The English government has taken steps to address a long-standing injustice common to both Great Britain and the United States: the conviction of thousands of citizens for being homosexuals. The new law of posthumous pardons is appropriately named the “Alan Turing law” after the genius who helped break the German code in World War II only to be hounded in peacetime by his country for his sexual orientation.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called this week for term limits for congressional members as part of his pledge “to drain the swamp.” He would limit members of the House of Representatives to a maximum of six years and limit Senators to 12 years in office. I have long opposed such term limits as curtailing the power of voters to choose their own leaders while undermining the effectiveness of Congress, particularly in the House.
There was an interesting segment on CNN last week where CNN anchor Chris Cuomo reminds viewers for it is illegal for them to “possess” Wikileaks material and that, as a result, they will have to rely on the media to tell them what is in these documents. The legal assertion is dubious, but the political implications are even more concerning. Polls show that many voters view the media as biased and this is a particularly strong view among supporters of Donald Trump who view CNN and other networks openly supporting Clinton or attacking Trump. More importantly, the mainstream media has reported relatively little from the Wikileaks material and has not delved deeply into their implications, including embarrassing emails showing reporters coordinating with the Clinton campaign and supposedly “neutral” media figures like Donna Brazile, formerly with CNN, allegedly slipping advance question material to Hillary Clinton. The credibility of the media is at an all-time low and most voters hardly feel comfortable with this material being reported second-hand or interpreted by the mainstream media. So is it really illegal for voters to have this material?
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
Yesterday, police in Turkey served arrest warrants on one hundred, eighty nine appeals court judges and prosecutors in the latest post-coup attempt purges. Since the July, 15th military coup, seeking the ouster of dictator Recep Erdogan, thirty-two thousand individuals are currently in jail and over one hundred thousand were sacked from their jobs under the questionable accusation of aiding dissident Fethullah Gulen.
Ankara’s chief prosecutor attacked the judiciary, members of the justice ministry, the Court of Cassation (Turkey’s top appellate court), and the Council of State (the highest administrative court).
The purges are part of seemingly never ending act of paranoia by a dictator bent on returning Turkey to authoritarianism.
There is an interesting ruling in Los Angeles where United States Judge Andre Birotte Jr. has lifted a temporary restraining order against a California synagogue performing Kapparot, a ritual where chickens are twirled in the air and then slaughtered. We previously discussed the controversies surrounding the Yom Kippur ritual.
Today I will have the honor of addressing the Seventh Circuit Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association in Chicago. I will be speaking at 2:30 pm on the Supreme Court’s history and current issues. I will be flying in this morning from Houston and look forward to seeing my home town. I will be in Chicago for the first two games of the National League Championship so I do not want any former classmates or childhood friends to hesitate to unload that extra ticket to Wrigley.
I have long been a critic of the Supreme Court justices engaging in public appearances where they hold forth on contemporary issues and even pending matters before the Court. I have been particularly critical of the late Justice Antonin Scalia and Associated Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who clearly relished appearances before ideologically supportive groups. I have called this trend the “rise of the celebrity justice.” Recently, Justice Ginsburg started another firestorm over public comments where she joked that she would move to New Zealand if Donald Trump is elected. Ginsburg apologized for that latest public controversy, though I discussed in a column how the incident spoke to a much larger problem on the Court. While she express “regret” in that instance, it did not deter Ginsburg in continuing to speak publicly and hold forth on contemporary issues, though she did make a curious distinction on this occasion.