Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Jim Thome, 43.

Right to the good stuff:

1. Dahlia Lithwick on Ginsburg and Scalia.

2. Good catch on Ted Cruz, from Juliet Lapidos.

3. I sort of wonder if we'll hit the point of some Republican Member of Congress refusing his or her salary -- and trying to get away with refusing staff salaries. Until then, we have this. Brian Beutler reports.


  1. It's just terrible how Congressional staffers are treated on the Hill. They work ridiculously long hours (remember the 3AM Dodd-Frank conference committee?), are exempt from many federal government employee protections, and constantly have their bosses work against their interests. While many employers like to give raises and bonuses to their employees, members work to cut the salaries of their workers. It's not unheard of for junior staffers on the Hill to be so poor that they can qualify for other government assistance.

    But there is such high turnover on the Hill and high demand for those jobs that Congress can treat its staff so poorly and get away with it. The genuine assumption on the Hill is that everyone in Washington wants a job in Congress, either out of a sense of civic responsibility or with eyes on a future career lobbying. And as Congressional districts, government responsibilities, and constituent inquiries continue to grow, and staff size and salaries continue to shrink, this problem will only get worse. And now members want their poor staffers to go without health insurance?! It hurts the quality of our government to treat these people so badly.

  2. I really don't like the conclusion of the Lithwick piece.

    Towards the end, she writes that the disenfranchisement after the VRA decision "suggests that Ginsburg was correct in her assessment: The court badly misread the status quo."

    The court did no such thing.

    Maybe one of the justices bought the argument that a black president means all problems have been solved. I tend to think that a good number of them signed on to the majority opinion knowing exactly what would happen, and were either indifferent to it or actually preferred that outcome.

    Lithwick is essentially arguing that the conservatives on the court are naive. I think that argument is naive; the conservatives on the court are naive like foxes.


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