Supreme Court

Regrets Only
April 30, 1990

Although I have no special desire to be governor of Texas, and would actively prefer not to become head of the Office of Thrift Supervision (the poor soul charged with cleaning up the savings and loan mess), the traumas of aspirants to these posts in recent days compel me to make the following statement. It has been cleared with political consultants of both parties. Like many members of my generation—Senator Al Gore and Representative Newt Gingrich, to name but two—I too have experimented with marijuana in the distant past. It was in a party situation during my freshman year in college.

Roboflop
October 31, 1988

Despite his pee-pants performance in the Omaha debate against Lloyd Bentsen, it looks as if Dan Quayle, 41, will be president one of these days. Consider the politico-actuarial probabilities. Assuming the Republican lead endures, the junior senator from Indiana will be elected vice president. This alone will give him an even chance of becoming president. Three out of the last five presidents were vice president first. Seven out of the last ten vice presidents have ended up heading a national ticket, and four (five if you presumptively count George Bush) got all the way to the Oval Office.

Courting Rituals
February 01, 1988

Even in the context of the Supreme Court tussles that have provided political entertainment since at least the 1930s, the 1987 saga of Robert Bork, Douglas Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy broke new ground. What made the play rougher this time was the heightened consciousness of the power stakes, a more aggressive deployment of the interest groups, and a great sophistication in media use. If the overworked term “watershed” still conveys some meaning, it applies here to the future direction of confirmation politics.

Holden Caulfield Goes To Law School
March 09, 1987

What should we make of Salinger's attempt to block publication of a slim biography?

Warren Court Children
May 19, 1986

MANY OF MY friends, if they are still in legal practice, now hate it. “The world’s most overrated job,” one of them says. Lined up at motion calls: a lost generation, the Warren Court baby boom, the flood of us who went to law school in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We took Tocqueville seriously, and thought lawyers were America’s governing class. And the Warren Court was a Court of gods—Black, Douglas, Warren—hurling thunderbolts to start our cultural revolutions. Back then, the law seemed like a romance.

A New Deal Hero
July 01, 1985

Harold Ickes of the New Deal by Graham White and John Maze (Harvard University Press, 263 pp., $20) The title of this book gives the reader hope that the authors will open a window on the idealism, the accomplishments, and the significance of the people who made up the Roosevelt administration. But that hope quickly dims. The book presents only a minuscule part of the story of the New Deal that transformed the stark capitalism of the 1920s into the welfare state of the 1930s.

The Decline of Oratory
May 28, 1984

The fault is in the speakers, and in the hearers, too.

Celebrating Dr. King's Birthday
January 30, 1984

In his belated support for a day honoring Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan predictably recalled the man as an inspiring—and innocuous—advocate of good will, brotherhood, and harmony. Such a carefully cropped portrait of Dr. King has gained wide popularity, perhaps because it enables the nation to create a comforting icon out of the career of a political iconoclast.

The Campaign Reform Failure
September 05, 1983

THE UNITED STATES invented modern democracy and has practiced it longer and more successfully than any other nation. For all its flaws, it works remarkably well. While mediating among the jumbled interests of a geographically, ethnically, racially, religiously, and economically diverse nation, it has preserved both freedom and stability. When asked about their political leaders, Americans {according to public opinion polls) often hold their noses.

Staying Out of the Trenches
March 01, 1980

Shortly after President Carter announced on February 8 his proposal to register women along with men for a draft, debate over the gender of the registrants had driven all sorts of strange bedfellows into the opposition camp.

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