Bench Memos

A Reversal of Course—in the Right Direction

At Ricochet, legal commentator Adam Freedman, who notes that he “used to buy the federalism argument” against DOMA, now recognizes that it is wrong. As he puts it, “the more I studied it—and searched the scholars’ brief for pearls of wisdom—the less persuaded I became.” I’m also grateful for his acknowledgment of the role of my work in changing his mind.

Many people feel locked in to positions that they initially adopt. It’s a credit to Freedman’s genuine openmindedness (as well as to his sound judgment) that he has changed his position.

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Religion

The Catholic Church’s Rotherham

‘We are deeply saddened.” So begin the many perfunctory statements of many Catholic bishops today in response to the Pennsylvania grand-jury report detailing how priests in that state abused children and how bishops shuffled these priests around. What deeply saddens these men? The rape of children, the ... Read More
Elections

My Journey into the Heart of Obama-Trump Country

After eight years of displeasure with Barack Obama’s presidency, Carla Johnson was ready for a drastic change. The 41-year-old lab technician from Cresco, Iowa, fell for Donald Trump very early in the 2016 primary season. She loved his “take-no-[sh**]” style, his conservative stances on gun control and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Andrew Cuomo Was Never That Great

Governor Cuomo is shouting again. It must be time for reelection. Queen Victoria complained of William Ewart Gladstone that he “speaks to Me as if I was a public meeting.” Andrew Cuomo has the opposite problem: He addresses public meetings as if trying to convince a recalcitrant octogenarian that the fire ... Read More