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Howard Schweber
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Howard Schweber is a Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is also an affiliate faculty member of the Law School, the Integrated Liberal Studies program, and the Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education. From 2011 to 2013 he was Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, and the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Political Science at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. He has received several teaching awards at UW-Madison including the William H. Keikhoffer Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching at Wisconsin and the Stephen and Margery Russell Award at Cornell. He is the author of books on the First Amendment, American legal history, constitutional philosophy and democratic theory, most recently "Democracy and Authenticity" (2012, Cambridge University Press).

Entries by Howard Schweber

'They Cry When They Shoot Us'

(0) Comments | Posted July 30, 2014 | 9:44 AM

"They cry when they shoot us. Now we must find a way to make them stop shooting."

It was one of the most affecting comments I heard during a stint as a human rights observer during the First Intifada in 1988. Those days seem so innocent now. Sure, people were...

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The Hobby Lobby Case Shows Why We Need a Single-payer Option

(9) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 2:33 PM

The outcome of the Hobby Lobby case demonstrates exactly why we need a public, single-payer health insurance option in the United States: Because relying on private parties to deliver a public good contradicts fundamental constitutional principles. (All page numbers below refer to the full opinion in the case, available

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Scott Walker and the Club for Growth: Coordinating Corruption

(2) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 11:32 PM

The case against Scott Walker's and his aides turns on the idea of unlawful cooperation. In Wisconsin as in a number of other states, it is illegal for campaigns to coordinate political activities with outside funding groups. That takes a little explaining.

What appears to have been going...

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Four Takeaways From Cantor's Defeat

(16) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 11:50 AM

First, the GOP is screwed on immigration and outreach to the Latino community. The dance of self-denial that Marco Rubio has been performing is about to become a required skill for all Republican candidates. Which most likely means there is zero likelihood of a viable national candidate for the Republicans...

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Why Are Universities So Horrible at Responding to Sexual Violence?

(19) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 10:15 AM

The question of the title is one that is causing heartache and soul-searching, some long overdue reflection. Universities' failures have been manifold. They assume authority and responsibility then fail to deliver the remedies they promise. Institutions that are supposed to act as storehouses of humanistic values seem to abandon those...

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The Academic Boycott of Israel: A Well-Intentioned Bad Idea

(26) Comments | Posted December 21, 2013 | 12:36 PM

The American Studies Association, a group that represents about 5,000 scholars, has adopted a resolution boycotting Israeli academic institutions. This is the second major academic group to adopt such a boycott, following the Asian Studies Association. The ASA boycott resolution states that "the United States plays a significant...

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On October 17, If Congress Fails the President Has No Choice

(263) Comments | Posted October 15, 2013 | 9:20 AM

There are reports that the Senate is about to reach a deal that would extend the debt ceiling until February 15 and reopen the government until January 15, both to give time for a bipartisan committee to agree on deficit reduction strategies. It is worth noting that on...

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Constitutional Failure

(16) Comments | Posted September 18, 2013 | 2:40 PM

Yesterday I participated in a Constitution Day event, a panel discussion talking about the Constitution and the U.S. economy. Afterwards, one of the audience members asked a question: in historical perspective, how bad is the dysfunction in Congress right now? I thought about it, and gave my answer: the worst...

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Putin's Great Game

(29) Comments | Posted September 16, 2013 | 12:17 PM

Vladimir Putin's moves over the past week have been nothing short of brilliant. His New York Times editorial cannot have persuaded any but the most ingenuous of readers, but it provided ammunition for factions in the American public already disposed to resist the president's call for action. And who knows?...

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Innocents Abroad? The University of Wisconsin in Kazakhstan

(6) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 11:44 AM

In a recent Huffpo column entitled"Hidden Truths About American Colleges Abroad," Jim Sleeper makes some alarming accusations. He draws an analogy between American universities that are creating overseas programs and Stalin-era apologists for the Soviet regime of the 1930s. He repeats this arguments in a longer

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America Must Close the Syrian Box

(8) Comments | Posted September 1, 2013 | 4:36 PM

We don't talk much about World War I, but we should. The Great War caused 15 million deaths (not counting the Spanish flu epidemic that followed) and not coincidentally created the modern Middle East. In 1915 at the Second Battle of Ypres the German Army introduced something new into the...

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A Little Electoral Math

(60) Comments | Posted June 6, 2012 | 8:07 PM

Gov. Scott Walker has survived the recall attempt in Wisconsin, although it appears the Democrats may have won a symbolic victory in the state's Senate. That is not cheering news for the Obama campaign, and neither are the depressing economic numbers, the chaos in Europe, or the amazingly tone-deaf Obama...

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Conservatives' Selective Religious Outrage

(549) Comments | Posted March 4, 2012 | 11:18 PM

This week Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. conference of Cathlic Bishops, urged Catholic parishoners to become politically involved in order to join a "freedom of religion battle" against the Obama administration. Dolan's complaints have become a standard rallying cry for Republican presidential...

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The Catholicization of the American Right

(859) Comments | Posted February 24, 2012 | 12:20 AM

In the past two decades, the American religious Right has become increasingly Catholic. I mean that both literally and metaphorically. Literally, Catholic writers have emerged as intellectual leaders of the religious right in universities, the punditocracy, the press, and the courts, promoting an agenda that at its most theoretical involves...

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Romney, Gingrich, and Three States to Watch

(33) Comments | Posted February 1, 2012 | 10:35 PM

Romney's victory in Florida is being hailed as a dramatic comeback, a decisive victory, a clear statement of who owns the Republican race. The truth is, this may not be Romney's race to lose, but there are perfectly plausible scenarios in which he loses it. And not losing is not...

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Newt Gingrich and the Politics of Resentment

(915) Comments | Posted January 23, 2012 | 8:48 PM

George W. Bush shared their values. Newt Gingrich shares their resentments.

Polling data from South Carolina and Florida suggests that Tea Party and evangelical voters may finally be coalescing around a candidate, and that candidate is Newt Gingrich. Which is interesting, because as many people have noted he does not...

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After Bin Laden

(3) Comments | Posted May 4, 2011 | 10:34 AM

Details of the raid in which Osama Bin Laden was killed are still trickling out. Some conclusions seem clear, others are still matters for speculation... and some we will likely never know, and probably shouldn't.

Start with what looks like a safe conclusion. It seems beyond peradventure that bin...

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Open Records Laws Go From Sunshine to Sunburn

(75) Comments | Posted April 6, 2011 | 9:26 AM

"Sunshine," wrote Louis Brandeis, "is the greatest disinfectant." There is a deep truth in this classic bit of Progressive wisdom. Government cannot be accountable if it works in secret. Yet governments always seek to make as much information secret as they possibly can, sometimes to the point of unintentional comedy....

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Scott Walker's War on Equality

(779) Comments | Posted March 2, 2011 | 10:07 AM

"The American system of public education is the greatest mechanism for social and economic mobility in the history of the world." I wish I had said that. Actually, it was my friend Tim. Tim is a conservative Republican. Let me clarify that. At various points in his life Tim has...

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The Madison Protests: It's Not About the Money

(599) Comments | Posted February 20, 2011 | 8:57 PM

Madison, Wisconsin, The Heartland, America.

I am not what you would call a real "progressive" in the modern sense of the word. I actually have significant concerns about the role of public sector unions when they become too large -- they can begin to act like monopoly players in the...

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