Washington Ideas Forum 2011

The Lineup

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Scalia: Our Political System Is 'Designed for' Gridlock

    Scalia: Our Political System Is 'Designed for' Gridlock

    Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said the court has been hearing fewer cases in recent years in part because Congress is passing fewer major pieces of legislation than it did one and two generations ago. 


    Speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum, Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, said a main role of the court is "just figuring out" what a particular law means. But in recent years, "there are fewer major statues" to consider. "It takes about a decade to get all the kinks out of a new piece of legislation," he told the audience. Fewer major laws over the last decade or two means a lighter caseload. During the 1980s, the court would hear as many as 150 cases a year. In recent terms, the number has dropped to about half that.

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  • Couric: Women Are 'Held to a Different Standard'

    Katie Couric discussed her career across three network news organizations -- special correspondent for ABC News, former anchor of the CBS Evening News, and former Today show host on NBC -- in an interview at the Washington Ideas Forum that focused on her most famous recent interview with Sarah Palin.

    Katie Couric said her famous question to Palin, "What newspapers do you read?" was spontaneous and suggested that it was supposed to be for "B-roll" voice over. She expressed shock that Palin answered the question by saying "all of them" and refused to be more specific, a moment that made the vice presidential candidate appear anti-intellectual.

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  • Starbucks' Schultz: 'Solve the Problem!'

    "Solve the problem!" Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz repeated multiple times in an interview at the Washington Ideas Forum where he blasted partisan politics in Washington "We have a crisis of leadership and confidence in Congress and we're drifting toward mediocrity," he told Chris Wallace of Fox News. "This is not the America our parents promised."

    Schultz made news last month when he published an open letter asking business leaders to withhold campaign donations until Congress came together to pass a deficit reduction plan and acted on the jobs crisis. "I don't want to support the status quo," Schultz said. "I don't want to feed the beast."

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  • Political Reporters: Rubio Is Ideal GOP VP, Romney Likely to Win Nomination

    There was substantial agreement at a roundtable of political reporters at the Washington Ideas Forum that Mitt Romney is the likely Republican presidential nominee and that Herman Cain, who has recently surged in national polls, stands little chance of winning the nomination.

    As well, reporters repeatedly pointed to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida as the ideal Republican vice presidential pick, and weren't ready to discount Texas Gov. Rick Perry's prospects, thanks to his significant fundraising ability.

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  • Barnes: Executive Authority Needed to Do What Congress Won't Do

    In a conversation with National Journal Group's Editorial Director Ron Brownstein, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes defended the president's use of executive authority and statutory interpretation to try to untangle two of the thorniest policy issues tangled up in Congress even as public pressure for action on them has mounted.

    "We are moving forward based on the hue and cry from the states," Barnes said of Education Secretary Arne Duncan's move to override the provision in the 2004 No Child Left Behind Act that 100 percent of students be proficient in math and reading by 2014. Describing the law as a "slow-motion train wreck," Duncan had cited authority in the law for the executive branch approach in August, responding to concerns that the law was encouraging a lowering of standards in efforts to reach the proficiency benchmarks.

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