The saga of judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the supreme court is over, and it is time for the credits to roll. Top billing will go to a Republican president and his allies in the Senate who were willing to allow norms to be steamrollered and justice to be short-changed in the pursuit of a reliable conservative majority on the court. But the greatest cost of all for Republican ambition will be paid by the supreme court in its most precious coin: legitimacy. The supreme court can enable or block sweeping changes in US life. The court’s legitimacy as it does so rests on the public’s faith that its decisions can cut both ways. At a time when partisanship filters public perception of nearly everything that happens in political life, the supreme court retains an aura of non-partisan rectitude that the other branches of government long ago squandered. Just as we accept losing democratic elections because we know we could win the next one, the supreme court has … [Read more...] about The cost of Kavanaugh’s victory? The legitimacy of the US supreme court
On Monday, the supreme court will reconvene after its annual summer recess. Gun control, immigration and transgender rights are set for argument and abortion will be there too – just in time for the Democratic convention in July. John Roberts, the chief justice, may yet be called to preside over a Senate impeachment trial. Hovering over this tableau are Merrick Garland’s confirmation that never was, the debacle of Bush v Gore in 2000 and Donald Trump’s 2.86m popular vote defeat. A minority has imposed its will upon the majority twice in less than 20 years, and there is sufficient reason to believe history may repeat itself next year. With America’s cold civil war getting hotter by the day, Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist and Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network jump headfirst into the scrum, with Justice on Trial. Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly of the New York Times stake their turf in the knife fight, meanwhile, with The Education of Brett … [Read more...] about Brett Kavanaugh and the supreme court: here comes trouble
The most important role of the federal judiciary, including the supreme court, is to check the political process by enforcing the constitution. At times, the court has performed this role admirably, as it did when it brought an end to the laws that created apartheid and required legal segregation of the races. At other times, the court has failed miserably – for example in continually upholding slavery before the civil war, and in allowing the government to intern 110,000 Japanese-Americans during the second world war. As the supreme court finished its term on Thursday, it once again had a mixed record of being willing to stand up to the political process. Most importantly, the court said federal courts cannot hear challenges to partisan gerrymandering. Political gerrymandering is when the political party that controls a legislature draws election districts to maximize safe seats for that party. For example, in one of the cases before the court, the Republican-controlled North … [Read more...] about The supreme court is supposed to be a check on the political process. Is it still?
Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev fought constantly with his American girlfriend and once tricked her into thinking he'd given her HIV during sex, a court has heard. A former roommate of Katherine Tsarnaeva, a Boston resident who fell for Tsarnaev, converted to Islam then married him, described their turbulent relationship to a jury in the city today. Amanda Ransom, 25, was called to the stand in the ongoing trial to decide whether to execute Tamerlan's brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Scroll down for video Sick joke: Tamelran Tsarnaev, left, tricked his then-girlfriend Katherine Tsarnaeva, right, into believing she could have caught HIV from him as a joke, her former roommate revealed in court Ransom, who was Tsarnaeva's roommate in her freshman year at Suffolk University, told how Tamerlan reduced his then-girlfriend to tears by making her think she could have caught AIDS from him. She said she overheard Tsarnaeva, whose maiden name is Russell after the two had sex one … [Read more...] about Court hears how dead Boston bomber tricked girlfriend into thinking he’d given her HIV and fought with her constantly – before she converted to Islam and married him
In April, at an event called Resist and Reimagine, PEN America invited Hillary Clinton to deliver the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write lecture. The former secretary of state, chosen by America’s pre-eminent literary organisation for her “human rights accomplishments”, engaged in a Q&A afterwards with Nigerian American novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Admirers of Adichie’s writings may have hoped that she would hold Clinton to account for her ruinous human rights record: her vociferous support for all the wars the United States has fought since 2001, costing almost $5tn, according to a recent report from Brown University, and causing the death of more than a third of a million people in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. During Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, the United States expanded its disastrous war on terror in Africa, most notably in Libya, Mali and Somalia. But Adichie wasn’t expressing her own anguish at this despoiling of several … [Read more...] about When Chimamanda met Hillary: a tale of how liberals cosy up to power