Richmond

Last night, I had the good fortune to be part of a small gathering of reporters assembled by a quartet of top political scientists who have embarked on an effort to analyze voter opinion in the 2012 election at a level of depth and nuance beyond what we’ve managed in past years. A centerpiece of the effort is their attempt to gauge voter response to the ads that are already crowding the airwaves in battleground states.

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Good Omens

Richmond, Virginia, may be the heart of the old confederacy. But it’s also the place where the federal government eventually indicted Jefferson Davis for treason. A plaque commemorating that event sits outside the entrance to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals—an omen for what transpired inside the courthouse on Tuesday, where three judges considered a pair of lawsuits from Virginians challenging an abuse of federal authority. The alleged abuse in this case is the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The other, more significant omen was the selection of the judges.

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On Tuesday, a panel of federal judges in Richmond, Virginia, will hear the first appeal of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The appeal ties together two cases, including the one filed by Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli that resulted in a decision to invalidate the law's individual mandate. The other lawsuit, brought by Liberty University, failed. Tuesday's case is one of three major appeals cases going forward.

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In proposing to increase state government workers’ payments for their pensions and health insurance (read: cut their pay) and gut their collective bargaining rights, Wisconsin Gov.

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Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787 - 1788 By Pauline Maier (Simon & Schuster, 589 pp., $30) At the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, one of the greatest editorial projects in American history has been under way for nearly thirty-five years. Since 1976, the successive editors of the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution have published twenty-three volumes, and there are at least eight more to come.

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Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America By Peter Biskind (Simon & Schuster, 627 pp., $30)   Warren Beatty has not done a lot for us lately. Town and Country, his last movie, was nine years ago. The absence is such that some of his old associates have concluded that he may be happy at last. But I doubt that such a hope lingered more than a few seconds: Beatty’s entire act has been the epitome of dissatisfaction.

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The Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book, released yesterday, painted a cautiously optimistic portrait of the state of the nation’s economy. The New York Times, reporting on the Beige Book, heralded a “slow and still fragile recovery” that is “taking hold across the country.” But even if the data bear out this anecdotal assessment, don’t think that a robust recovery is going to appear in your metro area anytime soon. Here’s why: In many parts of the country there are few signs of recovery. Of the 12 Federal Reserve districts, only Dallas (covering Texas and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico) re

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Jeffrey Rosen on the tortuous jurisprudence of Antonin Scalia.

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THE GREAT DAY arrives. “I christen thee Western Light!” the woman cries.

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