Tag: Constitution

Clarence Thomas’s Straussian Moment: The Question of Slavery and the Founding, and a question for my political theory and intellectual history friends

A question for the political theorists, intellectual historians, and maybe public law/con law experts. The question comes at the very end of this post. Forgive the build-up. And the potted history: I’m writing fast because I’m hard at work on this Clarence Thomas book and am briefly interrupting that work in order to get a reading list. In the second half of the 1980s, Clarence Thomas is being groomed for a position on the Supreme Court, or senses that he’s being groomed. He’s the head of the EEOC in the Reagan Administration and decides to beef up on his reading in political theory, constitutional law, and American history. He hires two Straussians—Ken Masugi and John Marini—to his staff on the […]

What’s wrong with the discourse of norm erosion?

We’ve now had, in less than 20 years, two presidents elected over and against the expressed preferences (not in a poll, but in actual ballots) of the majority of the voters. I think most Democrats, liberals, and leftists would agree that both of these presidents were or are disasters. So these two elections were democratic catastrophes on both procedural and substantive grounds. Yet the single most important determinant of these two disasters—the fact that we have a Constitution that creates an Electoral College that privileges the interests of states over persons—cannot, by the terms of the discourse, be counted as a norm erosion. Indeed, when it comes to this main determinant of the Electoral College and how it works, there […]