Charles Lipson

Peter B. Ritzma Professor Emeritus

University of Chicago

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

No Tax on Tips

Donald Trump is a master showman and marketer. He demonstrated those skills once again with his proposal to kill the tax on tips. It’s more than shrewd. It’s brilliant.

After the hoorays from waiters and other service workers died down, political analysts weighed in. Their conclusion: this is a very smart way to gain an edge in Nevada, where the presidential race is close. That’s certainly true. But Trump’s proposal is much smarter and will have a bigger impact, not because of its impact on tip

Could the Second Amendment and Supreme Court save Hunter on appeal?

Hunter Biden’s defense against felony gun chargesa faced two toxic problems — problems that, in the end, proved insurmountable. One was that the crime itself was straightforward. The other was that there was a mountain of evidence that Hunter actually committed the crime. A lot of that evidence came from Hunter’s own texts and his memoir.

He had the best defense money could buy. Abbe Lowell is tough, a shrewd and smart defense attorney, but he had almost noth

Biden acts on the border... sort of... maybe

The contrast between the two parties on illegal immigration couldn’t be sharper. Donald Trump erected a wall. Joe Biden erected a pole. Oops. Sorry. That should be “poll.” And Biden didn’t erect it. He was skewered by it.

Very few people think President Biden is doing a decent job at the southern border. More than twice as many think he has created a full-scale disaster. Those poll numbers aren’t just underwater. They’re headed for the Titanic in a flimsy submersible.

Faced with this disaster,

Trump has been found guilty of an unknown felony

The indictment and trial on a thin, jerry-built charge, the gagging of a presidential candidate in the midst of a campaign and the judge’s consistently biased rules amount to deliberate judicial interference in the 2024 election.

The process was led by a Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, who ran on the campaign platform of going after Donald Trump. Not going after a crime. Going after a person. That fundamentally contradicts the basic principles of Anglo-American law and justice. It is

Why Gaza and not the Uighurs?

The Babylon Bee, “the newspaper of record” for anyone with a sense of humor, posed a more interesting thought about the campus demonstrations than anything you can find in the New York Times or Washington Post. The Bee’s headline proclaimed, “Uighur Slaves Struggling to Keep Up with Demand for Palestinian Headscarves.”

Dark humor indeed. The headscarves, like the masks, serve one obvious function: they hide the faces of demonstrators. That’s why bank robbers wear masks, too. Students know they

Biden’s pause of weapons shipments to Israel is another misstep

President Biden just made a strong move against Israel, ordering the US government to stop shipping weapons supplies to the Israeli Defense Forces. It was his fine strategic mind at work, once again.

Usually the public defers to the president and his advisors on foreign policy, unless the issues become very prominent or the president forfeits their trust. Those are the two problems now facing the Biden administration. The war in Gaza is a major issue — and the public has zero confidence in Joe’

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s strategery

Dumb is dumb. Among the dumbest is a political strategy that harms your own side and infuriates your normal allies, the ones who stand with you on most issues.

That describes Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is a master of both bad ideas and bad strategies. She’s a bomb-thrower who lights the fuse, gathers her friends around her and then drops the bomb on her own toes.

She illustrated those qualities last week, not once but twice. First, she opposed a House bill on antisemitism, which passed easily

An explanation of the campus protests

A major reason for the campus uprisings is the prevalent ideology among students and faculty. It overturns the old views that “might makes right." Instead, it is the polar opposite, and just as wrong. It has become a given among elites that being poor and weak makes you “right” about your cause or claim. You don’t even have to be poor or weak. You can be granted that honorary status, even if you come from a prosperous family, simply by virtue of your claimed identity. And if your identity labels you as an oppressor, even though you have done nothing wrong, you can assuage your guilt by making common cause with those who call themselves “oppressed.”

Five Ways Campus Turmoil Hurts Democrats--and America

Higher education is sinking lower and lower. That’s bad news for our country, which has benefited enormously from having the world’s best system of higher education. And it’s bad news for Democrats, who face a tight election. Their party is closely tied to education at all levels, especially at elite universities. It is the party of experts, after all, and the party of the left. Universities are both. Moreover, since the Democrats control the Executive Branch, the public holds them primarily acc

NPR Scandal Should Kill Taxpayer-Funded Broadcasting

NPR is sinking in a scandal of its own making The problem goes beyond the obvious ideological bias. The larger problem is that, in a free society, the government should not be sponsoring any news content directed at domestic audiences. That’s why the Voice of America is prohibited from such broadcasts. Nor should the government be funding, directly or indirectly, any broadcast networks, as it does with both public radio and TV. Those should be entirely private. Underwriting educational content is fine, but it should be provided free to anyone who wishes to circulate it.

