On the September night that the state of Georgia put Troy Davis to death, a crowd of several hundred gathered at the Supreme Court in Washington to protest America’s continued practice of capital punishment. But they were in the wrong place. The protesters should have assembled 600 miles southeast, in Atlanta. The Constitution does not empower the Supreme Court to proscribe capital punishment or to regulate it out of existence, and those who ignore that point have made it increasingly expensive and less effective.
Every legal argument against the death penalty begins with the 8th or 5th Amendment. The 8th bars «cruel and unusual punishments,» and the 5th guarantees «due process of law» before a person can be «deprived of life, liberty or property.»… Seguir leyendo »
The international response to Somali piracy just became more complicated. Kenya’s second-highest court ruled last month that it has no jurisdiction to try pirates captured outside of Kenyan territorial waters. The decision underscores the need for a comprehensive international legal framework to address the challenges of modern-day piracy.
Thanks to a series of agreements since early 2009 with the United States, the European Union, China and other countries, Kenya has emerged as the favored spot for the world’s navies to set captured pirates ashore for trial and imprisonment. The Kenyan judiciary has done its best: Scores of pirates have been convicted and imprisoned.… Seguir leyendo »
When the Pentagon’s top brass announced last week that they no longer believe military unit cohesion suffers from the presence of openly gay men or women in the ranks, they effectively transformed a policy question into a legal one, to which the answer is clear: Congress can no longer mandate discrimination in the armed forces on the basis of sexual orientation.
In the 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law criminalizing same-gender sexual relations, reasoning that such conduct was part of a constitutionally protected liberty interest. The court also suggested that the Texas statute was vulnerable to challenge as a denial of equal protection of the laws.… Seguir leyendo »
Further escalating the crisis in the Caucasus, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia yesterday; their annexation by Russia is likely to follow shortly. Russian promises to withdraw troops to pre-conflict positions ring increasingly hollow. Russian officials have threatened to use nuclear weapons against Poland and Ukraine. All signs point to the Kremlin’s decision to launch a new Cold War.
The free world’s response has been feeble. Western spokesmen have warned that Russia’s aggression will hurt its international «standing.» NATO has suspended formal dialogue, and Russia may be blocked from entering the World Trade Organization. Moscow is clearly unworried by this talk.… Seguir leyendo »
Hamas claims that former president Jimmy Carter’s recent meeting with its leader, Khaled Meshal, marks its recognition as a «national liberation movement» — even though Hamas rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, which Hamas rules as an elected «government,» continue to rain down on Israel’s civilian population. While Hamas is clearly trying to bolster its legitimacy, the conflict along Israel’s southern border has a broader legal dimension — the question of whether, as a matter of international law, Israel «occupies» Gaza. The answer is pivotal: It governs the legal rights of Israel and Gaza’s population and may well set a legal precedent for wars between sovereign states and non-state entities, including terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.… Seguir leyendo »