It’s primary election day today in New York. If you live in NYC and haven’t voted already, make sure to do so! Polls close at 9pm. Given the City’s partisan lean, the primary is really the election that matters most. Here is my quick run-down of what I am paying attention to in New York.

First, a note. There will be no definitive results from any of these races for weeks. New York is transitioning to a ranked-choice-voting (“RCV”) method of conducting elections, and the actual tabulation of results will not take place until mid-July. This is frustrating, but understandable…


Last week I wrote about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to install a traditional, tough-on-crime prosecutor to the Court of Appeals, New York’s analog to the United States Supreme Court. Earlier this week, former Hon. Madeline Singas, formerly Nassau County District Attorney, was confirmed to a 14-year term in what appears to be the first seriously contested Court of Appeals appointment since the state adopted its judicial appointment process in the 1970’s. As I described in my previous piece, Hon. Singas’s confirmation to a seat on the Court of Appeals will likely move the already-conservative court further to the…


Much ink has been spilled in recent years about the conservative tilt of the federal judiciary. The partisan lean of the federal courts is undoubtedly important, but the vast majority of lawsuits and criminal prosecutions in the United States take place in state courts, and state court rulings are rarely subjected to federal review. To the extent that political observers pay attention to state courts, the focus has largely been on swing states (which is understandable given the national electoral implications of controlling those bodies). The ideological composition of the judiciaries in non-swing states has been largely overlooked.

It may…


Note: As part of an ongoing project, I am posting many old essays that, for a variety of reasons, I decided not to post publicly at the time they were written. To the best of my ability, I will note at the beginning of each piece the context in which it was written.

I wrote this in early-to-mid October, 2019, in response to a controversy that exploded after Ellen DeGeneres was seen socializing with George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game, then proffered a disingenuous defense of her decision to do so.

On Ellen DeGeneres Socializing with George W…


Note: As part of an ongoing project, I am posting many old essays that, for a variety of reasons, I decided not to post publicly at the time they were written. To the best of my ability, I will note at the beginning of each piece the context in which it was written.

I initially wrote this in early-to-mid 2017. The early months of the Trump Administration were awful (it did not get better), but Democratic successes in special elections (most notably, in Alabama), combined with the Republicans’ failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, led me to start wondering…


Note: As part of an ongoing project, I am posting many old essays that, for a variety of reasons, I decided not to post publicly at the time they were written. To the best of my ability, I will note at the beginning of each piece the context in which it was written.

I wrote this in the summer of 2019 in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Rucho v. Common Cause, a case in which the Court ruled that partisan gerrymandering claims are nonjusticiable in federal courts. In my opinion, this was the most egregious Supreme Court decision…


Note: As part of an ongoing project, I am posting many old essays that, for a variety of reasons, I decided not to post publicly at the time they were written. To the best of my ability, I will note at the beginning of each piece the context in which it was written.

I wrote this in response to a Jamelle Bouie op-ed in the summer of 2019. I generally really like Bouie’s writing and politics, and here I thought I had a pretty clear understanding of the answer to the question that Bouie posed in his op-ed. …


Note: As part of an ongoing project, I am posting many old essays that, for a variety of reasons, I decided not to post publicly at the time they were written. To the best of my ability, I will note at the beginning of each piece the context in which it was written.

I wrote this in the first few months of Trump’s presidency to illustrate how easily Republican elected officials could curtail the Trump Administration’s human rights abuses, and to demonstrate why Republican officeholders should be held responsible for Trump’s behavior.

It Only Takes Three

Donald Trump has neither…


Note: As part of an ongoing project, I am posting many old essays that, for a variety of reasons, I decided not to post publicly at the time they were written. To the best of my ability, I will note at the beginning of each piece the context in which it was written. This is the first such piece.

I wrote this in mid-to-late November, 2020, primarily in response to commentary blaming “defund the police” activists for Democratic underperformance in the 2020 elections.

_______________________________________________

Initial 2020 Election Takeaways:

The 2020 election was a split decision. Here are my preliminary conclusions…


Unpack it.

Mitch McConnell’s single-minded quest to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant Supreme Court seat has led many folks to wonder whether the Democrats should pack the Court in response. This misrepresents the state of the Supreme Court. It has already been packed, and it is the Republicans who packed it. Democratic measures to balance the federal judiciary, including by adding seats to the Supreme Court, would unwind already-existent Republican court-packing and restore legitimacy to the federal courts.

The Supreme Court is about to have a durable 6–3 conservative majority that threatens a panoply of civil rights and popular legislation…

Martin Sawyer

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