Simon Lazarus

Simon Lazarus is a lawyer, former White House domestic policy staffer for President Jimmy Carter, and a writer on the Supreme Court’s handling of legal checks on corporate power and other legal issues. 

Recent Articles

Center Court

Two weeks past Congress' spring break, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist still could not “with certainty” fulfill his oft-repeated vow to squelch Democratic filibusters of President Bush's judicial nominations. Skeptics in his own caucus deny him the 51-to-50 majority (including the vice president's tiebreaking vote) he needs to execute a maneuver known as the “nuclear option” -- a parliamentary power play to sidestep Senate rules requiring 60 votes to end floor debate. However tentative, such insubordination may seem startling. For four years, Senate Republicans have voted in virtual lockstep for each of the president's 214 court nominees. In fact, however, this first-term harmony was the aberration -- a lull in a bitter Republican family feud that has flared repeatedly since 1980, on the Supreme Court as well as on Capitol Hill and in the White House. Moreover, this internal Republican struggle has been the only front of the post...

The Constitution in Play

Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty By Randy E. Barnett, Princeton University Press, 357 pages, $32.50 Except for conservative activists and a few academics, virtually no one pays attention to right-wing legal theories. But if, as promised, George W. Bush in a second term hands the federal judiciary over to acolytes of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, conservative legal scholarship may prove an indispensable guide to where America is headed. The stakes involve far more than abortion rights and other high-profile legal issues. To understand the constitutional agenda percolating on the right, a good starting point is Randy E. Barnett's accessible new book, Restoring the Lost Constitution . Barnett, who teaches law at Boston University, dissects the constitutional arguments (fashioned by lawyers and judges over the past two-thirds of a century) for the principles of governance that have prevailed since the New Deal. Most Americans take these principles...