Analysis and Commentary on Politics

United States et al. vs. Texas et al.: A Political Question for November

John W. Dean, former counsel to President Nixon, explains the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s equal division in the immigration case United States v. Texas, which involved a challenge to the Obama administration’s sweeping immigration policy. Dean argues that the Court is effectively punting the political question of the immigration policy to the winner of the 2016 presidential election.

Republicans Can Save Their Party if They Can Admit to Themselves That Clinton Is Tolerable

George Washington University law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan explains why it is in the best interests of Republican leaders for them to admit that Hillary Clinton would be a tolerable president, rather than to support Donald Trump. Buchanan argues that for them to continue to support Trump is to risk putting a dangerous loose cannon in the White House, who at best will render the Republican party unrecognizable, and at worst could tear apart the country.

Donald Trump’s Criticism of Judge Curiel Was Racist, but Precisely How?

Dean and law professor at Illinois Law, Vikram David Amar discusses Donald Trump's public criticism of Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is currently presiding over the federal fraud lawsuit against Trump University. Amar weighs Trump's arguments as to Judge Curiel's purported bias toward him against what is known about Trump's own tendency to personalize disagreements without cause. Amar argues further that while some opinions are in fact formed as a result of one's ethnicity and experiences as a racial minority, this does not apply in the present instance for a number of reasons, each of which Amar explores in today's column.

What Do “High Negatives” Mean? Or: Hillary Clinton On Her Worst Day Is Better Than Donald Trump On His Best

Neil H. Buchanan, a law professor and economist at George Washington University, discusses the negative opinions a large number of Americans hold about both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the 2016 Presidential Election. He further explains how peoples' discontent with Clinton differs from that relating to Trump, revealing a stark disparity between the two candidates' qualifications to become President. Where Clinton's naysayers frequently offer vague or unsubstantiated complaints, Buchanan argues that the criticism aimed at Trump is far more substantive.

Even After Trump Loses, Constitutional Democracy in the United States Will Still Be in Peril

George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan explains why, whether Donald Trump wins or loses the presidency, constitutional democracy in the United States is seriously threatened. Buchanan argues that Trump’s stated plans for the country would effectively destroy our constitutional democracy, but even a Republican-caused gridlocked Congress under a President Hillary Clinton could cause a debt crisis and economic collapse.

Is This the Beginning of the End of Constitutional Democracy in the U.S.?

In this first of a two-part series of columns, George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan considers whether the constitutional democracy in the United States is near its demise. Buchanan compares and contrasts the responses to issues faced by middle-class America given by Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton with those given by Republican nominee apparent Donald Trump.

Trump Finds a Way to Be Just a Bit More Unhinged than the Republican Establishment Is About the Federal Debt

George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan explains how Donald Trump’s recent comments about the federal debt reveal that he is even more irresponsible—though only slightly—than the Republican establishment on this issue. Buchanan describes the problems with repudiating the debt as Trump suggests the government do.

An Era of Unchecked Presidential Primaries

Former counsel to the president John W. Dean comments on the current role of the national political parties in presidential campaign politics. Dean argues that both Sanders and Trump illustrate candidates’ declining need for the support—financial or otherwise—of the national parties in order to excel in the primary process.

On Social Security, at the Very Least, the Dishonesty Is All on the Republican Side

George Washington University law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan explains why, contrary to claims by Republicans, Social Security is not on the brink of bankruptcy or insolvency. Buchanan points out that even in the unlikely event of the worst case scenario—where the Social Security trust fund reaches zero—retirees would still receive modest benefits.

Does Boredom Explain Some of Trump’s Appeal?

Cornell University law professor Michael C. Dorf discusses the American public's enduring fascination with Donald Trump, and explains how the social science of boredom may be at play in it. Dorf highlights studies that explain this phenomenon from distinct angles, and applies the findings to the general voting populace as a means of explaining why people just cannot seem to get enough of Trump, regardless of whether they agree with his politics.

Trump’s Anatomy Is More Relevant Than You Think

In light of Donald Trump’s recent comments about his anatomical endowment, Cornell University law professor Michael C. Dorf discusses the role of virility—and perceived virility—among prior American presidents and other world leaders of history. Dorf points out that while some studies suggest popular perception of one male candidate as “more manly” than another might give him an edge up, analysis shows that result cannot necessarily be extrapolated to predict male versus female elections.

Dueling Delusions

Cornell University law professor Joseph Margulies comments on the current plight of the Republican party and the role of Donald Trump in that trajectory. Margulies focuses on the delusions that bedevil the GOP and points to the symbols in which the party refuses to believe and on which it simultaneously depends.

The Grave Risks of the Senate Republicans’ Stated Refusal to Process any Supreme Court Nominee President Obama Sends Them

Illinois Law dean and professor Vikram David Amar describes some of the risks Senate Republicans will face if they refuse to process any Supreme Court nominee that President Obama sends them, as they have claimed they would. Among these risks, Amar argues, are the possibility that a President Hillary Clinton might appoint Obama to the Supreme Court, that the Democrats could take over the Senate and approve a nominee that a Republican-controlled Senate would not have approved, or even that Justices Breyer and Ginsburg could retire under a Democrat-controlled Senate, giving President Obama three places on the Court to fill with liberal justices.

Meet our Columnists

Vikram David Amar
Vikram David Amar

Vikram David Amar is the Dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Illinois Co... more

Neil H. Buchanan
Neil H. Buchanan

Neil H. Buchanan is an economist and legal scholar and a Professor of Law at The George Washington U... more

Sherry F. Colb
Sherry F. Colb

Sherry F. Colb is Professor of Law and Charles Evans Hughes Scholar at Cornell University. Colb tea... more

John Dean
John Dean

John Dean served as Counsel to the President of the United States from July 1970 to April 1973. Befo... more

Michael C. Dorf
Michael C. Dorf

Michael C. Dorf is the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School. He has w... more

Joanna L. Grossman
Joanna L. Grossman

Joanna L. Grossman is the Ellen K. Solender Endowed Chair in Women and Law at SMU Dedman School of L... more

Marci A. Hamilton
Marci A. Hamilton

Marci A. Hamilton is one of the country’s leading church-state scholars and the Fox Professor of Pra... more

Joseph Margulies
Joseph Margulies

Mr. Margulies is a Professor of Law and Government at Cornell University. He was Counsel of Record... more

Anita Ramasastry
Anita Ramasastry

Anita Ramasastry is the UW Law Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of... more

Ronald D. Rotunda
Ronald D. Rotunda

Ronald D. Rotunda is the Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence... more

Lesley Wexler
Lesley Wexler

Lesley Wexler is a Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Immediately prior... more