Bench Memos

New Composition of Senate Judiciary Committee

From what I hear, the membership of the Senate Judiciary Committee won’t be changing much. There will continue to be ten Democrats, led by chairman Pat Leahy, and there will continue to be eight Republicans, with Chuck Grassley the ranking member.

On the Democratic side, the only change is that Mazie Hirono, the newly elected senator from Hawaii, will substitute in for the retired Herb Kohl. The other Democratic members remain (in declining order of seniority) Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse, Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, Christopher Coons, and Richard Blumenthal.

On the Republican side, Jon Kyl has, alas, retired, and Tom Coburn is leaving the committee. The two new Republicans are newly elected senators Ted Cruz and Jeff Flake. The other Republican members remain Orrin Hatch, Jeff Sessions, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, and Mike Lee.

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Politics & Policy

March Mailbag

1. In response to this post, about the Fed and fiscal stimulus: “So are you saying that deficit spending is a free lunch because the Fed will keep inflation from happening? You say [extra government spending] won’t ‘raise economic output’ but what’s the harm of it if you’re right?” I see at least ... Read More


For your amusement, I hope, I’ve done a Jaywalking episode. It begins with a bit of the overture to Semiramide -- a Rossini opera I reviewed from the Met last week. Then I get into Russia and, after a while, China. The Marriott company fired an employee for “liking” a tweet by a Tibetan independence group. ... Read More

Campaigns for World Down Syndrome Day Go Viral

As World Down Syndrome Day approaches on Wednesday, several campaigns supporting those with the condition have taken over the Internet. Fifty mothers of children with the condition put together a viral video of them and their children singing along in the car. The video helped the children and their mothers ... Read More

Viva l’Italia?

Italy has just had elections, with very interesting results. I wanted to talk with Alberto Mingardi, which I have. He is one of the leading classical liberals in Italy -- the director general of the Bruno Leoni Institute, in Milan. (Mingardi himself is Milanese.) He is also an authority in arts and letters. In ... Read More