From the Left



No Backlash, Mr. Chief Justice

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Writing a judicial opinion can be like fencing. One of the most effective ways to jab at an opponent is to use his -- or her -- words to make your own case.

Thus, Chief Justice John Roberts, warning in the same-sex marriage case about the harmful results of the court's intervention:

"There will be consequences to shutting down ...Read more

Justice Roberts' Constitutional Consistency

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Chief Justice John Roberts knew a torrent of conservative invective was headed his way, so perhaps praise from a left-of-center columnist is the last thing he needs.

Sorry, chief, here goes.

Roberts saved the Affordable Care Act, a second time, for the man who voted against confirming him. It was the right decision, a wise one, ...Read more

Nearing The End, Obama Finds Candor

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Forget all the focus on the one ugly word President Obama used. Pay attention, instead, to the rest of the words in his podcast interview. They offer a remarkable self-portrait of a president in the second half of his second term, both chastened and liberated.

I must confess a sniffy preference for presidential sit-downs with ...Read more

Fixing the Presidential Debates

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- The sloping red line offers a sobering prognosis for American democracy. Contained in a new report on improving the presidential debate process, it charts the precipitous decline of viewership: from above 60 percent of the voting age population in 1960, when the first televised debates were held, to under 30 percent in 2012.

In ...Read more

Clinton's Two-Step On Trade

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- On Saturday, I was impressed with Hillary Clinton. On Sunday, I was disappointed. Something tells me that the rest of this presidential campaign is going to be more of the same roller coaster.

First, the peak. Clinton's roll-out speech laid out an overarching rationale for her candidacy -- as a fighter for the middle class. She ...Read more

A Cry for Help From the FEC

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- It has come to this: The chairman of the Federal Election Commission and a fellow Democratic commissioner have filed a petition asking their own agency to do its job.

Don't hold your breath.

It's not news that the campaign finance system is out of control. It's not news that the FEC has watched, haplessly, as candidates and their...Read more

The 'Stress Cost' of the Empty Next

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- "The Stress Cost of Children."

It's all in the headline -- or, in the case of academic papers, the title -- and this one, released recently by the National Bureau of Economic Research, somehow was more alluring than its competitors coming to my attention: "Does Exporting Improve Matching? Evidence from French Employer-Employee ...Read more

For Prosecutors, Two Questionable Calls

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Not every bad act is a crime. Not every bad act that can technically be categorized as a crime should be pursued by prosecutors. And not every bad act that clearly amounts to a crime should be pursued by prosecutors in the United States.

Those thoughts are sparked by the recent indictments of international soccer officials on ...Read more

Candidates, What Do You Propose?

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- It's far too early in the campaign season to bemoan the absence of serious policy proposals from the presidential candidates -- but not too soon to set out some parameters of what those proposals, whatever the candidate's ideology, should be expected to address.

Issues of character and judgment matter, whether they involve Hillary...Read more

Clinton's Compulsive Speechifying

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Again with the speeches. The gross excessiveness of it all, vacuuming up six-figure checks well past the point of rational need or political seemliness. The ceaseless drip of information that ought to have already been released, now being presented with a self-serving back pat over transparency.

I wasn't planning to write, again, ...Read more

Bogus Case Against the Trade Deal

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- One of the most seemingly compelling arguments against the free trade legislation now before Congress turns out to be largely bogus.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), opponents contend, is being hammered out behind closed doors, a backroom deal rigged in favor of corporate interests. While the public is kept in the dark, this ...Read more

The Proof is In The Answers

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Let us talk about answering hypothetical questions, gotcha-type questions and no questions at all. That is, let us talk about Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton.

Bush first flubbed his answer Monday to a question from Fox News' Megyn Kelly about the war in Iraq.

Kelly: "Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized...Read more

A Woman Unqualified to Be President

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- How depressing is it that, out of the more than a dozen announced or prospective Republican candidates for president in 2016, only one, Carly Fiorina, is a woman. Even more depressing: that Fiorina, as long-shot as her candidacy is, would not be taken even semi-seriously were it not for her gender.

This is a tough and ...Read more

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- The quarterback arrived at Salem State University by helicopter to adoring, cheering crowds. "Most famous witch hunt victims in Salem?" read one sign. "Bridget Bishop. Rebecca Nurse. Tom Brady."

Oh please. I don't care much about football in general or Deflategate in particular. At least I hadn't until Wednesday's report ...Read more

Bill Clinton's Damaging Self-Defense

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Oh, Bill. There you go again. We knew you were going to pop off, but did it have to be so soon -- and so tone-deaf?

The Clinton deal is "two for the price of one," as Bill Clinton famously promised in 1992. But 23 years later, that bargain comes with different baggage attached.

Then it was the intimations of Hillary Clinton as co...Read more

Our Toxic Status Quo

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Today's topic is toxic substances and the appalling gaps in the current law that is supposed to protect the public from dangerous chemicals.

For example, before a new chemical enters the market, the manufacturer must demonstrate its safety and the substance must win approval from federal regulators, right?

Not even close.

When ...Read more

Baltimore's Breach Between Police and Community

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- The anger in Ferguson, Missouri -- even the violence -- was more understandable and, in that sense, less upsetting, than what we have been witnessing in Baltimore this week, in the aftermath of yet another black man dying in police custody.

In Ferguson, the majority African-American community felt aggrieved by its treatment at ...Read more

Donations leave Hillary in a cloud

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- In thinking about donations to the Clinton Foundation from foreign governments and interests, an adage attributed to Benjamin Franklin and a Yiddish word come to mind.

From Franklin -- actually, from Franklin's alter ego, Poor Richard -- comes the saying, "He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas." In foreign policy, ...Read more

Does Tsarnaev Deserve to Die?

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- How should we think about whether Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev deserves the death penalty?

Perhaps you oppose the death penalty in all cases, on the grounds that state-sanctioned homicide is wrong, that it diminishes the moral authority of the state and its citizens. As Pope John Paul II said in 1999, expressing the ...Read more

Green Shoots of Bipartisanship

From the Left / Ruth Marcus /

WASHINGTON -- Could this city actually be working? The past week has witnessed several developments -- on the Iran nuclear agreement, Medicare reimbursement rates, and fast-track trade authority -- that offer grounds, if not for irrational exuberance, then for tempered optimism.

Emphasis on tempered. Legislative gridlock has not magically ...Read more

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