The Supreme Court’s Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project decision, the most important free- speech case in 20 years, has had its first test in the appellate courts, and the results are remarkable. The 2010 case held that peaceful speech in the U.S. can be criminalized if it is “coordinated” to support a foreign terrorist organization named by Congress. Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit upheld the conviction of Tarek Mehanna, whose alleged crimes included translating pro-jihadi material from Arabic into English at his desk outside Boston and uploading it to the Web.
Fights over forming unions are hardball -- which is why the decision process is more heavily regulated than almost any other act of association in American life. One popular technique favored by unions is to promise management something in exchange for a promise to stay neutral and even allow organizers access to the workplace.
Carol Anne Bond tried to poison her husband’s girlfriend. Nothing wrong with that, right? Or at least nothing wrong as a matter of federal law, which ordinarily doesn’t concern itself with private assaults that take place in a single state.
The advocacy groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are accusing the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama of possible war crimes for drone strike campaigns in Pakistan and Yemen. These charges won’t have much weight within the U.S. -- after all, even Hollywood now portrays the way we tortured detainees, and no one has been held to account.
To understand the U.S. Supreme Court’s order on greenhouse-gas regulations, I had to read it three times -- and I’m a law professor. The complication isn’t a coincidence. It’s the very essence of the imprint that Chief Justice John Roberts is putting on the court.
All together now: We like democracy because ... why? The pathologies of the U.S. version are so obvious in the aftermath of the latest averted crisis that we need to ask ourselves whether it’s worth it -- and why electoral democracy hasn’t self-destructed before. Should Tunisians or Egyptians opt for the Chinese model, where rational autocrats may restrict rights, but no one threatens to blow up world markets in the name of an 18th-century tax protest?