The Great Debate

‘Living wage’ law is unconstitutional – if you ask lobbyists

By Ron Fein
October 6, 2014

Demonstrators rally to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15 for fast-food workers at City Hall in Seattle

Industry trade groups are now challenging Seattle’s new minimum wage law as unconstitutional. They claim the city’s $15 an hour rate violates the 14th Amendment. Passed just after the Civil War to ensure equal rights for the newly freed slaves, that amendment says no state may “deny to any person . . . the equal protection of the laws.”

What’s happening in Iraq? Some smart takes to help figure it out.

By Jason Fields
June 13, 2014

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The Iraq created in large part by the United States after the 2003 invasion appears to be collapsing.

A 14th Amendment for all centuries

By Garrett Epps
October 9, 2013

During the 1980s, a colorful Washington figure used to stand in Lafayette Square near the White House holding a sign: “Arrest Me. I Question the Validity of the Public Debt. Repeal Section 4, Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” That section reads: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” As far as I know, the whimsical “protester” was never arrested; he wasn’t breaking any law. Congressional Republicans, if they force the United States into default on its debt, will be.

A potential turning point for Syria

By Mona Yacoubian
September 11, 2013

In the dizzying debate over U.S. military intervention in Syria, one key point of consensus stands out: Both the Obama administration and Congress recognize that the resolution to Syria’s conflict must come through a negotiated settlement. Key international actors share the same conclusion.

Obama’s flawed case for a Syria strike

By Ari Melber
September 3, 2013

We should not bomb Syria without a vital national security interest and a precise foreign policy objective.

Civil wars and Syria: lessons from history

By Michael O'Hanlon and Sean Zeigler
May 22, 2013

A man at a site recently hit by what activists said was a Scud missile in Aleppo’s Ard al-Hamra neighborhood, February 23, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

Boehner resurrects the antebellum South

By Bruce J. Schulman
January 17, 2013

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is now in Williamsburg, Virginia, meeting with his House Republican conference at their annual retreat. The GOP House members have likely gotten over the initial shock of the November elections – in which President Barack Obama won more than 51 percent of the vote and the Democratic majority swelled in the Senate.

Syria as dress rehearsal: Securing WMD in midst of civil war

By Bennett Ramberg
October 19, 2012

As Syria’s civil war spirals into mounting violence, the Assad regime’s chemical weapons stockpile is generating increased anxiety throughout the Middle East and beyond.  Taking precautionary measures, the United States has reportedly placed 150 “planners and other specialists” in Jordan to work on contingencies — including the chemical weapons threat.