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Ask a supporter of charter schools whether that vogue new concept holds promise for inner-city children.

Cammillia Mays is an African-American single parent who, like millions of parents across the country, faced a difficult decision when her daughter turned 4 years old.

With education among the electorate's top priorities, the phrase "higher standards" has become ubiquitous in political campaigns across the country.

Remember when Hillary Clinton dared suggest that a vast right-wing
conspiracy was behind the campaign to destroy her husband's presidency?
Well, the troubles besetting the nomination of Theodore B. Olson as US
solicitor general provide stunning evidence of what she had in mind.

Olson's confirmation hearing was abruptly suspended last week by
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) after a report
in the Washington Post raised questions about Olson's truthfulness under
oath about his relationship to right-wing billionaire Richard Mellon
Scaife and the $2.3-million, anti-Clinton Arkansas Project of Scaife's
American Spectator magazine. Olson served as the magazine's lawyer and on
its board of directors, but when questioned by Democratic members of the
committee as to his connection with the infamous Arkansas Project, Olson
stated: "It has been alleged that I was somehow involved in that
so-called project. I was not involved in the project in its origin or its
management."

That statement was subsequently contradicted in testimony before the
Judiciary Committee by David Brock, the writer responsible for the key
American Spectator articles attacking the Clintons. Brock stated that he
was present at "brainstorming" sessions on the Arkansas Project with
Olson at the home of American Spectator Chairman R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.
Brock connected Olson with the Spectator's strangest article linking
Clinton to the suicide of his close friend and aide, Vincent Foster.
According to the Post, Brock said Olson told him that "while he didn't
place any stock in the piece, it was worth publishing because the role of
the Spectator was to write Clinton scandal stories in hopes of 'shaking
scandals loose."'

That is not the sort of judicious, nonpartisan stance that one would
hope for from a nominee to the position of solicitor general, often
called the "tenth member of the Supreme Court," who represents the US
government before the Court.

Since judicial objectivity is key to the performance of this
all-important job, it was irresponsible of President Bush to nominate
Olson, a key leader of the right wing's nonstop attacks on Clinton. Olson
not only was deeply connected with Scaife and the American Spectator but
he also represented David Hale, the key witness against Clinton in the
Whitewater case, and advised Paula Jones. His partisanship was amply
manifested when he represented Bush before the US Supreme Court to halt
the recount of Florida ballots.

But the issues now being raised against Olson's nomination go beyond
partisanship and deal with the honesty of his testimony under oath before
the Judiciary Committee. In addition to the testimony of ex-Spectator
writer Brock, the Washington Post reported that Olson and a fellow law
partner at Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher prepared some of the anonymous
anti-Clinton material that was published in the Spectator.

The Post reported last Friday that American Spectator documents show
that Olson's law firm was paid more than $14,000 for work on the Arkansas
Project. Part of this money was to pay for a hit piece on the Clintons
that Olson purportedly wrote under a pseudonym, cataloging all the
possible laws that the Clintons might have violated if the
unsubstantiated charges hurled at them by their right-wing critics proved
true.

After the Post ran its story last week, Hatch conceded "there are
legitimate issues" justifying his decision to defer action on Olson's
nomination pending further investigation. One issue concerns Olson's
testimony at an April 5 hearing of the Judiciary Committee as to how he
came to represent Hale, a key source for the Spectator. Olson said he
couldn't remember how the contact was made and never mentioned David W.
Henderson, the Arkansas Project director. But Henderson last week told
the Post he was the person who introduced Hale to Olson.

Even if one assumes that Olson has a conveniently poor memory on key
matters relating to his involvement with the American Spectator and its
Arkansas Project, his behavior hardly suggests the stellar qualities
required of the chief representative of the US people before the
highest judicial body. Nor is this the first time Olson's credibility in
testimony before Congress was questioned. The Post article noted that, in
1986, Independent Counsel Alexia Morrison was appointed to investigate
whether Olson had provided misleading testimony to a congressional
committee when he worked at the Justice Department in 1983. Morrison
concluded that Olson's testimony was "disingenuous and misleading," but
that his statements were "literally true" and therefore he could not be
criminally prosecuted.

Pretty slippery for the "tenth member of the Supreme Court," but,
sadly, given the recent shenanigans of the Court's right-wing majority,
Olson should fit right in if he is ultimately confirmed.

The atrocities of the Afghan Taliban toward women have been widely reported in the Western press: women banned from work; forbidden to leave their homes unless shrouded in the burkha, a voluminou

Research assistance was provided by the Elections 2000 Fund of the Nation Institute.

This spring the topic of antitrust returned to the headlines after a long absence as the government pursued and won (for the time being) its case against Microsoft and, in a more muted way, as Ti

I start to worry whenever the Wall Street Journal editorial page cites theliberalNewRepublic for support.

This article is adapted from Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope (Crown).

The British government, increasingly desperate to silence a former MI5 intelligence officer who has been campaigning to expose government misconduct, has sued him and a London newspaper under the

Blogs

Eric on Chomsky's dishonesty and Reed Richardson on Paul Ryan's medicare debacle.

May 26, 2011

How the media frenzy obliterated the presumption of innocence and relentlessly impugned both Strauss-Kahn and his accuser in vulgar stereotypes.

May 24, 2011

Joakim Noah's use of an anti-gay slur continues a discussion that NBA officialdom appears to loathe having.

May 24, 2011

Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty often shies away from discussing his views on abortion, but they are clearly deeply held—and very radical. 

May 24, 2011

Facing a shortage of lethal injection drugs, some death penalty states have begun switching up the drug cocktail used in executions—but is this experimentation legal?

May 24, 2011

Three former teammates have testified that they saw the cyclist take performance-enhancing drugs, but the fans Armstrong has built through his support for cancer research are loyal and will stick with him.

May 24, 2011

Students in this West African nation are supporting their teacher's demands that the government increase their wage and reduce the class size. Demonstrations have spread across the country in response to unemployment, the rising cost of living, inadequate delivery of services and state repression under a president who has been in power for 24 years.

May 23, 2011

In spite of student support for a boycott of a brand of hummus made by a company students argue is complicit in human rights abuses, DePaul University's Fair Business Practices Committee (FBPC) concluded there wasn't "sufficient grounds" for a boycott.

May 23, 2011

Three teammates have testified they saw the great cyclist take performance enhancing drugs. But Armstrong’s supporters aren’t going anywhere.

May 23, 2011

An opponent of capital punishment who specifically cautioned against “joy” in bin Laden’s death is dishonestly portrayed to demonstrate “obsessive belief in capital punishment” and “rejoicing” in that death.

May 23, 2011