Federalism: The Big Issue

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Of course most of the noise about what’s at stake in this and other Supreme Court nomination battles concerns the hot-button ‘cultural’ issues: gay rights, abortion, etc. That’s understandable: passions are high, motivated constituencies are well-formed, and the issues are clear, at least on a emotional level, to a wide swath of the public.

A couple of conservative nominees will of course, cause progressives headaches on all these issues, and with enough time reverse a lot of important gains that have come through the courts. But even more damage can be done if the Supreme Court starts chipping away at the federal government’s authority to make laws for all states. There has already been some movement in this direction under this court, but another justice à la Thomas would firm up the anti-federalist block, and put 60 years of laws at risk.

So it is certainly good news that Senator Arlen Specter, the Republican Chair of the Judiciary Committee, has decided to bare his moderate chops and demand some answers from Roberts on his thoughts about how far Congress’s authority to regulate interstate commerce ought to go. I have little doubt that Roberts will say the right answers. But at least he’ll be asked the right questions.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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