Nicholas Frankovich considers whether St. Nicholas really existed:
Nicholas, bishop of Myra and a saint in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, was born in the third century and died in the fourth. There, I said it. That he ever lived at all was questioned by some historians in the twentieth century. In due time, scholarly skepticism about St. Nicholas as a historical figure gave birth to the popular belief that he had been proven fictional, like Santa Claus.
Also today, Matthew J. Franck on how the paradox of same-sex marriage political gains:
In recent same-sex marriage cases, those who seek to overturn traditional marriage laws have tried to persuade courts to treat homosexuals as a suspect or quasi-suspect class, thus leveraging the legal analysis into one of the harder levels of scrutiny, or at least an “intensified” rational basis review, and improving their chances of victory. Two recent decisions by federal district court judges in the Ninth Circuit—one in Hawaii by Judge Alan Kay on August 8, the other in Nevada by Judge Robert Jones on November 26—have rejected this gambit, rightly holding that laws restricting marriage to one man and one woman need only be shown to have an ordinary rational basis, that this is easily shown, and that they involve no invidious discrimination.
And in our third feature, Russell E. Saltzman on why congressional gridlock is good:
I’m a “stop and smell the roses” political sort of guy. Especially if they are government roses, I want to know how much it will cost to cultivate them. Really, I’d happily settle for marigolds. I like that legislation is supposed to go along in a deliberately slow-motion process. The trouble seems to come from fast-tracked legislative impetuousness, and even no legislation is still a legislative decision. That’s what checks and balances are supposed to do: prevent precipitous action and sometimes guarantee no action at all. That is how we set it up.