Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is editor at large of The American Prospect. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Questions for Kavanaugh

(Alex Edelman/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
From what we’re now learning about Brett Kavanaugh, it’s clear he thinks indicting a sitting conservative president would be a disaster. Whether he feels that way about a sitting liberal pope—in this case, Francis—isn’t so clear. President Trump’s pick to succeed Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court has written a great deal about how our system needs to defer to presidential power, and it’s also apparent that he’s a charter member of the Antonin Scalia/Pope Benedict Society for the Preservation of Patriarchal Norms (the Older, the Better). One newer norm that Kavanaugh looks poised to uphold is that of answering no substantive questions during his upcoming Senate confirmation hearings. A newly released study documents that Trump’s previous court pick, Neil Gorsuch, set the record for the highest percent of questions evaded during his hearings. Kavanaugh may well try to shatter Gorsuch’s record, but if the senators on the...

Janus: Son of Bush v. Gore

I. Son of Bush v. Gore Mitch McConnell is a big winner today. His refusal to let the Senate consider Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court seat opened by Antonin Scalia’s death led to Neil Gorsuch’s accession to Scalia’s seat, which in turn led to the spate of reactionary decisions the Court has since delivered. But no decision has mattered more to McConnell than today’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME , for this decision has a direct and immediate effect on the partisan balance of power. By stripping public-sector unions of the right to collect the fees from non-members they are obligated to represent in bargaining and grievance procedures, the five Republicans on the high court have effectively compelled the unions, which constitute some of the largest and most effective election-time campaigners for progressive causes and candidates, to lose the resources that enable them to do what they do. And what is it that the major public-...

Barbarians in Robes

The Committee to Defend Rich, Bigoted Old White Men (Preferably Patriarchal in the Pope Benedict Mode, and Zealously Republican)—otherwise known as the five Republican justices on the Supreme Court—is on a roll. The Committee is closing out this session with a bang, delivering a satchel of decisions that harks back in its economics to the Lochner court of 1905 (which struck down New York’s law that said bakers couldn’t be made to work more than ten hours a day or 60 hours a week, because it violated the free speech of employers) and in its racial attitudes to the Dred Scott court of 1857 (slightly updated for appearances' sake). This spring, the Committee ruled that employers could force their workers to resolve disputes with their employer by going through an employer-dominated arbitration process, rather than go to court via class-action suits. The decision flatly ignored the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which gives all employees, union or not, the...

Will Another D.C.-Based Government Disdain Democratic Norms?

trickle-downers_54.jpg When is a free and open election invalid? Apparently, when elected officials don’t like the result. That’s the philosophy of Maine’s Trumpier-than-Trump Republican Governor Paul LePage, who has refused to expand Medicaid in his state despite the legally binding vote of Maine’s citizens, who passed a Medicaid-expansion initiative. LePage has been ordered by the courts to implement the expansion, but still refuses. Mercifully, LePage is termed out of office at year’s end. Something like that could never happen in the nation’s most liberal jurisdiction, right? Well, maybe it could. On Tuesday, voters in Washington, D.C., passed an initiative that would raise the minimum wage of tipped workers—currently, only $3.30—to the same level as the city’s non-tipped workers: $15, to be phased in over the next eight years. Unlike the Maine initiative, this one (Initiative 77 by name) was only advisory, but avowed liberals...

The Democrats' Response

Far from giving Republicans bragging rights, the Tax Act presents Democrats with a potent line of attack. But can they stay united when they put forth their own alternatives?

This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . On a summer day in 1981, a disconsolate House Speaker Tip O’Neill sat “slumped in a chair far to the rear of the House floor” (as Thomas Edsall recalled the scene in his 1984 book The New Politics of Inequality ) and watched his colleagues vote to end the New Deal order. The vote was on a Republican substitute to a tax bill sent to the floor by the Democratic majority on the House Ways and Means Committee; the substitute cut taxes by $749 billion, bringing down the rate on the highest incomes from 70 percent to 50 percent, lowering the capital gains tax, and reducing the inheritance tax—the first tax reduction since the 1920s, Edsall wrote, “skewed in favor of the rich.” To O’Neill, the unkindest cut was not that the Republican measure passed, but that it passed with the support of 48 of his fellow House Democrats. Most of them represented...

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