Wednesday, September 28, 2016
What We Talk About When We Talk About "Stop and Frisk"
Inequality, Inclusion, and Populism after the Election
K. Sabeel Rahman
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
JeffreyToobin, "In the Balance"
Monday, September 26, 2016
Presidential Tax Returns and the Constitution
Gerard N. Magliocca
A significant criticism of Donald Trump is that he has not released his tax returns (which I'm sure are amazing and fantastic if only we could see them). There has been a convention in recent decades that presidential candidates should release their tax returns. Why? Because Richard Nixon was accused of tax evasion while he was President. I'm not a tax expert, but my understanding is that Nixon took questionable deductions (one was for donating his vice-presidential papers) that got him in trouble.
Friday, September 23, 2016
A Perfect Constitutional Storm
Events of the past decade (should) have made us aware that low-probability events can, nonetheless, take place and test the resilience of systems, whether US banking or levees in New Orleans, that essentially translate "low-probabity" into "never." So consider the following possibilities, which may indeed be low-probability but are by no means impossible:
Thursday, September 22, 2016
The Scalia Legacy and the Overton Park Meme
On two occasions in the last month, I've been present when speakers discussing Justice Scalia's legacy have anchored their praise for Scalia's textualism by pointing to a famous West Publishing headnote from Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe, 401 U.S. 402 (1971). The point of adducing the Overton Park headnote, for both speakers, was to say that in the pre-Scalia age, the Supreme Court cared relatively little -- perhaps comically little -- about enacted text. And in that light, Scalia's crusade for textualism was about the restoration of a bit of sanity.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Lupu, Tuttle, and Singling Out Religion
Monday, September 19, 2016
Gerard N. Magliocca
One of Donald Trump's campaign promises is to renegotiate NAFTA (into a more amazing and fantastic agreement, no doubt). Here's a simple question that should get some attention: Can he abrogate NAFTA without an Act of Congress? If NAFTA were a traditional treaty (approved by two-thirds of the Senate), then the answer would be yes. The Supreme Court long ago held that it's up to the President alone to decide whether treaties should be, in effect, broken.
Birtherism as Faux-Constitutionalism: A Tale of Two Cities
Friday, September 16, 2016
Will the United States survive the 2016 election (continuing)
UPDATE: I think it's probably correct, as suggested by some of the discussants, that it may be excessive to suggest that tall of the "majority" of those who did not vote for Clinton--i.e., the sum of Trump, Johnson, and Stein voters--will regard her as "illegitimate." (I'm not willing, incidentally, to make the same concession with regard to those who do not vote for Trump: i.e., I do suspect that a majority of the country will regard a Trump presidency as illegitimate.) But I'm not sure that's such a major concession. The key question is what percentage of rabid Trump supporters--whether or not we wish to label them "deplorable" (more on that below)--will regard her as illegitimate. And I continue to believe that the number/percentage will be high enough to threaten basic political stability, especially given the threats.hints of violence encouraged by Governor Biven and the sociopathic candidate for the presidency. After all, there's no reason at all to believe that a "majority" of those living in the colonies believed that King George III was an illegitimate tyrant even in 1776, nor a "majority" who supported the Bolsheviks over the Mensheviks, and we know that Hitler did not receive the support of a majority of Germans when he gained control of the German government in 1933. Great events (or catastrophes) often, perhaps usually, take place because of intense minorities who are "mad as hell and aren't going to take it any more," i.e, those whipped up by the sociopath. The irony/paradox is that the majority who would properly regard a Trump presidency as illegitimate are not inclined to engage in violence. That may or may not be thought to be a compliment. It is the right, over the past quarter century, that has blown up federal buildings, occupied federal lands, and organized "militias" to overthrow what they deem to be an oppressive state. The American left, presuming it really exists as an organized entity, is by and large satisfied with engaging in dramatic marches and expressions of woe rather than genuine political organization. And, of course, unlike the Right, some of whose members, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott, are willing to connect the dots and suggest significant constitutional reform (from their perspective), the so-called left continues to engage in Constitution-worship and resolute unwillingness to connect any dots (see, e.g., the Sanders campaign and its ultimate cult of personality).
