Wednesday October 22, 2014
May 4th, 2014
"We are not final because we are infallible," Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson famously observed, "but we are infallible only because we are final."
Now -- actually, six decades later -- comes Justice Antonin Scalia to demonstrate that neither aspect of that aphorism is entirely correct.
Like the rest of us mortals, Scalia, it turns out, is fallible. He made an embarrassing whopper of a mistake in a dissent Tuesday.
Now that the National Basketball Association has banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Don Sterling for life over his racist comments, how about those Washington Redskins?
Sterling is getting punished for insults that he uttered in private. Washington Redskins' owner Dan Snyder insults Native American Indians in public every day that he refuses to change the team's name.
The widespread condemnation of the vile prejudice expressed by a professional-basketball-team owner and a Nevada rancher underscored the progress America has made on race.
There are two majorities in the country right now. One disapproves of President Obama. The other is still inclined to vote Democratic. The key question for the 2014 elections is whether voting this fall -- and Obama's approval ratings -- can come into line with the electorate's broader Democratic leanings?
There is also this: Obama's difficulties do not appear to be hurting Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the presidency in 2016.
This week's announcement that the Justice Department will expand the criteria for offering clemency marks a new, and long overdue, chapter in the politics of crime. Under the new rules, low-level nonviolent offenders who have served at least 10 years of their sentence, have no history of violence either before they went to prison or while serving in prison, and have demonstrated good conduct in prison, will be eligible to seek clemency and be released from prison.
Next November, the Republican Party is banking on the cranky.
Don’t laugh. This appears to be a very good wager.
Good enough to hold onto the U.S. House. Good enough, even, to take the Senate.
Democrats don’t want to acknowledge that possibility, but it is way beyond real, and for two good reasons:
What a month! We have had Fair Pay Day, April 8, the day when women's pay caught up with what men would have made in the twelve month period ending December 31, 2013. Then there was that infamous April 15 date. That one needs no explanation. It is etched in our brains, especially if we expect a tax refund, perhaps even more if we owe. More recently we recognized Earth Day when we supposedly take a long hard look at how we are managing - or not, as the case be - our natural resources.
Twenty years ago, half of America's dozen largest cities had Republican mayors. Today, just one does. Of the 30 largest U.S. cities, 26 have Democratic mayors - the greatest partisan imbalance perhaps since the presidency of James Monroe, when the nation had only one political party.
It probably wouldn't be fair to call it a moment of humility. It was more like a little hitch in the swagger. The man himself would never show that he was awed or intimidated, but even he paused to appreciate the magnitude of what was being done. "The scale of the investment is large," said Russian President Vladimir Putin. "It is scary to utter such huge figures."
To paraphrase Sean Hannity, we're getting awfully far away from the tortoise.
You know that it is a slow week for news when the big story is that a man who thinks he should be allowed to let his cattle graze harmoniously for free on protected federal lands might have some racist opinions. What? Why do we care about his thoughts on race? Why, for that matter, were we listening to him in the first place?