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Imagine this: a drone launched from a ship off the Eastern coast of the United States fires a missile that destroys a neighborhood of Stamford, Connecticut....

For a man reported to have such a sharp legal mind, Judge Samuel Alito was certainly comfortable with his own ignorance, saying, "I don't know" 29 times during the hearings.

Despite the Democrats' strip-searching of Alito's written record, we Americans don't know much more about Alito than we did before. Will he vote to overturn Roe or respect it as settled law? We don't know. Does he believe there are limits to executive power or not? We don't know. Is he the most boring man in the universe or simply willing to play him on TV? We don't know.

What we do know is that something as momentous as the future course of the Supreme Court may rest more on the tears of the nominee's spouse than the (sometimes pontificating) questioning of the Senate Judiciary committee.

From 1961 to 1966, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. wrote an annual essay for The Nation on the state of civil rights and race relations in America. His 1965 contribution was particularly strong. This article originally appeared in the March 15, 1965, issue. Dr. King's words, ominously ring as true today as the day they were written more than forty years ago.

"'Let Justice roll down like waters in a mighty stream,' said the Prophet Amos. He was seeking not consensus but the cleansing action of revolutionary change. America has made progress toward freedom, but measured against the goal the road ahead is still long and hard. This could be the worst possible moment for slowing down."

Five decades ago this years, in the fall of 1956, the young Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., newly prominent because of the role he played in the boycott by African-Americans of Montgomery, Alabama's segregated bus system, delivered one of the greatest speeches of his career at a Bible camp near a small midwestern community.

Speaking near the Wisconsin village of Green Lake, at a conference of the American Baptist Assembly and American Home Mission Agencies, King recognized a teaching moment. Reaching out to white Christians with a message about the need to join the burgeoning economic and social justice movement that would become the civil rights revolution of the 1960s, King asked his audience to ponder what the the Apostle Paul would say to them.

The contemporary prophet began, as he so often did, by addressing economic issues.

If the Alito confirmation hearings were a test of Democratic strategy, the Alito vote to come is a test of moderate Republican integrity and mettle.

Vaccine production in the United States is in an alarming condition--with drug-makers wedded to outmoded techniques and government more focused on terror than pandemics.

The recent controversy over false claims in James Frey's
The recent controversy over false claims in James Frey's
best-selling memoir "A Million Little Pieces" raises questions about
the ethics of the author and of the publishing industry at large.
This article opened a 1978 The Nation forum on "Truth in

For a long time on Capitol Hill, no one was interested in lobbying reform. Now everybody wants to get in on the act.

A brutal raid on an encampment of refugees in Cairo has focused the world's attention on the netherworld Sudanese occupy in Egypt.

It sounds as if Al Gore is about to deliver what could be not just one of the more significant speeches of his political career but an essential challenge to the embattled presidency of George W. Bush.

In a major address slated for delivery Monday in Washington, the former Vice President is expected to argue that the Bush administration has created a "Constitutional crisis" by acting without the authorization of the Congress and the courts to spy on Americans and otherwise abuse basic liberties.

Aides who are familiar with the preparations for the address say that Gore will frame his remarks in Constitutional language. The Democrat who beat Bush by more than 500,000 votes in the 2000 presidential election has agreed to deliver his remarks in a symbolically powerful location: the historic Constitution Hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution. But this will not be the sort of cautious, bureacratic speech for which Gore was frequently criticized during his years in the Senate and the White House.

Samuel Alito and his handlers have crafted a disingenuous campaign that reeks of ethical compromise, bending Senate rules, bending the truth and compromising the confirmation process.

"There is nothing but a lack of social vision to prevent us from paying an adequate wage to every American citizen whether he be a hospital worker, laundry worker, maid, or day laborer," Martin Luther King Jr. wrote thirty-five years ago in his book Where Do We Go From Here. "There is nothing except shortsightedness to prevent us from guaranteeing an annual minimum and livable income for every American family."

As the nation celebrates Dr. King's life this weekend, Sen. Edward Kennedy and a broad alliance of religious and community groups are honoring King's dream of social and economic justice with a bold new vision for a national living wage. The Let Justice Roll Campaign--a unique coalition of more than fifty groups including ACORN, The Center for Community Change, the United Methodist Church, and the Union of Reform Judaism, among others-- kicks off its "Living Wage Days" this weekend.

Events will be held across the country, including in Quincy, Mass, where Kennedy, who vigorously led the fight to boost the federal minimum wage in 2005, will speak on the critical need for an increase. If you or your organization would like to take part in the nation-wide movement, click here to sign up and here for a resource guide.


Washington, DC

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees should always be about more than the abortion debate. And the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to serve on the high court have touched on a broad variety of issues -- including the essential question of whether the court will address the Bush administration's abuses of authority by enforcing the Constitutional balance of powers.

But, as has been the case in confirmation hearings for the better part of three decades, the search for signals with regard to the nominee's stance on reproductive rights matters has played a dominant role in the advice and consent process that has played out in Washington this week.

In something of a deviation from many past confirmation hearings, however, and dialogue about choice has provided useful insights into Alito's activist approach to judging. And those insights have led an influential moderate Republican group to come out against the nominee.

Women now outnumber men at colleges and universities, but higher
education has not become the fluffy pink playpen of feminism that some
conservatives envision.

The FBI was probably tapping Edward Said's phone right up until the day
he died. Details are emerging of a surveillance effort that extended
for nearly thirty years.

Testing a Congressman's memory of the former super-lobbyist: Good old
what's-his-name...but me? I hardly knew him.

Remembering Frank Wilkinson, American hero; full disclosure on Jack
Abramoff; Dave Letterman confronts Bill O'Reilly; a new baby for Nation contributing editors Liza Featherstone
and Doug Henwood.

Will Palestinians be compelled to live by Ariel Sharon's repressive vision or will they compel Israel to accept genuine self-determination for the
Palestinian people?

Suddenly, the Sharon era is over. And Sharon's centrist Kadima Party may emerge as the dominant force after the March 28 elections.

No voice rings as hollow as Newt Gingrich's on the GOP culture of
corruption. Incredibly, the media are swallowing his story.

Cleaning up Congress after the Abramoff scandal involves far more than
limits on gifts and perks. It requires barring the 'legalized bribery'
of major campaign contributions.

A few days before the New Year, soon after the New York Times reported that Bush had authorized the warrantless wiretapping of thousands of Americans, I called Elizabeth Holtzman. I remembered that Nixon was charged in Article II of his bill of impeachment with illegal wiretapping for what he, too, claimed were national security reasons. And memories of Holtzman as a young leader on the House Judiciary Committee, during Watergate, made me sure she'd be a rigorous, thoughtful voice on this gravest of issues.

I reached Holtzman at her New York city law office. Anyone who knows Holtzman respects her level-headed, no-nonsense manner. That afternoon, however, her voice rose as she expressed outrage about the recent revelations of Bush's wiretapping, and she was quick to drew parallels to Watergate-era abuses. But Holtzman hesitated before agreeing to take on this assignment, asking for a few days to pull together her material and arguments. A few days later, she sent me an e-mail saying I'd have it a few days after the new year.

As promised, Holtzman got us the piece. Over the course of a week, working with senior editor Betsy Reed, Holtzman revised the article--adding more facts, reviewing arguments with legal colleagues, and updating (for example, the Pentagon study disclosing that proper bulletproof vests would have saved hundreds of lives came out just days before press date).

Samuel Alito's blunt testimony on international law revealed the extremity of his judicial philosophy and carried profound implications for rulings he might make.