The Problem with Symbolic Legislation

This essay by Ronald J. Krotoszynski Jr. makes the relatively uncontroversial point that the laws recently passed in Idaho and Oklahoma banning the teaching of critical race theory in public colleges and universities are unconstitutional. Both a veritable mountain of Supreme Court precedent along with constitutional common sense suggest that this would be the case. A serious commitment to public education is simply incompatible with legislation that directs what can and cannot be taught. Although Krotoszynski cites a long history of Supreme Court precedent suggesting that’s the case, I think most of us would know this simply by consulting our … Continue reading The Problem with Symbolic Legislation

Can’t Congress Expel Her?

Greg Weiner’s last post suggests that Marjorie Taylor Greene should be stripped of her committee assignments. I wonder why Congress couldn’t go one step further. Article I, Section 5 says: “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.” I honestly don’t know much about the history of this clause: i.e. how often has it been used? how do constitutional lawyers regard the legitimacy of its use, etc.). But why can’t it be used now? If there was ever a good time for its … Continue reading Can’t Congress Expel Her?

Stripping Marjorie Taylor Greene of Her Committees Would Punish Her Constituents. Good.

Because she showed no signs of interest in legislating anyway, the House of Representatives’ forthcoming vote to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments is largely symbolic — which is fine; symbols should matter to self-governing peoples. Still, Greene is not wanting for platforms for her demagoguery, so the move will probably not much punish her. What it will do is punish her constituents, who will lose leverage in the forums where routine, transactional politics occurs. That is a good thing. They, not just she, should be accountable for her behavior. Holding voters responsible is essential to the … Continue reading Stripping Marjorie Taylor Greene of Her Committees Would Punish Her Constituents. Good.