Abusing Grace: Constitutional Subversion in the Presidential Self-Pardon

The end of a presidency is always “the season for presidential pardons.” But, as Adam Carrington identifies in this timely essay, a presidential “self-pardon is different. It is not merely susceptible to abuse; it is an abuse by definition.” Continue reading Abusing Grace: Constitutional Subversion in the Presidential Self-Pardon

Is Trump a Fascist, or “Almost the Complete Opposite”?

Given the discussion on this site (and elsewhere) about the relationship between Trump and fascism, you readers may be interested in this brief interview with Corey Robin in the Jewish Currents newsletter. Robin’s argument – which is interesting even if you find it unpersuasive — is that Trumpism is “almost the complete opposite of fascism.” For Robin, fascism is about the exercise of strength and will, and he sees Trump as an exceptionally weak leader. Continue reading Is Trump a Fascist, or “Almost the Complete Opposite”?

Our Dangerous Moment & The Future of Constitutionalism

We live in exceedingly strange times. But we cannot let that numb us to the fact that we are witnessing a sitting President attempt to overthrow American democracy. And he is being aided by Republicans who know better. There’s a great piece on The Bulwark about Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin. This gist is, he knows the charges of election fraud are a lie. He knows Biden won. But he doesn’t care because he’s got to stand with Trump’s Republicans in Wisconsin. Tim Alberta also has an excellent investigative piece that documents similar happenings in Michigan. This is not normal. … Continue reading Our Dangerous Moment & The Future of Constitutionalism

Michael Flynn meets Alexander Hamilton

Even the Washington Examiner realized this was sedition! Democracies have always died at some point. The Federalists worried that they could never survive because they had never survived. Ours has always depended on certain constitutional norms that insured the peaceful transfer of power. More than anything else, our democracy has avoided the fate of others because we have accepted the constitutional processes that ensure that our regime is based, to use Hamilton’s words, on “reflection and choice” rather than on “accident and force.” The founders’ Constitution separated us from prior democracies because it created institutions through which the democracy could … Continue reading Michael Flynn meets Alexander Hamilton

Our Near Death Experience

You are welcome, New York Times and Susan Rice, for my metaphor and some of my argument. I remind myself of something that Teddy Roosevelt purportedly said: “As long as they are going my way, I don’t care who gets the credit.” He probably did care a little bit, as I do. But we care more that people heed the message.  Click the headline in the post to read the New York Times piece. Here is my version from November 5, a couple of days after the election: Continue reading Our Near Death Experience

Trump’s “Hail Mary” Pass

Is Donald Trump’s strategy of pressuring states in their choice of electors a legitimate “Hail Mary” plan to secure a second term? Dr. Jeffery Tulis thinks not. In this article, Tulis challenges his readers to “engage in a broader constitutional conversation than is common for the judiciary” when thinking about the role of the Electoral College.
Continue reading Trump’s “Hail Mary” Pass

For Real and For Q: Why QAnon Matters

How can so many Americans be sucked in by the conspiracy theory of QAnon? Dr. Susan McWilliams Barndt explains the content of QAnon is crazy, but the feelings of dispossession, frustration and rage that fuel this fire are valid. As McWilliams Brandt identifies, political leaders must thoughtfully “address the rages of our time—rages that, even when expressed in falsehood, tell us something true.” Continue reading For Real and For Q: Why QAnon Matters

The History and Legitimacy of Court Expansion

Is court expansion a legitimate political move? As guest author Thomas Keck explains “proposed alterations in the size of the Supreme Court, like other unorthodox innovations in our governing institutions, are a recurring feature of moments of crisis for U.S. democracy.” In this article, Keck outlines the history of so-called court packing in the U.S. and its relevancy for today. Continue reading The History and Legitimacy of Court Expansion