WASHINGTON -- Preferring verbal felicity to practical wisdom, a character in a Benjamin Disraeli novel quipped, "A majority is always the best repartee." Not really. Open societies that want to remain so should prefer persuasion to raw power, even the power of majorities. Which is why Republican Sen. Jeff Flake served the nation, its highest ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Without being aware of it, Vernon Madison might become a footnote in constitutional law because he is barely aware of anything. For more than 30 years, Alabama, with a tenacity that deserves a better cause, has been trying to execute him for the crime he certainly committed, the 1985 murder of a police officer. Twice the state ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- When John Keats said that autumn is the season of "mists and mellow fruitfulness," he did not anticipate this American autumn. It resembles the gorier Shakespearean plays in which swords are brandished, people are poisoned and stabbed, almost everyone behaves badly and those who do not are thinking: Things cannot continue like this...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The current era of scorched-earth politics began five years after there was, according to Christine Blasey Ford, in 1982, an alcohol-soaked party in a suburban Washington. There her 15-year-old self was, she says, assaulted by 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, who categorically denies this accusation.
On July 1, 1987, just 45 minutes ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Police came to Kim Brooks' parents' door in suburban Richmond, Virginia, demanding that her mother say where her daughter was or be arrested for obstructing justice. So began a Kafkaesque two-year ordeal that plunged Brooks into reflections about current parenting practices. It also produced a book, "Small Animals: Parenthood in ...Read more
HOUSTON -- Nationally, the Democratic Party, which gave indispensable assistance ("Basket of deplorables"!) to the election of today's president, seems intent ("Impeach!"; "Abolish ICE!"; "Free stuff!", "I am Spartacus!") on a repeat performance. Here, however, in the 7th Congressional District, in what might turn out to be the year's most ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The beginning of another academic year brings the certainty of campus episodes illustrating what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, distinguished professor and venerated politician, called "the leakage of reality from American life." Colleges and universities are increasingly susceptible to intellectual fads and political hysteria, partly ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The assault on civil rights that was mandated by the civil rights division of Barack Obama's Education Department might soon abate. Current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is moving to halt the life-shattering procedures that began in 2011, when the department sent to colleges and universities a "dear colleague" letter: To avoid ...Read more
"To understand the world, you must understand a place like Mississippi."
-- Attributed to William Faulkner
OXFORD, Miss. -- Time was, there was no other American place quite like it. Fifty-six years ago -- a long time in adaptable America's adjustment of its behavior to its creed -- this university town was a few weeks from the U.S. Army's ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Four decades ago, New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, an intellectual Democrat, observed with amazement and regret that Republicans had become the party of ideas. Today, many of America's most interesting arguments divide conservatives. One concerns the judiciary's role in the supervision of democracy: Should judges be, as ...Read more
"Why should we bother to reply to Kautsky?
He would reply to us, and we would have to reply to his reply. There is no end to that. It will be quite enough for us to announce that Kautsky is a traitor to the working class, and everyone will understand everything."
WASHINGTON -- Regarding the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans and Democrats are at daggers drawn over confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Instead, they should unsheathe some questions designed to illuminate the excitement of constitutional reasoning.
The Constitution vests in Congress the power to tax. Presidents, however, unilaterally impose taxes (...Read more
NASHVILLE -- The easternmost bit of Tennessee is east of Atlanta, the westernmost bit is west of New Orleans, and all of this horizontal state is the epicenter of 2018 politics. Its U.S. Senate race will reveal whether, for Republicans, fealty to the president is not only necessary but sufficient, and whether a seasoned, temperate Democrat can ...Read more