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Russell Berman

Russell Berman is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers political news. He was previously a congressional reporter for The Hill and a Washington correspondent for The New York Sun.
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Obama's Police-Reform Proposal is Missing Key Points

May 19, 2015 President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing released its final, 116-page report on Monday after six months of work. And the boldest proposal made by former Attorney General Eric Holder was nowhere to be found. The study included dozens of recommendations for local law-enforcement agencies and the Justice Department...

De Blasio's America?

May 12, 2015 When Bill de Blasio takes the microphone on the Capitol steps Tuesday afternoon to unveil his progressive version of the Republican “Contract With America,” he’ll be continuing an odyssey that most people in politics find puzzling. Why is the mayor of New York, after less than a year-and-a-half on the...

Lynch Announces Justice Department Probe of Baltimore Police

May 8, 2015 Baltimore asked for a Justice Department investigation into its police practices, and now it is getting one. Loretta Lynch, just five days into her tenure as attorney general, announced on Friday that she was launching a formal inquiry into whether the Baltimore Police Department has engaged “in a pattern or...

Is the Defense Department Actually Messing with Texas?

May 5, 2015 Texas has the rare distinction among U.S. states of having been, for a decade in the 19th century, its own nation. That history of independence, that lingering pride of sovereignty, has never really left the state, and every so often it arouses a certain suspicion of outside forces—be it Mexicans,...

Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch Gets Her Vote

April 21, 2015 Loretta Lynch will finally get a Senate vote this week on her nomination to be attorney general, five-and-a-half months after President Obama chose her to succeed Eric Holder. The long-delayed vote will come after Senate leaders struck a deal on completely unrelated anti-trafficking legislation and as Republicans faced mounting pressure...

The War Against the Islamic State Will Go Undeclared

April 16, 2015 Congress has the power to expand or constrain the president's war-making abilities. But what if it declines to exercise it? It's becoming ever more clear that lawmakers lack the appetite to take responsibility for President Obama's war against ISIS. The White House, after a long delay, sent Congress a proposed...

Kansas's Failed Experiment

April 9, 2015 Surviving a tough reelection race, as Sam Brownback did in Kansas last year, can often be a cleansing experience for a governor. It should certainly bring relief. After all, Brownback managed to earn a fresh nod of support from voters despite a messy first term marked by a fiscal embarrassment...

How Red States Learned to Love the Gas Tax

March 31, 2015 Don't believe the axiom that Republicans reflexively oppose tax increases: Outside the Beltway, it just doesn't hold up. States across the country are raising their fuel taxes to pay for the upkeep of deteriorating roads and bridges, and in a surprising number of those states, the governors and legislative leaders...

Should Voter Registration Be Automatic?

March 20, 2015 "I forgot to register." It's one of the frequently cited reasons that people give every year for not voting in America, as well as a convenient excuse that the state of Oregon this week took it away from its citizens. Under a law signed Monday by new Governor Kate Brown,...

Is Biden Actually Running for President?

March 9, 2015 There's only one prominent Democratic contender who has traveled to all three early presidential primary states so far in 2015. It's not Hillary Clinton. Nor is it Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or even Martin O'Malley. It's Joe Biden, who may be running the most under-the-radar White House campaign of any...