For progressive lawyers, time for a new message

April 25, 2005
Two weeks ago, many of the finest legal thinkers in the country gathered at Yale Law School to discuss the Constitution in 2020. Their task, as conference participant David Boies put it, was to come up with a compelling progressive vision of the Constitution. Opposition to originalism — at least as practiced by contemporary conservatives »

The route to a progressive Constitution, with a stop in the Elm City

April 4, 2005
During the final year of the Reagan Administration, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy published two remarkable documents. One, titled “The Constitution in the Year 2000,” described important Supreme Court decisions in 15 constitutional areas, and discussed various paths that the Court might take in the future. For instance, the Court might grasp »

Dems’ bind: give Bush credit on Middle East?

March 21, 2005
For many people who opposed President Bush’s re-election, myself included, foreign policy was the single most important reason for our opposition. We believed that Bush had led the nation to war on false pretenses, by fabricating (or at least greatly exaggerating) the danger posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. We were convinced that the »

Do today’s Ivies live up to their reputations?

February 21, 2005
My friend Ross Douthat has a column in the current Atlantic Monthly about his experience as an undergraduate at Harvard. According to Douthat, college life at Harvard and other elite universities is marked by two features. The first is the ascendance of the meritocrats. The students at today’s Harvard (or Yale, or any of the »

On foreign policy may, take a left to go right

February 7, 2005
What will world politics look like over the next few decades? Will the United States be able to retain the dominant geopolitical position that it currently enjoys? The National Intelligence Council, a CIA-affiliated research group, recently published a report that attempts to answer these questions. Titled “Mapping the Global Future,” the report draws on the »

By way of the Supreme Court, a death sentence for fair sentencing

January 24, 2005
Imagine that Johnny, hard up on cash, decides to rob a bank along with a few buddies. While his associates watch the doors and man the getaway car, Johnny marches to the teller and demands all of the bank’s money. Terrified, the teller opens the vault, retrieves $1 million and hands the money to Johnny. »

Post-election, time to rethink redistricting

November 29, 2004
America’s electoral system has many features that its backers would call quirks, but that its critics would describe as grave flaws. The Electoral College focuses presidential candidates’ money and attention on a handful of contested “swing states.” Each state comes up with its own unique ballot design and vote-counting method. Spending on commercials spirals inexorably »

Getting the real America to the voting booth

November 8, 2004
Once it became clear that President Bush had been re-elected, the soul-searching and backbiting began almost immediately within the Democratic Party. Some characterized the party’s message as more of an attack on the president than a compelling vision of what the Democrats would do if they controlled the White House. Others bemoaned the Republicans’ advantage »

Exorcism in the Bay State, on field and off

October 25, 2004
Growing up in Boston, I learned at an early age the iron laws of Massachusetts baseball and politics. The Red Sox never win the World Series, and Massachusetts politicians are always thwarted when they run for president. The baseball lesson, the harsher of the two, came first. With the Red Sox cruising through the playoffs »

How candidates play the game says more than any stump speech

October 11, 2004
here are many ways to run a campaign and many ways for a candidate to convince people to vote for him. First, a candidate can defend his record and outline the policies he would advocate if elected. Bill Clinton’s 1992 manifesto, “Putting People First,” for instance, laid out nearly all of his goals for his »

Defending tribunals behind enemy line

September 27, 2004
During my first year at Yale Law, the entire school was abuzz about the War on Terror cases that were then moving up through the federal courts. The first-year “Civil Procedure” courses devoted weeks of class time to issues like whether the president can unilaterally detain people as enemy combatants and whether detainees at Guantanamo »

Athens’ glory tarnished by media’s lack of faith

September 13, 2004
They all said it couldn’t be done. Greece was too small a country to successfully host the Olympics. The stadiums wouldn’t be finished in time. The Greeks were bad, lazy organizers. Even if the Games did go off, poor security meant a terrorist could waltz right in and blow the whole event to smithereens. By »