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Judiciary Reform Is Not Revenge

Following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Democrats, not surprisingly, are outraged at Republicans’ course reversal on filling a vacancy during an election year. Two proposals are gaining momentum among commentators and progressive activists: expanding the number of justices and instituting term limits. These ideas almost…

A Defense of Court Packing

It was only a matter of time, really. Ever since Senate Republicans refused to hold a vote on Merrick Garland four years ago, progressives have argued that Democrats need to wrest back control of the Supreme Court by packing it full of liberal justices. By…

The Election Is Already Under Way in America’s Courts

Although the election is not technically until November 3, election season is already well under way—most significantly in the dozens of election-litigation cases that are determining how people can vote, whether they can vote, and whether their votes will be counted. In the many cases…

Can Democrats Stop the Nomination?

Anyone confidently predicting one way or another whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can seat a new justice on the Supreme Court is blustering. Here is the only thing that’s certain: The coming fight will not be resolved by principle—no matter how senators talk or…

Four Reasons to Doubt Mitch McConnell’s Power

To use power, you must have it. On the night of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that a Trump nominee to replace Ginsburg would receive a vote on the floor of the Senate. That announcement promised a use of…

The Big Ten Just Followed the Money

The coronavirus pandemic is still ravaging America, just as it was in August, when the college presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten Conference decided against playing football in the fall. The only thing that’s changed is that the same leaders now feel far more…

The American Government Gave Up on Reality

Alexander Hamilton and his colleagues wrote 85 separate essays to make their case that Americans should take a risk and ratify the 1787 Constitution. Three sentences into the very first of those Federalist Papers, Hamilton made clear that he knew full well the stakes of…

TikTok Fangirls Are Making Teens Instant Stars

A girl sits alone on an ugly couch, stroking a plastic fish and mouthing the words to Jason Derulo’s “Ridin’ Solo.” Her eyes are bloodshot. She puts on sunglasses to cover them up, just as Derulo says he does in the song. This video, uploaded…

Even the Coronavirus Can’t Kill the SAT and ACT

Over the summer, more than 400 colleges decided to stop requiring the SAT or the ACT for admissions, because the pandemic had made taking the tests (or even finding a location to take them) so difficult. Some institutions, such as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, said…

The Great British Humbling

“The cretinous stupidity of it!” snaps the tragic hero in Joseph Roth’s The Radetzky March as he faces up to his likely death in a duel over his wife’s honor. He did not want the fight and no longer loves his wife anyway, but the…

Foreign Workforce in U.S. Shrinks as Foreign Students Stay Away

The pool of foreign workers in the United States is falling because fewer foreigners are enrolling at U.S. universities, according to a Bloomberg article that prompted many complaints by business and migration advocates. 0…

When Women Lead Protest Movements

One of the most striking things about the prodemocracy protests in Belarus has been the outsize role of women. A woman, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, has emerged as the unlikely political challenger to longtime Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Two of the country’s highest-profile opposition figures, who have…

Listen: Is Faster Better?

The federal government is telling states to prepare for a vaccine as early as November. But a major trial has been put on hold. On this episode of Social Distance, James Hamblin and Katherine Wells look to staff writer Sarah Zhang for answers—and updates on…

End the Nobel Peace Prize

Trolls are a Scandinavian invention, straight from the frigid sagas of Norse mythology, but Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a Norwegian parliamentarian, swears that he is not one. Observers of his antics this week could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. On Wednesday, he announced that he had nominated…

This Republican Party Is Not Worth Saving

I was a Republican for most of my adult life. I came of political age in 1980, and although I grew up in a working-class Democratic stronghold in Massachusetts, I found a home in Ronald Reagan’s GOP. Back then, the Republicans were a confident “party…

College Leaders Should Have Seen This Coming

On August 16, dozens upon dozens of students wrap around the barrier in front of Gallettes, a local haunt in Tuscaloosa. It’s the end of formal sorority recruitment at the University of Alabama. One student smirks; his eyes are covered by sunglasses, but no mask…

I Accidentally Pandemic-Prepped My House

My obsession with ventilation began long before the pandemic. Five years ago, when I moved from central Tokyo to the coast of Japan, a blanket of humidity seemed to levitate out from the sea and the surrounding mountains, wrapping everything I owned in a moist…

“Making America Again”

Today The Atlantic begins publishing the trio of stories that appear together on its October cover. Under the banner “Making America Again,” staff writers Adam Serwer and George Packer, along with the political philosopher Danielle Allen, consider the renewed and growing appetite for radical reform.…

Business Groups Warn H-1B Outsourcing Reform Is Imminent

The long-awaited reform of the H-1B outsourcing program that was promised by Donald Trump in 2016 has been sent to the White House for approval, according to a chorus of concerned corporate immigration lawyers.  0…

The Smart Way to Fix the Filibuster

If Democrats get their wish—a landslide victory leading to a Joe Biden presidency, as well as a Democratic Senate and House—they will face an immediate challenge to getting things done. No matter the size of that landslide, the Republican response will be undeterred: a united…

The Reinvention of Ed Markey

For the better part of a year, Senator Edward Markey was a legislator spiraling toward a forced retirement, a veteran progressive whose legacy in Massachusetts would soon be reduced to a footnote in the latest chapter of the Kennedy dynasty. Polls taken last fall showed…

President Trump Curbs ‘OPT’ Outsourcing of College Jobs

The federal government provided work permits to 537,000 foreign college graduates in 2019, so forcing American graduates to compete for decent jobs against migrants who gladly accept low wages and long hours in exchange for getting green cards from their employers. 0…

Listen: Plasma and Immunity

The writer F. T. Kola had COVID-19 in March, and she’s still dealing with the aftermath. She returns to the podcast Social Distance to ask about whether she should donate plasma, and if she should worry about “reinfection.” Also on this episode: Atlantic senior editor…

Your Tote Bag Can Make a Difference

My newly adopted home state is on fire again: Scorching heat and lightning strikes have sparked dozens of fires across California, burning an area the size of Rhode Island. Iowa is reeling from a deadly derecho. The mountain west is suffering through a severe drought.…

Women Scientists Have the Evidence About Sexism in Science

In the war against the coronavirus, leading women scientists are among the generals. For instance, Kimberly Prather of UC San Diego, has been a leader in establishing the role that airborne transmission plays in spreading the virus. The renowned UC Berkeley researcher Jennifer Doudna—a pioneer…

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