Court packing not completely off table

It should be no surprise to anyone that the Biden administration’s commission on Supreme Court reform seems poised to offer recommendations that will not endorse packing the court. After all, the commission was born of Joe Biden’s desire during the presidential campaign not to commit himself to adding new justices. It was populated with distinguished legal scholars and members of the bar, most of whom share a meaningful commitment to the preservation of our legal institutions.

Long-awaited malaria vaccine is available at last

For more than a year the world has been fixated on developing and deploying a vaccine for the coronavirus, but scientists have been working for decades to come up with a vaccine for another deadly infection — malaria. And now, finally, the long-awaited malaria vaccine is available.

Irwin’s advice: Avoid making assumptions

A couple of weeks ago, a former student of mine, now a high school teacher, asked her Facebook friends for the advice: “What advice would you give to a freshman in high school? Or what skills/habits/lessons do you think are important for high school freshmen to know?”

Congress itself should prosecute those it charges with contempt

If Steve Bannon and other former aides to President Donald Trump refuse to testify before the congressional committee looking into the events of Jan. 6, should they be held in contempt? Plenty of partisans seem to be rooting for this result. I’d suggest to this and future Congresses that witnesses should be held in contempt only if the members are willing to return to the days when senators and representatives did their own dirty work.

U.S. making progress against COVID-19

It’s too soon to declare mission accomplished, and the economy needs more time to recover. But the nation is approaching the winter holiday season in a better place with COVID-19. Now is the time to redouble the push for vaccinations and to make smart choices that’ll help America return to a sense of normal.

America must lead worldwide vaccine effort

As someone with a serious genetic respiratory disease, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and relief to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this past spring. I could not have imagined that, several months later, I would be risking arrest by locking arms with others to block the entrance of the pharmaceutical giant’s headquarters in New York City.

Democrats need spending priorities

As they prepare to spend $1.2 trillion on a bipartisan infrastructure deal, along with a vastly larger sum on a party-line social-policy bill, Democrats might be expected to defend their ambitions on the merits. Instead, progressive leaders seem to be focused on fiscal gimmickry.

Janet Yellen is right. The debt limit is dangerous and should be abolished

Congratulations to Congress for avoiding economic catastrophe for another month or so. The Senate voted last Thursday night to increase the nation’s debt limit by $480 billion, and the House is expected to do the same early next week. That’s just enough money to pay America’s bills until Dec. 3, when Congress will likely have this fight all over again while the nation teeters on the edge of default.

Let Abu Zubaydah testify about the dark days of US torture

Supreme Court justices appeared to agree last Wednesday that it’s time for the longest-held U.S. detainee at Guantánamo Bay to tell his story in court. The prisoner, Zain al-Abidine Muhammad Hussein, better known as Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded more than 60 times after being captured in a Pakistani military raid in March 2002. U.S. intelligence and FBI agents wrongly believed he was a top-level al-Qaida operative and subjected him to months of merciless torture.