, DECEPTIVE"); Heritage Foundation Backgrounder ("ADVANTAGE INCUMBENTS: CLINTON'S CAMPAIGN FINANCE PROPOSAL."); Issue Bulletin ("SIX REASONS WHY BILL CLINTON'S NATIONAL SERVICE PROGRAM IS A BAD IDEA"); Executive Memorandum ("RUSH!
Now that he's back from his vacation, Bill Clinton can expect confirmation trouble once again. This lime the fuss is over Morton Halperin, nominated to fill the new position of assistant secretary of defense for democracy and peacekeeping. Conservatives, sensing Borkability, are gearing up for a light they hope will damage the president, regardless of the outcome.
August 02, 1993
The Book Of Ruth
A few days alter the president nominated her to the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg received a fax from a member of the Rotary Club in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
July 13, 1993
"It is going to be impossible to defeat you in the Senate, because you have a way with words," Orrin Hatch told Sheldon Hackney during his confirmation hearings to head the National Endowment for the Humanities. Hatch was putting it mildly. Hackney's sins are not limited to his sophisms about the conflict between "openness and diversity" at the University of Pennsylvania. He should also be held accountable for defending speech codes a full year after the Supreme Court made clear that they are unconstitutional.
July 05, 1993
TNR lauds President Clinton's choice of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for Supreme Court Justice.
In every Supreme Court term, there is at least one case that tests, and vividly exposes, the character of the justices. Last year it was abortion; this year it is hate crimes. The outcome of Wisconsin v. Mitchell--which upheld a law that requires harsher sentences for criminals who "intentionally select" their victims "because of race, religion" and the like--was never really in doubt. But instead of being sensitive to the intricate First Amendment concerns that the case raised, William Rehnquist dismissed them contemptuously.
Love and Haiti
Amy Wilentz: Can Aristide come home now?
June 28, 1993
Banking on Bruce
If Bill Clinton nominates Bruce Babbitt to the Supreme Court, he will be hard-pressed to claim that the interior secretary shares his judicial philosophy. For after reviewing Babbitt's extensive writings and speeches, the White House is confident that Babbitt has virtually no opinions on constitutional issues that he has bothered to express. For most politicians, this would be unexceptional; but in Babbitt's case it is somewhat surprising.
June 21, 1993
Having peered behind the red velvet curtains of the Rehnquist Court, the press now tells the embarrassed justices that they have nothing to be embarrassed about. But after spending last week in the Marshall archives, I sympathize with William Rehnquist's fears. The portrait of the justices that emerges from their internal correspondence is not, in fact, particularly flattering.
June 14, 1993
A Womb with a View
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.