Thursday, September 25, 2008

Knowledge is good.

But is the Electoral College? Come to discuss at Publius Society meeting this Sunday, September 28 at 7:30PM at Alexander Hamilton Institute in Clinton. Rides available from ELS at 7:15.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Publius Society

The Publius Society, which is co-sponsoring Sutton lecture, is a student group that sponsors student-faculty discussions about constitutional issues. The group meets over scrumptious desserts at the Alexander Hamilton Institute in Clinton. After the Sutton lecture, the next meeting will be on the evening of 9/28 to discuss the Electoral College. Publius is a very politically diverse and fun group. To get on their mailing list, contact Sanjana Nafday '10 (snafday) or join Publius Society Facebook group.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Fun Science

Since economics is the dismal science, I hereby declare political science the fun science. To help spread the word, I'll post news about interesting, timely, and accessible political science research. Today's Washington Post has a great example:

Political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler provided two groups of volunteers with the Bush administration's prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. One group was given a refutation -- the comprehensive 2004 Duelfer report that concluded that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction before the United States invaded in 2003. Thirty-four percent of conservatives told only about the Bush administration's claims thought Iraq had hidden or destroyed its weapons before the U.S. invasion, but 64 percent of conservatives who heard both claim and refutation thought that Iraq really did have the weapons. The refutation, in other words, made the misinformation worse.

A similar "backfire effect" also influenced conservatives told about Bush administration assertions that tax cuts increase federal revenue. One group was offered a refutation by prominent economists that included current and former Bush administration officials. About 35 percent of conservatives told about the Bush claim believed it; 67 percent of those provided with both assertion and refutation believed that tax cuts increase revenue.

In a paper approaching publication, Nyhan, a PhD student at Duke University, and Reifler, at Georgia State University, suggest that Republicans might be especially prone to the backfire effect because conservatives may have more rigid views than liberals: Upon hearing a refutation, conservatives might "argue back" against the refutation in their minds, thereby strengthening their belief in the misinformation. Nyhan and Reifler did not see the same "backfire effect" when liberals were given misinformation and a refutation about the Bush administration's stance on stem cell research.

The full paper is here. Also Brendan Nyhan, one of the co-authors runs a great blog, so check it out.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Judge Sutton to speak on Constitution Day

The Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton, judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, will present the inaugural David Aldrich Nelson Lecture in Constitutional Jurisprudence on Constitution Day, 17 September, at 7:30 pm in the Hamilton College Chapel. The lecture, sponsored by the AHI in conjunction with Senior Fellow Ted Eismeier and the Hamilton College government department, is open to the public.

Judge Sutton received a B. A. from Williams College in 1983 and LL. B. from the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University in 1990. He served as a law clerk for Judge Thomas Meskill of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Justice Lewis Powell and Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court. Nominated for the Sixth Circuit by President George W. Bush, Judge Sutton was confirmed by the Senate in 2003. He will be presenting on "Originalism or the Living Constitution? Interpreting the Supreme Court."

The lecture honors David Aldrich Nelson, whom Judge Sutton succeeded on the Sixth Circuit. Judge Nelson was graduated from Hamilton College, 1954, valedictorian of his class. He attended the Harvard Law School and read law as a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University, in England. He began the practice of law with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in Cleveland, Ohio, and served on active duty at the Pentagon as an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel of the Secretary of the Air Force. President Nixon appointed him General Counsel of the Post Office Department in 1969, and he later became Senior Assistant Postmaster General and General Counsel of the reorganized United States Postal Service. He rejoined his former law firm in 1972, remaining with it until President Reagan appointed him to the bench in 1985. Judge Nelson took senior status in 1999 but continued to hear cases until he closed his chambers in 2006. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He was a long-standing member of the Criminal Law Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He has served as a trustee of Hamilton College and as a member of the National Council of the Ohio State University College of Law.