Stephen L. Carter is a professor of law at Yale, where he teaches courses on contracts, professional responsibility, ethics in literature, ...

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter

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Stephen L. Carter: How Christmas and its meaning prevail

December 24, 2014

Not long after some grumpy administrative Grinch at the University of Maine warned employees against the placement of "religious-themed" decorations on campus including candy canes, NASA announced that Christmas lights have become so bright that they are visible from outer space. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration released satellite imagery, both still and video, to show how much U.S. cities glow during the holidays.

  • Vietnam Syndrome still plaguing U.S. public

    August 1, 2014

    This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which led to the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which led to the escalation of the Vietnam War. It's a history worth remembering at a moment when the United States faces so many crises in so many corners of the world.

  • Liberals try to make 'profit' a dirty word

    July 21, 2014

    It's been weeks since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the contraception-mandate case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, but the pace of urgent fundraising appeals has barely slackened. Several times a day, another pops up in my email inbox. Some are from politicians; some are from advocacy groups; some are from various organs of the Democratic Party.

  • Jack Bauer finally gets the villain he deserves

    July 1, 2014

    I don't know how to express the delight I felt when Cheng Zhi showed up just before the 48-minute mark of the recent episode of "24: Live Another Day." There we were, getting toward the end of the "8 to 9 p.m." hour, only two episodes left in a down-and-up season, and, at last, an actual villain emerged. My joy in seeing Cheng stemmed from the fact that he is neither an insane schemer (see: Margot Al-Harazi, who died last week) nor a craven mumbler (see: Adrian Cross, who died this week). Cheng, instead, is implacably evil.

  • Facebook case presents challenge to free speech

    June 20, 2014

    The U.S. Supreme Court announced this week that it will hear the appeal of one Anthony Elonis, a Lower Saucon Township man who is serving a 44-month federal prison sentence for posting on his Facebook page threats against his ex-wife.

  • Obama's foreign policy echoes Bush doctrine

    May 29, 2014

    Talk about deja vu. The doctrine laid out in President Barack Obama's commencement address Wednesday at the U. S. Military Academy sounded eerily familiar. Obama insisted upon our willingness to use force to deter our adversaries, and, when necessary, to strike them before they strike us. He then had this to say:

  • Class of 2014, thanks for not disinviting me

    May 16, 2014

    Members of the Class of 2014, I salute you. My warmest wishes on the occasion of your graduation from this fine institution.

  • What would Thomas Piketty think of affirmative action?

    April 24, 2014

    Reading the Supreme Court's decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, I couldn't help thinking of Thomas Piketty's controversial new book, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century." Where would Piketty stand on affirmative action?

  • Don't blame voters for low turnout

    April 4, 2014

    Suppose nobody votes this year. On Nov. 4 the doors to the polling places are thrown open, and there isn't anyone in line. No absentee ballots are filed. No one litigates, charging either fraud or discrimination, because there weren't any voters.

  • U.S., West have moral authority to criticize Putin over Crimea

    March 14, 2014

    In one of those peculiar ironies of our self-involvement in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Crimea, it is the moral authority of the United States that is evidently in play. "U.S. Lacks Moral Authority to Criticize Russia for Intervening in Ukraine," reads the headline on a recent blog post at the Scientific American. Adds Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post: "The United States, frankly, has limited standing to insist on absolute respect for the territorial integrity of sovereign states."

  • Hecklers have a special place in a democracy

    March 10, 2014

    It might have escaped your notice that a heckler interrupted oral arguments at the Supreme Court the other day. He wasn't the first protester to sneak inside, and he won't be the last. The main reason anybody paid attention and not many did was that his rant was deleted before the court's official audio recording of the argument was released to the public. A handful of bloggers briefly debated the sleepy issue of whether the justices were engaged in censorship before returning to their regular clashes over the great issues of the day.

  • Fighting the world's most dangerous software

    February 14, 2014

    At what point does a cyber-attack become an act of war?



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