Supreme Court

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.

Protégé Power
April 07, 1979

Even if you’ve never heard of such a thing as a special assistant, you probably have seen one or two of them. When a cabinet secretary or some other great man of government is shown on the evening news testifying before a congressional committee, you usually can see an earnest-looking and well-turned-out young man or woman positioned behind and slightly to the right of him, who whispers in his ear or passes a note every now and then. That’s his special assistant.

Get a Horse
July 09, 1977

It is not good for representative government to have any one class, however distinguished, overrepresented in government. The rich are overrepresented now, and unless something is done the imbalance favoring the rich in Congress and in high government positions will increase. The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974, as amended after the Supreme Court found it defective on at least two major constitutional points, was more than just an insurance policy for the incumbent parties, the Republicans and the Democrats. It also was a rich man's license to hunt in the fields of politics.

TRB from Washington: Matters for Mencken
July 09, 1977

How H.L. Mencken would have skipped his paunchy knee and twinkled his china-blue eyes in cynical rapture over the Neutron bomb as another example of human folly. Really, the thing is wasted without Mencken around. The Neutron bomb, you see, is small, it's "clean"; it's teensy-weensy; it's a cutrate H-bomb that kills all the people in the neighborhood with radiation but lacks the punch to destroy buildings. How economical. What a weapon tor cleaning out cities. And what a plaything for the generals. At last we have invented a humane bomb: humane to buildings.

Profit Without Honor
May 07, 1977

One of the roots of the confusion of the American press about its proper role lies in the kind of privileges it now thinks it can claim. There is and there can be, for example, no "right to know," the most ludicrous of claims for the press to make.

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