July 09, 2007

What We've Missed About The Supreme Court

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?

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.

July 06, 2007

Thompson And Abortion

A big scoop in the Los Angeles Times: It seems that in the early 1990s, Fred Thompson accepted lobbying work on behalf of a family-planning group. At the time, the organization was urging the Bush 41 White House to loosen a rule that forbade abortion counseling at federally funded clinics. More: Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo adamantly denied that Thompson worked for the family planning group.

July 05, 2007

On The Notion Of "crisis"

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.

July 03, 2007

Street Fighting Men

Islamabad--Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the strategist and brains behind the Taliban-inspired movement that has taken over the Pakistani capital in recent months, may have overplayed his hand. On June 23, just after midnight, a squad of Islamist vigilantes set out from Ghazi's Lal Masjid, or "Red Mosque," in the direction of a Chinese massage parlor across town.

A Constitutional Crisis

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.

July 02, 2007

In Today's Web Magazine

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.

Warmed Over
12:00 AM

John Dingell, the 80-year-old Michigan representative, watches me gaily as I gaze at the rows of antlered stags and snarling boar mounted on the walls of his Rayburn office. The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee tells me he shot the decor himself: a disquieting fact, no doubt, to the environmental activists who know that--since he is shepherding a big energy bill through the House this year--the future of the Earth rests in his hands.

The End of the Journey
12:00 AM

I. In late 1988, when I set out to write a life of Whittaker Chambers,the cold war had reached its ceremonial endgame: Mikhail Gorbachevacknowledging the autonomy of peoples long after they had liberatedthemselves, valiant students halting tank columns in TiananmenSquare. It was an impressive, if occasionally hollow, spectacle,and it inspired a chorus of sweeping pronouncements in the UnitedStates.

Parent Trap
12:00 AM

Jon Cohn on how Mitt Romney un-became his father.