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Law

"Scales of Justice Brisbane Supreme Court" by Sheba

This is a brief reply to the review of my monograph, Transnational Networks and Elite Self-Empowerment: The Making of the Judiciary in Contemporary Europe and Beyond (OUP 2019) by LSE Human Rights Prof. Conor Gearty, Vice-President of the British Academy. I am grateful to Prof. Gearty for reviewing my monograph at such length. I am replying here in hopes that the exchange may advance our understanding of outstanding questions about Judiciary institutional design (and designers)—a topic that receives insufficient attention.  This is a summary of my full reply to Gearty, which is accessible here. Gearty and other critics are invited to rebut my challenges to the legitimacy and desirability of the judicialisation of politics. First, I will try to summarise …
"US Supreme Court" by zacklur

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) is the latest in a series of failed attempts by Republicans to repeal the law. From its passage in 2010, the ACA has been responsible for reducing the uninsured population significantly through its key provisions requiring individuals to purchase health insurance, extending coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, and expanding Medicaid for low-income Americans¹. Republican legal challenges to the ACA started within hours of its signing. Filed by states, associations, and individuals, several cases made it to the Supreme Court, which rejected challenges to the ACA in 2012, 2015, and, most recently, June 2021. These legal defeats coincide with other failed attempts by …

In early May, the international community held its breath as China’s Long March 5B rocket plummeted uncontrollably back to earth. While the debris landed safely in the Indian Ocean, silencing concerns about a potentially dangerous impact, the increasing frequency of uncontrolled re-entries highlights the importance of state responsibility in safely disposing of space debris. This is not the first time China neglected to dispose properly of its orbital debris. A similar incident occurred this time last year when an out-of-control Chinese rocket–and the largest human-made object ever to return to earth uncontrolled from space–dropped debris on Cote d’Ivoire and in the Atlantic Ocean. While most debris disintegrates upon atmospheric re-entry, some components with higher melting points can persist and penetrate …

The Guardian recently reported that the Cabinet Office is blocking access to some of the papers of Lord and Lady Mountbatten. The papers were ‘acquired for the nation’ in 2010, with the assistance of (what is now) the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Announcing the grant, the Fund stated: “[T]he University of Southampton is on track to ensure that the records of those who stood at the very forefront of British political life will be preserved for future generations of historians, scholars and the public to explore and enjoy.” The Guardian reports that, despite an order from the Information Commissioner, the university has refused to allow access to some of the Mountbatten MSS, in particular the Mountbattens’ diaries and some correspondence. Although the reports do …
Woman receives an injection

As we enter 2021 and the Covid-19 pandemic rumbles on, optimism for the coming year relies heavily on successful vaccine rollout. Attention is now increasingly focussed on the practicalities of distribution, which will involve prioritisation and difficult policy decisions. Few argue about those groups right at the top of the list like care home residents, or healthcare staff working in high risk settings. However, an important population is less on the radar: people in prison. There are around 11 million people in prison around the world. Most will be in environments that make social distancing and other measures to reduce transmission, now a routine part of day-to-day community life for most, much more challenging. Such conditions can make prisons vulnerable …
Marihuana plants

Election day 2020 was another big moment for drug policy reform in the US as voters across diverse states rejected the status quo and endorsed liberalizing drug laws. Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota legalized marijuana for recreational purposes as the news proclaimed voters had “just said no to America’s war on drugs,” calling it “a banner year for drug decriminalization.” That election day brought significant wins for drug policy reform is not new. Beginning in 2012 with Colorado and Washington state, 13 out of the 15 states that have legalized recreational cannabis thus far have done so through ballot measures.[1] In 2014, Alaska and Oregon followed suit along with Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine and California in 2016 and Michigan …

You probably don’t think too much about the person who copies your keys at the local shop, repairs your shoes or takes your new passport photo. But if that shop is owned by the Timpson Group, chances are their management has.  Timpson is one of a few employers in the UK actively recruiting and training people within prisons to work in their shops, which include Max Spielmann, Timpson Locksmiths and Snappy Snaps. Under an effort by CEO James Timpson, the company currently employs about 600 ex-offenders. This training and employment scheme is the subject of A Second Chance, a new full-length documentary, directed by filmmaker Rex Bloomstein and co-produced with Justin Temple. Bloomstein, who has made films on the criminal justice system since the 1970s, …

President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court has unsurprisingly been greeted by delight from the Right and despair from the Left. The chance to remake the image of the Supreme Court for decades to come with the nomination of a relatively young and reliably conservative justice is dreaded by some and celebrated by others. The significance of Kavanaugh’s – virtually guaranteed – confirmation to the Supreme Court is compounded by the fact that he would replace justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy has long been the decisive “swing vote,” who sometimes siding with the four conservative justices and sometimes with the four liberal justices. Being the deciding vote on many cases, Justice Kennedy played an outsized role in …