Adam Serwer

Adam Serwer is a writing fellow at The American Prospect and a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He also blogs at Jack and Jill Politics and has written for The Village Voice, The Washington Post, The Root, and the Daily News.

Recent Articles


What Obama could have done differently . Earthquake gives the National Cathedral a " boo boo ." More on The Help . Perry makes Bachmann obsolete.

Perry's Very Limited Immigration Moderation

Texas Governor Rick Perry defines what now counts as being "moderate" on immigration policy in the Republican Party--making it so that only those undocumented immigrants willing to serve in the military would be eligible for citizenship. "I think there is a path to citizenship for those young men and women who have served their country," Perry said in response to a question from NachoFiesta blogger Sean Quinn. "That is a very unique set of individuals, and different than folks who have come here illegally and not given back in that particular way." But on other controversial immigration laws, Perry said the states should be able to do what they wish. "I am a big believer in the 10th Amendment," Perry said. He said "state by state, they need to make those decisions" about charging illegal immigrants in-state college tuition prices (as Perry has advocated in Texas) or passing laws like Arizona's SB 1070. Perry's reasoning here is odd. The DREAM Act, originally a Republican proposal,...

Did Romney "Flip-Flop" On Federal Trials For Terrorists?

Jonathan Capeheart has an amusing pos t on Mitt Romney's call for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, to be tried in the U.S., noting that Romney had previously called for military commissions for all suspected terrorists. Romney, as Zaid Jilani first noted at ThinkProgress, said that "We would try him here and see that justice is done." I laughed when I first read Capheart's post. In fairness to Romney though, a military commissions trial for al-Megrahi would run into some serious ex-post-facto problems. The military commissions system was set up based on the Authorization to Use Military Force, which was passed by Congress more than a decade after the 1988 bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103. The Constitution of the United States explicitly says that "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed," which means you can't try someone based on a law passed after the offense allegedly took place. The commissions are intended for trials of people associated with al Qaeda...

Gun Rights And Civil Rights

Responding to Jeffrey Toobin's profile of Clarence and Virginia Thomas, Jonathan Blanks shoots down the idea that gun rights and civil rights are unrelated issues. Toobin wrote that "Thomas finds a racial angle on a broad array of issues, including those which appear to be scarcely related to traditional civil rights, like campaign finance or gun control." As Blanks points out, with an assist from Adam Winkler, this isn't accurate. A key part of disenfranchising blacks during Reconstruction forward was ensuring that black people couldn't arm themselves in self-defense. As Blanks notes, "When marauding bands of hooded murderers ride the nights on horseback, the ability to protect one's family from them is very much a civil right—and the systematic removal of those rights doesn't require a special “angle” of jurisprudence to understand." Here's a little more context from Winkler, who notes that in some instances gun control was specifically implemented in order to deny...

It's Not Amnesty

Republicans have seized on the administration's shift on deportations -- nominally the same policy they've always had but one that's beginning to be reflected in what they're actually doing -- to argue that the administration is instituting "amnesty." Republican leaders reacted to Mr. Obama’s new policy by stepping up their rejection of his approach. Representative Peter T. King of New York, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the House, said the president was making “a blatant attempt to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal aliens in this country,” which he called “totally unacceptable.” Republicans were saying this even when the president was deporting more undocumented immigrants than any president ever, and it's not any more true now. What is occurring here is that deportations are deferred--and while some will be granted work permits, it does not grant citizenship, which is by any fair evaluation, the definition of "amnesty" in...