John Paul Stevens’ Legacy

In case you missed it, we published two remembrances of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens at TPM Cafe this week, both by prominent law professors who clerked for Stevens.

Deborah Pearlstein writes on how Stevens might respond to the Trump administration’s census shenanigans. Amanda Cohen Leiter reflects on Stevens’ propensity for writing his own opinions, even when arriving at the same conclusions as other justices, in order to preserve his thinking for posterity.

‘I’d Start To Wonder If I Really Belonged’
Prime Membership Required

Reader AV writes:

I’ve been a reader for a very long time, I read all your stuff. I’m Prime AF, but I haven’t written in seven years. I think that part of it is that politics are very personal for me. I’ve been very close to local politics where I live, I was a Congressional staffer, and I ran for office myself, and none of that comes close to the politics of today. Today we are in a space where politics are all about who we are, all about our identity.

My parents moved from India to the US in the 70’s and my brother and I were born in the US. Neither of my parents were US citizens at the time, so maybe that makes us anchor babies. When Trump tweeted those statements about going back to where you come from, I was brought back not to India, but to my childhood. I was bullied for the color of my skin, for the language my parents spoke, for our religion, and for our food. I’ve been told to go back to where I come from or to leave this country a number of times in my life. I know Trump is a bully, I know he’s trying to rally his racist supporters, I know he’s trying to distract from other issues, but at the end of the day he’s challenging my identity as an American, as someone who BELONGS in this country. That causes real pain and real trauma.

Today’s Agenda: We Now Know The Lineups For The Next Dem Debates
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Happy Friday, July 19. The debates lineups have been finalized. Here’s more on that and the other stories we’re watching.

Trump Is No George Wallace. He’s Worse.

I keep seeing comparisons between Trump’s racial appeals and George Wallace’s 1968 campaign. Here’s the AP’s Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller: “Not since George Wallace’s campaign in 1968 has a presidential candidate — and certainly not an incumbent president — put racial polarization at the center of his call to voters.” Someone here can correct me if my memory is failing me, but in 1968, Wallace did not make explicit racial appeals.

Today’s Agenda: ‘Send Her Back’
Prime Membership Required

Happy Thursday, July 18. A gruesome strain of racism and xenophobia was on full display at President Donald Trump’s rally Wednesday night. Here’s more on that and the other stories we’re watching.


Crowd at North Carolina rally breaks into “send her back!” chant after President Trump attacks Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN):


One of his former clerks ponders how Justice John Paul Stevens would have approached the big Supreme Court cases of the Trump era.

Leader Principle

I mentioned this yesterday on the Chris Hayes show. We can see how President Trump has united the GOP behind his openly and aggressively racist attacks on four freshman congresswomen of color. Yesterday all but four Republican members of the House voted against a formal criticism of the President’s attacks. Two of those are retiring. So they barely even count. What jumps out to me though is this. I suspect if any Republican member of Congress said exactly the same things he or she wouldn’t have survived the controversy. At a minimum they would have been roundly denounced and forced to apologize.

Watch This

We’ve been debating back and forth over recent weeks, impeachment vs aggressive oversight and then further debating: can this really be as fast and as hard as we can go at this? As we discussed yesterday with TPM Reader MA, the cold reality is that Democrats just don’t have much power, not enough to meet the big expectations of their supporters and those terrorized or angered by all of Trump’s transgressions and criminality. In an unprecedented fashion, the White House has adopted a policy of massive resistance to ALL oversight. That’s forced the House to rely on the Courts to enforce even the most basic compliance. But can they really not up the pace?

We held a briefing yesterday on this question. We had on a former longtime General Counsel of the House Judiciary Committee. I think it really captured for me that yes, they really are hanging back. The additional things they could be doing might not work. They could also fall prey to administration slow-walking and delays. But there are things they could be doing and which they are not doing.

If this is a question that interests you and you missed the briefing, you can watch a taped version here. It’s available to all Prime members. Just make sure you’re logged in. Here’s the link.

Today’s Agenda: The Condemnation Resolution Passed Amid Chaos
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Happy Wednesday, July 17. Last night’s vote on a resolution condemning President Donald Trump passed — amid a swirl of chaos and partisan sparring. Here’s more on that and the other stories we’re watching.

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