Betsy Clarke

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Legal Hysteria Spreads as the Court Revisits Roe
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Legal Hysteria Spreads as the Court Revisits Roe

It is hard to keep a straight face while reading the hysteria over the United States Supreme Court agreeing to hear Dobson v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Mississippi case challenging the state statute prohibiting nearly all abortions after

The ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Double Standard
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The ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Double Standard

Though the actions of President Donald Trump’s most foolish supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday were disgraceful, I can’t help but compare the news coverage of this event with the coverage of the Black Lives Matter/Antifa protesters in cities

Union Without Unity
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Union Without Unity

Break It Up; by Richard Kreitner; Little, Brown and Company; 497 pp., $30.00


Stamped on the United States’ three-dollar Continental bill in 1783 was the phrase, “The Outcome Is in Doubt.” A more appropriate phrase for our own time

Fatal Amendments
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Fatal Amendments

Enthusiastic defenders of the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution are fundamentalist cultists—and women and minorities are their victims.

At least, that is the thesis of University of Miami law professor Mary Anne Franks’ new book, The Cult of

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Supreme Court’s Drifting Days Are Done

This scrupulously objective book may be considered a gift to conservatives who have long despaired about the possibility of principled legal tenets regularly prevailing in Supreme Court opinions. For decades this long-suffering group has watched Republican Supreme Court appointees concur

No Justice, No Peace
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No Justice, No Peace

There is no pleasing Duke University law professor Brandon L. Garrett, author of the death-penalty-abolishment screed End of Its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice, though much about the current state of criminal justice should

Law and Liberty
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Law and Liberty

Let’s say that a state passed a statute proscribing teachers from teaching reading in a language other than English until the student had passed the eighth grade.  Violation of the statute was a misdemeanor.  The state’s rationale was to assure

The Court in Quandary
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The Court in Quandary

When the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s preliminary injunction against President Trump’s executive order restricting immigration from certain countries, it cited Trump’s statements about Islam as its rationale. American Muslims challenging the ban had alleged injury

Drain the Racket
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Drain the Racket

When Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was first passed, “help wanted: men” and “help wanted: women” ads were common in newspapers.  Private employers could hire and fire for discriminatory reasons.  Title VII made discriminatory ads and

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The Real Target of Public Schools

Last school year, my son—who was a fourth grader at a public school— came home with a red piece of paper entitled “Family Call to Action.” The letter on the front, preprinted by a corporation but signed by his teacher,

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The Politics of Rape

When an acquitted William Kennedy Smith emerged from the Florida courtroom last December declaring his faith in the system, a viewer could only query, “Why?” There stood a young man who was indicted for rape and forced to spend over

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Continuing Legal Education

Continuing legal education is imposed on lawyers by the Missouri Bar Association and the Missouri Supreme Court, and right before the November election I took a day to fulfill the requirements.

The only CLE show in town at the time

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Crime and Capital Punishment

“Missouri doesn’t have a death penalty,” a former prosecutor remarked to me last Christmas. He was wrong, as he well knew. The Revised Statutes of Missouri specifically allow for capital punishment. But as a practical matter, the man was right.

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The War Toys Meltdown

At Circus World, Mattel’s Rattlor, a Masters of the Universe character, glares at his potential purchasers. “Sounds fearsome battle rattle before attacking,” the package advertises. The action figure is an “evil snake man creature with the quick strike head.” Price:

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Passage Back from India

Identifying the patterns of life, tracking the process of modern thought and action, requires an author who knows a big idea from a little one, a tall order in a day of moral relativism and cultural confusion. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

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The Surley Skies & Other Civil Slights

What kinds of behavior does our culture encourage? The question is ever in style, and usually a pat and misleading answer is on the tongue of every commentator. Greed, bellicosity, phoniness, racism, sexism, and speciesism come immediately to their minds.

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Where’s the Baking Soda?

Nora Ephron is a genius at turning her personal life in to cash. In her essays, which she has collected in previous vol­umes, she has taken us to events and places including her college reunion, therapy group, and her amniocentesis.