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David O. Stewart

Entries by David O. Stewart

Is Obama the New Nixon?

(7) Comments | Posted November 9, 2011 | 2:42 PM

Both political parties will cringe at the comparison, but the parallels are mounting between Richard Nixon, Republican president from 1968 to 1974, and the current resident of the White House, Barack Obama.

Start with brains. For raw candlepower, not many presidents have been in a league with...

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Treason on the Cheap

(7) Comments | Posted October 11, 2011 | 6:26 PM

It's called "the king of crimes." In political debate, it can serve as the ace of trumps, an incendiary accusation that appeals to emotion rather than reason. And, like much in our culture, it has been cheapened almost beyond recognition.

Governor Rick Perry of Texas, a Republican...

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The Perils of Nonpartisanship: The Case of Aaron Burr

(2) Comments | Posted September 14, 2011 | 11:21 AM

The polls and the pundits agree that Americans detest the partisanship that nearly melted down the government this summer over the debt ceiling issue. The nation cries out for civil compromise as Republicans and Democrats wrestle over the national steering wheel, seemingly oblivious to economic catastrophe around the next curve....

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Still Looking for Alexander

(3) Comments | Posted April 13, 2011 | 2:42 PM

If good intentions and a lively imagination were all that counted, the documentary Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton, which aired last night on PBS stations, would be a masterwork. Using quirky analogies and explanatory devices of the sort pioneered by Robert Krulwich on NPR many years ago, the...

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Civility: Not a Traditional American Value

(2) Comments | Posted February 10, 2011 | 4:36 PM

President Obama's call for greater civility in our political discourse has great surface appeal. If only we could all reason together quietly and respectfully, the complaint goes, we could make so much more progress on critical challenges like energy policy, climate change, economic recovery, and immigration.

It sounds good, but...

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Porteous Takes On Water

(3) Comments | Posted September 22, 2010 | 5:34 PM

It was only one witness, Professor G. Calvin McKenzie of Colby College, testifying late on Tuesday afternoon. And he was the last witness of the Senate trial proceedings in the impeachment of District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of New Orleans, which will not go to a...

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Playing the Nazi Card

(11) Comments | Posted August 18, 2010 | 10:53 PM

Always ready to throw kerosene on a cultural blaze, Republican quote-meister Newt Gingrich has decreed that those sponsoring a mosque in lower Manhattan are like Nazis.

"Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the holocaust museum in Washington," Gingrich insisted. So, explains...

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The Porteous Articles

(2) Comments | Posted June 11, 2010 | 10:06 AM

In August, when the Senate begins the impeachment trial of District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of New Orleans, it will confront an unattractive saga of misconduct by the judge, including accepting money from lawyers appearing before him, ignoring conflicts of interest, and repeatedly not being truthful.

The Senate's "trial...

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How Would You Change the Constitution?

(66) Comments | Posted May 13, 2010 | 5:54 PM

Americans supposedly embraced change in the 2008 election, but we have devoted little effort to the most fundamental political change we can adopt: amending the Constitution. In 223 years under the Constitution, we have amended it only twenty-seven times. With the approach of May 25, the anniversary of beginning of...

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No Way To Treat a Judge

(4) Comments | Posted March 15, 2010 | 5:04 PM

Not everything in the Constitution works as it should. Federal District Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr., of New Orleans is learning, and the Senate will soon be reminded, that the removal of lower court judges by impeachment fails all the participants in the process.

The House of Representatives unanimously...

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The Beijing Amendment To The Constitution

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2009 | 6:06 PM

Is the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution all that stands between us and even gloomier economic times?

With China holding $800 billion of United States government debt, President Obama's trip to Beijing was described as a visit to the nation's banker. Indeed, the Chinese hold more than ten percent of...

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A Bad Lawsuit Over Impeachment

(9) Comments | Posted November 17, 2009 | 1:07 PM

For over a year, a panel of the House of Representatives has been thinking about impeaching District Judge Thomas Porteous of New Orleans. Deciding that the best defense is a good offense, the judge sued the panel, demanding an order that the impeachment investigation cannot consider sworn testimony that...

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Impeachment to the Rescue . . . Again!

(0) Comments | Posted August 31, 2009 | 5:40 AM

With a new clamor to impeach and remove the Republican governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, the question arises of whether this peculiarly American form of executive decapitation is an essential constitutional safety valve or an anti-democratic shortcut that is too often deployed to solve short-term political troubles.

After months...

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The Wages of Mendacity

(2) Comments | Posted July 28, 2009 | 12:56 PM

In Tennessee Williams' Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Big Daddy asks his son why he's disgusted.

"Mendacity," comes the answer. "You know what that is. It's lies and liars."

It's the modern book publishing industry. Remember James Frey's "memoir" which turned out to be largely false? That is,...

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The Torture of Impeachment

(56) Comments | Posted May 8, 2009 | 5:58 PM

Next week, a panel of Deep Thinkers in Washington will consider whether Judge Jay Bybee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit should be impeached and removed from office.

His potentially impeachable offense? Writing one of the Justice Department memoranda in 2002 that approved interrogation...

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Bankers Dance the Federalism Tango

(2) Comments | Posted April 29, 2009 | 4:58 PM

Federalism -- the division and sharing of power between state and national governments -- is the Constitution's signal invention, and its most baffling one. Since 1787, Americans have feuded bitterly over state's rights, and fought a bloody civil war over them. Earlier this month, the governor of Texas openly speculated...

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Forgetting History, California Style

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2009 | 2:02 PM

In a few weeks, Thomas Starr King is slated for what Leon Trotsky called the dustbin of history. His statute -- which has stood in the U.S. Capitol since 1931 as one of two allotted to represent California -- will be moved out and replaced with a seven-foot-high likeness...

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Putting "Justice" Back Into D.O.J.

(1) Comments | Posted April 6, 2009 | 4:52 PM

Sometimes the good news can slip right past us, so it's important to savor it when it happens. New Attorney General Eric Holder is the source of this month's cautious hope that the rule of law is returning to the Department of (irony intentionally withheld) Justice.

Several weeks ago, Holder...

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Let The People Choose Their Senators

(2) Comments | Posted March 24, 2009 | 12:05 PM

Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) has proposed a constitutional amendment to require popular elections to fill Senate vacancies. Acting under state law, governors have appointed four new senators this year to replace those appointed to high posts in the Obama Administration. None would have been likely to win an election...

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Impeaching Judges: Time for a Rethink

(4) Comments | Posted March 16, 2009 | 3:50 PM

The change in administrations has ended the fanciful talk of impeaching the president, yet Congress still faces two cases concerning the meat-and-potatoes of American impeachments: removing wayward lower court judges. For those cases, often viewed in Congress as annoying and unimportant, the constitutional process is both cumbersome and unfair to...

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