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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar Mark Thompson
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    says:

    Argh! Now you’re going to force me to defend Justice Roberts? I’ve seen this claim of Toobin’s repeated about 100 times now, and it’s still not any more true. Is Roberts waaaaay more pro-big guy than I’d like? Absolutely. But let’s not pretend that this is, in fact, his entire judicial philosophy. After all, he sided against the government in Heller, and in favor of the individual in the Rapanos case. I know liberals are not too thrilled with either of those two decisions, and that’s fine, but to pretend as if somehow they are examples of siding with the powerful against the powerless rather than vice versa requires some serious mental gymnastics. I am also quite certain I could find other examples if I were so inclined.Report

  2. Avatar E.D. Kain
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    says:

    Heh. I was more concerned with the line “That’s conservative jurisprudence in a nutshell.”Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to E.D. Kain
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      says:

      But even there – and keeping in mind, I’m not in the least bit a fan of what is called “conservative jurisprudence” these days – you just can’t reach that simplistic conclusion that it’s really just about protecting the big guy. Heller and Rapanos were cases that were popular with conservatives. Moreover, Kelo – a case of individual homeowners fighting both the government and a private developer – was exceedingly unpopular with conservatives.

      It’s not only an overly simplistic characterization – it’s an inaccurate one. And, for what it’s worth, it’s a characterization that is almost identical to one that conservatives often falsely throw at liberal jurisprudence, to wit that liberal jurisprudence is all about expanding the federal government at the expense of communities and individuals.Report

      • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Mark Thompson
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        says:

        Right. I agree. I think Yglesias is being far too overly simplistic – indeed, not really knowing much about Roberts or these cases, I was speaking more to the sweeping generalization: “that’s conservative jurisprudence.”Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to E.D. Kain
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          says:

          My point is just that this sweeping generalization is not only overly broad, but is also downright inaccurate. The fact is that there are a number of issues where movement conservatives favor the big guy, and a number of issues where they don’t; the same is true, however, of each part of the political spectrum.Report

          • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Mark Thompson
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            says:

            Indeed. Purity in politics is a myth.Report

            • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to E.D. Kain
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              says:

              So why are you saying that Toobin’s and Yglesias’ statements represent the modern conservative movement?Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                I’m saying this: 1) Calling siding with the executive “conservative” is simply not true. 2) However, the conservative movement writ large has increased the power of the executive continually for years and years now. 3) Which is not conservative…and thus 4) the conservative movement is simply not a viable representation of conservatism.

                Now, whether this applies perfectly to Justice Roberts – I don’t know. Whether this speaks to the flaws of other political parties or points on the spectrum is irrelevant.

                Do you disagree?Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to E.D. Kain
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                says:

                But this does more than just accuse conservatives of siding with the executive more often than not. It accuses movement conservatives of siding with the executive, the prosecution, the government, and the big corporation as a default rule, which is simply not correct.

                Look, I don’t think movement conservatism is representative of conservative philosophy of any sort, but to suggest that all it cares about is expanding the power of the big guy is pretty unfair.

                And for purposes of this discussion, there is no difference between Justice Roberts and movement conservatives, because the decisions to which I refer are decisions that represent the beliefs of a huge number of movement conservatives.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    Look at Kelo vs. New London for a great case upon which one can make sweeping generalizations about modern progressivism.

    Gonzales vs. Raich provides another… except everybody on the friggin’ court (excepting Thomas) went with giving power to the state… which demonstrates that the problem ain’t with the “movement conservatives” or the “movement liberals” but the “movement statists” that never ask “do the citizens have rights” but “does the government have the right to do *THIS*?”… and the answer, always, always, always comes back “sure it does!”

    The recent exceptions are, of course, Heller and Lawrence.

    God help us.Report

  4. Avatar Will
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    says:

    Well said, Mark. I may write a longer post on this, but defending the status quo from a disruptive reform is a pretty conservative approach to jurisprudence, I think. Roberts’ DNA decision may be wrong, but it’s definitely conservative.Report

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