ACSBlog

  • November 17, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Chris Edelson, assistant professor of government, American University School of Public Affairs

    For much of American history, legal rules and cultural norms have deemed women unworthy of trust or responsibility.  The law often treated women as children, incapable of carrying out adult duties. Women did not have the right to vote until 1920. It took until 1961 for the Supreme Court to strike down laws automatically excluding women from jury duty.   Until 1979, state laws made it legally impossible for a husband to rape his wife. In the early 19th century, the doctrine of “coverture” provided that a married woman did not have legal status separate from her husband.  In the eyes of the law, married women were not their own person.  Women were barred—by law or by practice—from professions like law, medicine, and politics.

    We like to think those days are long behind us, that women are no longer second-class citizens relegated to a separate, lesser sphere. But it may be difficult, especially for men, to recognize the ways in which significant problems linger.

  • November 17, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Paul Gordon, Senior Legislative Counsel, People For the American Way

    *This piece was originally posted by People For the American Way

    Chuck Grassley wrote this about blue slips in the Des Moines Register in 2015:

    For nearly a century, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has brought nominees up for committee consideration only after both home-state senators have signed and returned what’s known as a “blue slip.” This tradition is designed to encourage outstanding nominees and consensus between the White House and home-state senators. Over the years, Judiciary Committee chairs of both parties have upheld a blue-slip process, including Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, my immediate predecessor in chairing the committee, who steadfastly honored the tradition even as some in his own party called for its demise. I appreciate the value of the blue-slip process and also intend to honor it.

    It turns out that only applies to a Democratic president’s nominees. On Thursday, Politico reported that Chuck Grassley is ditching the longstanding Senate blue slip policy and will be holding a hearing for David Stras, even though Stras does not have the support of both of his home state senators. Grassley laid out his justification for this seismic shift in policy in an op-ed in The Hill yesterday. An earlier PFAW post explained how Grassley’s comparison to the 2013 filibuster rules change made no sense. But that’s just one of the many holes in his argument.

  • November 16, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Victoria Bassetti

    *Victoria Bassetti is leading ACS' analysis of US Attorneys.

    ** View the full graphic here.

    If Donald Trump tried to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, it could be a lot harder than people think.

    White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders says he won’t do it.

    Last Monday, she was asked: “Is the President going to rule out, once and for all, firing [Special Prosecutor] Robert Mueller.” 

    “There's no intention or plan to make any changes in regards to the special counsel,” she replied.

    Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn), fresh off warning that the President might start World War III, can’t imagine he’ll do it.

    Last Tuesday, a reporter cornered the president’s harshest Senate critic in a hallway and posed the following: “There are stories that the President is thinking about firing Mueller. Do you think that’s appropriate?”

    The tired-looking Corker replied: “I can't imagine there’s any truth or veracity to the president thinking that he would consider firing Mueller. ... Hopefully the question being asked is a question about something that cannot possibly be reality.”

  • November 16, 2017
    Guest Post


    by Celine McNicholas, Labor Counsel, Economic Policy Institute and Sharon Block, Executive Director of the Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School

    After the news that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein had been sexually harassing and assaulting women in the movie industry for decades, millions of women shared their stories with the hashtag #metoo. The social media campaign shined a light on a fact that to many women: sexual harassment is a daily fact of life in the workplace. Many American corporations foster—or at least tolerate—widespread, egregious sexual harassment of their workers, even all these years after U.S. law first recognized sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination. As the Supreme Court considers the first case of its term, National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil, we hope they have read the stories about Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly and other men, as well as the millions of people who spoke up online.

  • November 15, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Katherine Oh, Political Researcher & Strategist, American Civil Liberties Union

    The surprising highs of voter participation in recent state and local elections, record numbers of women running for office, and even "not usually a sign guy" protestors marching in the streets are promising signs not just for American democracy and civil society in the new era under President Trump. They're signaling the moment may be ripe for leveraging activist and grassroots energy to bring the National Popular Vote Compact into effect.