What Iran’s attack on Israel means for the Jewish state, America and the region

Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel Saturday night represents a dangerous escalation for three reasons. The first is its scale, some 300 drones and missiles. Second, it marks the first time the Islamic Regime has launched a lethal attack on Israeli territory from Iran itself, rather than through proxies. Most important of all is the combination of the first two: a major attack launched against Israel from Iranian territory. Although Israel, the US, the UK and, surprisingly, Jordan managed to s

Who Should Compete in Women's Sports?

The issue is not whether transgender people deserve the same respect given to all individuals. Of course, they deserve that respect. The issue is not whether transgender athletes can compete in sports. Of course, they can. The issue is WHO they should compete against. The crucial issue here is that it is simply unfair to ask biological women to compete against transgender women in sports where strength and body composition matter.

The Biden White House’s Beltway elitism shows on Easter

Among the many political advantages of the presidency, surely one is the ability to extend warm wishes to Christians, Jews and Muslims on their holidays. It’s a golden opportunity to invite a few for pictures at the White House and explain how much the holiday has always meant to you. Easy-peasy. For a Catholic president such as Joe Biden, expressing solidarity with co-religionists on Easter ought to be a well-practiced routine.

It took genuine incompetence and obtuseness for the Biden White Ho

Laken Riley’s murder and the long shadow of Willie Horton

The most effective ad ever made for a presidential election featured a violent, career-criminal, Willie Horton, walking out of a Massachusetts prison on a weekend pass. On one of those passes, he went on another vicious crime spree. George H. W. Bush used those crimes — and the lax policies that let Horton roam the country — to destroy his Democratic opponent, Massachusetts governor Mike Dukakis.

The past is prologue. Once again, voters are worried about their safety and angry about the open-bo

The thirty-two-hour work week: another of Bernie’s bad ideas

Bernie Sanders is the bottomless cup of bad ideas. He keeps refilling it. Take his latest venti, a law that says everybody gets to work thirty-two hours for forty hours pay. That’s a magical 25 percent pay increase. His next trick is to pull free steak dinners out of a hat.

What do you think would actually happen if such Bernie’s law were passed, enforced and found constitutional? (None of those would actually happen, of course.) The immediate effects would be another 25 percent price increase

How Fani Willis trashed her reputation

Proof is mounting that the DA ① hired Nathan Wade as a special prosecutor when he was already her lover, ② showered him with public money, ③ never questioned his vaguely-worded bills,④ benefited from his income by traveling with him on lavish trips, and then ⑤ lied, under oath, about their relationship and the financial benefits she received from it. Willis and her office should be disqualified from the RICO case and investigated for multiple crimes of their own

After Super Tuesday comes a spiteful campaign

Super Tuesday is over and so is the primary season. The parties’ nominees are now locked in. They were really locked in several weeks ago. Biden had no serious competition and Trump vanquished his two main rivals in the early voting.

Trump’s chief competitors were Florida governor Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and Trump’s UN ambassador. The former president effectively clinched

The message from Michigan

Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump won overwhelming victories in Tuesday’s Michigan primary, but their undeniable success doesn’t answer the hard questions facing each candidate in the general election. They won’t get the answers next week on Super Tuesday, either, even though both candidates are expected to win easily.

What are those questions, on which victory in November depends? Oddly, some are the same for Biden and Trump. Can they recapture the reluctant wings of their party, the factions th

Why Trump won South Carolina

So has Trump, and he left victorious.

The “primary show” will have a few encores, mainly on March 5 (Super Tuesday), when multiple states vote, but the outcome is certain. With his decisive win in South Carolina, Donald Trump effectively clinched the Republican nomination. He easily defeated his last opponent, Nikki Haley, in her home state.

Trump’s victory there follows those in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Trump has carried every state. No one else has come close.

Why did Trump win? For

How To Understand Trump's Jeremiad Against NATO Freeloaders

Donald Trump sent a shiver through official Washington and America’s friends around the world recently when he once again fulminated against NATO allies who refuse to pay for their own defense. His specific target was NATO members that failed to meet their pledge of spending at least 2% of their GDP on their military. Their “free riding,” he stressed, is costly to the U.S., Britain, Poland, and other NATO members who pay more than their share.

The problem is not a new one, nor an easy one to so

Fani’s ‘personal relationship’ sinks her and her office

Fani Willis, the district attorney for Fulton County, Georgia, went down in flames on Thursday. A crematorium wouldn’t have been more efficient. Her angry, self-righteous defense added a load of fossil fuel to the conflagration.

It happened at a judicial hearing before Judge Scott McAfee, who is presiding over the election-interference case Willis brought against Donald Trump and eighteen codefendants. The district attorney charged them with acting jointly to overturn the 2020 US presidential e
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