Charles Lipson

Peter B. Ritzma Professor Emeritus

University of Chicago

Frequent contributor: 
Real Clear Politics
Spectator | World
The Telegraph
Wall Street Journal

It’s time for President Biden to grant Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Secret Service protection

Presidential candidates don’t normally receive Secret Service protection until the summer before the election. But these are not normal times. They are dangerous ones — for candidates, elected officials and federal judges. When candidates face lethal threats, as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. did last week, it’s time to give them protection.

The decision is up to President Biden. If he orders the Secret Service to protect Kennedy, it’s done. If not, not. And “not” is Biden’s current decision. It’s a dan

Like mercenaries throughout history, Prigozhin became a threat to his client

“Never strike a king,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “unless you are sure you shall kill him.” Good advice, but it comes too late for Yevgeny Prigozhin, Russian leader of the Wagner mercenary army. Vladimir Putin, that old KGB man, already knew Emerson’s message, deep in his guts. He also knew the unstated part: if you try to kill the king and you fail, you will be the dead one.

Why does Hunter Biden matter?

Democrats constantly downplay Hunter Biden’s troubles and any felonies he might have committed. The legacy media avoid them entirely. What do they say when they can’t bury the story?

Their most common defense is also their most important: Hunter Biden’s troubles matter only if they can be linked directly to his father and specifically to Joe’s official position. So far, they say, those links are weak and unproven.

What other defenses do they put forward?

First, they say that whatever money Hu

‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ Is Authentic Voice of Populism

Oliver Anthony’s beautiful, angry song about the people who run roughshod over ordinary Americans and seek to control their lives is the clearest expression of populism since Donald Trump used his own voice to reshape the Republican Party.

Although the title refers to “rich men” and makes a great rhyme, it is also a screed against control by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats, who live in Washington and its wealthy Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs. “They all just want to have total control.” It is a powerful hymn to the forgotten, put-upon working man.

Hunter’s new special counsel also needs investigating

At long last, Attorney General Merrick Garland decided to appoint a special counsel to continue the investigation of Hunter Biden, his family and associates. His choice: US Attorney David Weiss of Delaware, who has been on the case for several years. He was originally appointed as US attorney by Donald Trump, a point Democrats always highlight without noting that he was promoted by both Democratic senators from the state.

Being named special counsel gives Weiss some authority beyond that of a r

The bipartisan stench in Washington

It’s hard not to weep for the Republic as trust in our institutions collapses — and collapses for good reasons.

Washington cannot retain public confidence when the frontrunners in both parties represent the dregs of public life and are credibly charged with serious malfeasance; when those charges have surrounded both parties’ presidential nominees in every election since 2016 and do so again for 2024.

It can’t retain public trust when the Department of Justice and FBI have sunk in public estee

Hunter’s grift was really the whole family’s business

The Biden administration has repeatedly told the public that Hunter’s lucrative consulting business doesn’t matter unless it is directly connected to his father. That’s true. They add the connection cannot be proved because it didn’t exist. That’s false, although the mainstream media has repeated it faithfully. But even the most feckless are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain this awkward lip-syncing with the White House press office.

Why NATO shouldn’t let Ukraine in just yet

Deciding whether Ukraine should eventually join NATO is hotly debated. There are good reasons to favor its inclusion, but not now, while the war is ongoing. It would transform the war into a conflict between nuclear-tipped Great Powers and vastly increase the danger.

Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, is not happy with the uncertainty over his country’s membership. Actually, that’s an understatement. He is furious, according to reports. But that’s the decision taken by the allies meeting in

Yes, Virginia, America Really Is a Good Country

Every year at Christmastime, news sites reprint the touching letter from a little girl, Virginia O’Hanlon, asking about Santa Claus and the columnist’s reassuring, fatherly response. He doesn’t smack her with the hard fact that Santa is a fictional creation. He points toward a deeper truth about our shared celebrations and the web of fond memories that bind together generations of children, parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents.

As we celebrate this Independence Day, we desperately need t

Are the walls closing in on ol’ Joe?

Confronted with devastating evidence of Biden family grifting, the president’s advocates are abandoning their old defenses and trying some new ones.

Some are attempting to change the subject. Nancy Pelosi offers a sterling example. Asked about the latest evidence connecting Joe Biden with Hunter’s corrupt schemes, she replied that she was too busy defending women’s reproductive rights. Not exactly a full-throated defense of the president. Still others are repeating the familiar refrain, “But Tr

Was Joe Biden in on Hunter’s grift?

The Republicans investigating the Biden family grift had a big week, not that you would know it from reading the New York Times or Washington Post. Just how big a week it will turn out to be depends on whether congressional investigators can actually prove what the two IRS whistleblowers allege.

The allegations, presented at a press conference by Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday, are based on testimony from those whistleblowers. They make several key points:

Trump's Indictment and the Collapse of Confidence in Our Institutions

Democracies cannot thrive – and may not survive – when citizens lose confidence in their basic institutions. That is exactly what is happening in America today. This loss of confidence and a bitter ideological divide are our country’s most profound challenges. Those challenges form the essential backdrop for understanding the controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s indictment.

Before turning to the charges facing Trump, consider their larger political setting, which begins with any democratic go
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