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Their Views

Regulatory overkill

WASHINGTON — Occasionally, the Supreme Court considers questions that are answered merely by asking them. On Tuesday, the court will hear arguments about this: Should a government agency, whose members are chosen by elected officials, be empowered to fine or imprison any candidate or other participant in the political process who, during a campaign, makes what the agency considers “false statements” about a member of the political class or a ballot initiative?

A contrary view on the Pulitzers

WASHINGTON — On Monday, my Washington Post colleagues celebrated winning the Pulitzer Prize for public service along with the Guardian newspaper for their reporting on Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency.

The real meaning of Easter: Candy

I love Easter candy. I love biting the ears off chocolate bunnies and picking out all the red jelly beans. I even like marshmallow Peeps. And, when you’re in front of the Easter display at the supermarket — thinking, “Creme-filled eggs for a dollar? Must buy them all!” — it’s sometimes hard to remember that Easter is about family and tradition and, yes, even some religion, too.

Understanding our divisions

WASHINGTON — In a 2006 interview, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said the Constitution is “basically about” one word — “democracy” — that appears in neither that document nor the Declaration of Independence. Democracy is America’s way of allocating political power. The Constitution, however, was adopted to confine that power in order to “secure the blessings of” that which simultaneously justifies and limits democratic government — natural liberty.

At HHS, Sebelius wasn’t the problem

Last week brought the news that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is leaving the Obama administration, to be replaced by Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell. Though we’ve consistently opposed HHS policy during Secretary Sebelius’ tenure, we can’t help but feel some measure of pity for the former Kansas governor, who served as the public face of one of the most spectacular public policy failures in American history. While our sentiments might not quite reach the level of sympathy, we can certainly understand why she wanted out.

NATO must get back in business to deter Russia

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine marks a paradigm shift, the end of trust in the post-Cold War order. This order, based on respect for territorial sovereignty, the integrity and inviolability of borders and a belief relations can be built on common values, has collapsed. International treaties no longer hold, and the use of raw force is again legitimate. In its annexation of Crimea, Russia threw the rulebook out the window. The world is back in a zero-sum paradigm. This is not about only Crimea or relations between Ukraine and Russia. The shift changed the assumptions underlying European security and dealings between democratic states and Russia.

When geography matters

WASHINGTON — Igor Stravinsky, the Russian composer, said of Poland, perilously positioned between Russia and Germany: “If you pitch your tent in the middle of Fifth Avenue, it is quite likely you will be run over by a bus.” Poland has been run over hard and often; indeed, between 1795 and 1918 it disappeared from the map of Europe.

Malaysia’s catastrophe

If you are perplexed by Monday’s announcement about the missing Malaysian airliner, no wonder. Prime Minister Najib Razak declared the flight “ended” in the southern Indian Ocean, and the state-owned airline said “we have to assume beyond a reasonable doubt” the plane went down in the ocean, far off its course to Beijing. Both announcements were vague; neither said much about why or how.