TPM Cafe: Opinion

Back in September, well before the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, I wrote a TPM Café article in which I called the future composition of the Supreme Court the most important civil rights cause of our time. “It is more important than racial justice, marriage equality, voting rights, money in politics, abortion rights, gun rights, or managing climate change. It matters more because the ability to move forward in these other civil rights struggles depends first and foremost upon control of the Court.” When I wrote those words, I feared that those on the left would not see these stakes, but now that Justice Scalia’s death has brought them into sharp relief, the next question is: What to do next? And the answer is the same as in all struggles for civil rights: popular protests and peaceful demonstrations.

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In August 1983, a year after the Lebanon War ended not-as-planned, Israel’s then-Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, retired from politics and, in effect, was not heard from again; many accounts described him as having sunk into a deep depression, which hardly abated until his death. The reasons for a collapse of this kind are never just political: Begin’s beloved wife Aliza had died; he was then put on a regimen of steroids to cope with a heart condition, which exacerbated his shattering grief. He had always been tortured by having left his family behind in Warsaw at the start of the war, by memories of the Gulag, by the bloody work of the Irgun underground in Palestine. He earned great sadness honestly.

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This post was originally published at Election Law Blog.

Justice Antonin Scalia has died in Texas at the age of 79. Let me begin with condolences to his family, friends, and former clerks who were fiercely loyal to him (and he to them). Whatever you thought of Justice Scalia’s politics and jurisprudence, he was an American patriot, who believed in the greatness of the United States and in the strength of American courts to protect the Constitution’s values as he has seen them. He also wrote the most entertaining and interesting opinions of any Justice on the Court.

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I just cast an absentee ballot for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). His grumpiness reminds me so much of Irving Howe on a bad day that not voting for him would be more or less unthinkable. I am grateful to him, if only for making the name Bernie less uncool. But everyone from my wife to The Washington Post has been trying to talk sense to me. I owe them an explanation.

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Very few things are able to bring together the left and right in contemporary American politics, but Donald Trump’s proposal to halt all Muslim immigration (and tourism) to the United States seems to have done just that.

Every presidential contender on both sides of the aisle condemned the proposal immediately and absolutely. Jeb Bush tweeted that “Donald Trump is unhinged.” Martin O’Malley argued that the proposal “removes all doubt” that Trump “is running for President as a fascist demagogue." Carly Fiorina called the proposal “a dangerous overreaction.” Hillary Clinton said it was “reprehensible, prejudiced, and divisive."

New Hampshire GOP chair Jennifer Horn called the proposal “un-Republican, unconstitutional, and un-American.”

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A small but dangerous group of Islamic extremists, operating out of the shadows of brutal dictatorships and striking out at the international community. Multiple undeclared wars over more than a decade that entangle the United States against this group and its allies and occasion rhetoric about the clash of religions and civilizations—rhetoric that a presidential administration is quick to counter with clarity and force. Refugees fleeing these war-torn Muslim nations in search of a new start and better life in America. The turn of the 19th century sure sounds familiar—and has a great deal to teach us here in the 21st.

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Just hours after claiming victory in a GOP presidential undercard debate in Wisconsin, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie found himself at the center of a new set of legal filings in the seemingly never-ending federal Bridgegate case involving three of his former top aides and appointees.

Among the revelations found in discovery motions filed by attorneys for former Port Authority deputy executive director Bill Baroni and onetime Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly are that David Wildstein, the government’s chief witness against the two, took a hard drive from Baroni’s Port Authority computer with him when he left the agency in December 2013. He subsequently turned it over to prosecutors in the office of U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman.

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