All Three Branches are Up for Grabs

With the sudden passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the United States has lost a great justice and a Great Dissenter. The Supreme Court has known only a few Great Dissenters, so called not only for their contrarianism but for the ultimate triumph of their constitutional commitments. The first was Justice John Marshall Harlan, whose dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson excoriated a segregationist majority for “put[ting] the brand of servitude upon a large class of our fellow citizens, our equals before the law.” The second was Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., whose spirited defense of free speech in Abrams v. United States ultimately became a cornerstone of the Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence. Justice Scalia wrote with the moral clarity of Harlan and the surgical precision of Holmes, but the next presidential election will determine whether his legacy as a Great Dissenter eclipses that of both men.

7
Shares
Google+ Print

All Three Branches are Up for Grabs

Must-Reads from Magazine

An Antidote to American Political Squalor

RIP Paulina Płaksej.

It’s only Monday evening, which means Americans face another full week of political and cultural squalor. For an antidote, consider Paulina Płaksej, who died Sunday, aged 93. Our former COMMENTARY colleague Daniella Greenbaum broke news of Płaksej’s death on Twitter, which alerted me (and many others) to her inspiring life and that of her family, Polish Catholics who fed, hid, and rescued Jews during the Holocaust.

13
Shares
Google+ Print

Conservatism’s Contradictions

Ted Cruz channels the right's id.

Ted Cruz thought he had Beto O’Rourke right where he wanted him. Without commentary, Cruz tweeted a video of his Democratic rival expressing outrage over the killing of Botham Shem Jean–an African-American man shot dead in his own apartment by an off-duty police officer.

9
Shares
Google+ Print

PODCAST: Can We Judge Kavanaugh Fairly?

Podcast: Kavanaugh and Rosenstein.

Can you take what we say about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh seriously considering we’re conservatives and he’s a conservative? Are we defending him because we are genuinely discomfited by how insubstantial the allegations against him are, or are we doing so because we agree with him ideologically? We explore this on today’s podcast. Give a listen.

6
Shares
Google+ Print

But She Fights

A Trump of their own.

There were many arguments for opposing Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency, but the retort usually boiled down to a single glib sentence: “But he fights.”

29
Shares
Google+ Print

Politicians Need Free Speech Too

A lesson from Finland.

High-ranking politicians are entitled to freedom of speech and conscience. That shouldn’t be a controversial statement, but it often is, especially in European countries where the range of acceptable views is narrow–and narrowing. Just ask Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, who spent the summer fighting off an investigation into his participation at an anti-abortion vigil in Canada. On Friday, Soini survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament over the issue.

21
Shares
Google+ Print