Muhammad Ali and the Law

The internet is replete with powerful tributes to Muhammad Ali, but I’ll humbly add the story of his legal travails. This is excerpted from a Federal Bar Council piece I co-authored with Steve Edwards on boxing law. Re-reading this five years later, I am struck by the final quote, in which Ali forgives an institution…

Beast of the Southern Wild: Trump in Biloxi

Medical school starts with the dissection of a human body, a grisly task that tests whether you’re for real. If you think politics matter, Trump is that cadaver. There’s a desire to dismiss him as a racist carnival barker and ignore what his campaign can teach us, but that’s like turning away at the first…

SCOTUS Housing Court in Session

This piece originally appeared in The Brooklyn Quarterly. As a national debate takes shape around how America has failed segregated inner-city communities like those in Baltimore, a quiet but historic debate is taking place in the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the most powerful anti-segregation tool in history: the Fair Housing Act. Since the Fair…

Kalief Browder’s Death Raises Bigger Questions Than Bail Reform

In New York City everyone charges around with important things to do all day, and individual tragedies rarely seep into our lives. Few stories, however, are more moving than the suicide of Kalief Browder, the 22-year old who never recovered from the physical and psychological brutalization he suffered during three years on Rikers Island awaiting…

Searching for Awe in New York Politics

According to psychologists Paul Piff and Dacher Keltner, when humans experience the “wonder and beauty of the world around them,” they are more generous to strangers; people feeling awe are more willing to appreciate our collective humanity. We obviously need more awe in New York politics, where we are stuck with small men and small ideas.…

When Fighting Corruption Is Like Playing Whack-A-Mole

(This is a guest piece by Jon Reznick, who is doing extremely innovative work following the money in New York politics.) New York fast approaches its six month milestone in the festival of Preetmas — the celebration of public corruption indictments that began in earnest with the arrest of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Democrat,…

Fun With Polling: A Deep Dive Into How New Yorkers Are Thinkin’

There’s been some buzz about the latest Quinnipiac poll numbers showing that Mayor de Blasio’s support has dropped to 44%. But does a number like that even mean anything? Much to their credit, Quinnipiac has provided a treasure trove of data, including reference points from past administrations, which allows us to take a closer look.…