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Presidential governance -- the political foundations of judicial review in the emerging constitutional regime
For the purposes of this post, assume that the Democrats win the White House in November. If this happens, they will have won the popular vote in six of the last seven elections, and the presidency in five of the last seven.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Will the United States survive the 2016 election (a continuing series)
I was struck last week in Philadelphia, in several conversations at the APSA convention, with the relative complacency about the prospect of a Trump victory. To be clear, no one I spoke to doubted that he was dangerously narcissistic sociopath or otherwise came even close to finding him a reasonable choice for President. And the general mood was certainly one of denial that Trump could in fact win; all of us were taking solace in the NYTimes' then-90% probability estimate (since lowered to "only" 80%) of a Clinton victory. Rather, when asked what Clinton would/should do if the sociopath won, the answer seemed to be some version of "she should be a good sport--and presumably good American, like Al Gore--and concede graciously," whatever exactly that would mean. When I demurred, suggesting that his election would simply be catastrophic and that there was no reason at all to accept it graciously, the reasonable question was asked of me: what did I envision as the alternative? Taking up arms? A military coup? Or, as I have written several times, a secessionist movement led by Pacifica and New England (plus New York) that would reasonably state that they had no desire any longer to be part of a country that would place a sociopath in its highest office. All, to be sure, sound either fanciful or out-and-out dangerous (or, to some, lunatic). But exactly why is it less dangerous or lunatic to accept without question the legitimacy of a Trump presidency? Especially if it is procured by voter suppression in North Carolina and Texas, to name only the two most rabidly Republican states that are determined to limit the participation of Democratic voters?
On the Metaphor "Grading on a Curve"
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Justice Scalia's Legacy
Last week at the American Political Science Association, I gave a talk on a panel on Justice Scalia's legacy. This is a summary of my remarks.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Political History is alive and well, and matters more than ever
Mary L. Dudziak
Since Mark Graber discussed yesterday’s New York Times op-ed
about the alleged death of political history, and explained the he and others
in political science are still deeply engaged in it, I thought I’d share how
historians reacted. I was greeted with a tweet yesterday morning from historian
Claire Potter who said, to me and others: “According to the @nytimes we don’t
exist.” The twitterverse then ricocheted with criticism of the oped.
Monday, August 29, 2016
Rumors of Our Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
The New York Times editorial page today announced the death of political history. This may well be true of history departments, but the more accurate statement is that political history has migrated from history to political science. As this week's American Political Science Association convention demonstrates, prominent senior (think Sandy, Rogers Smith, Steve Skowronek, Karen Orren, etc.), mid-career (think Julie Novkov, Keith Whittington, Pamela Brandwein, etc.), and younger (think Emily Zackin, Anna Law, Mariah Zeisberg, Eric Lomazoff, etc.) are all engaged in what might be considered political history (and profuse apologies to the numerous friends not named). There may be a lot to be said about what happens when political history is done by political scientists rather than historians (we call it "political development"), but calling the field dead is confusing what may be happening in one discipline with what is not happening in the academy at large.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
More on the University of Chicago letter on “trigger warnings” [II]
Saturday, August 27, 2016
More on the University of Chicago letter on "safe spaces" [I]
Friday, August 26, 2016
University Speech and "Safe Spaces
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Brexit, Farage, Mississippi, and secession
As the New Yorker reports, the narcissistic sociopath running for President on the Republican ticket brought Nigel Farage, the former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and a major proponent of Brexit, to Mississippi to rally the troops for the candidate (who has repeatedly praised Brexit and the spirit of restoring self-government ostensibly behind it). Given that there is no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Trump has the slightest knowledge of American history,which would require reading a book (even several books), he is presumably ignorant of the fact that the most immediate implication of Brexit for American audiences is the legitimacy secession of states from the United States itself. That might, of course, continue to have some appeal to at least some of the angry white audiences who find the sociopath appealing.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
The Greatest Constitutional Protestant of the Twenty-First Century