Palestine 'Ceasefire', Reproductive Rights, Partisanship and the Court, Starvation and Arms Embargo Vote
Some news items since the last edition.
In this edition: (1) Israel’s annexation of Palestine goes into overdrive; (2) U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case that challenges Roe v. Wade; (3) Juris Lab inspects the data on the Supreme Court and partisanship; (4) UN Security Council to vote on lifting the arms embargo in South Sudan as humanitarian workers are being attacked.
The biggest story in the world right now, as one editor put it, is Palestine and Israel, which has led to a brittle ceasefire.
From the U.S. side, I view it as a predictable consequence of the Trump administration’s attempts to throw fuel on the fire, against which the Biden Administration had decided to do as close to nothing as it conceivably could in the early months of its tenure.
In addition to breaking contact with Palestinian representatives and slashing funding to aid, and infamously moving the embassy to occupied Jerusalem, Trump had American diplomats jet around to secure Arab support for Israel.
Analysts for some time have commented that the Biden Administration is not concerning itself with the matter, and that if they were inclined to they would have to criticize Israel somewhat. Presumably, the administration had initially hoped that the question would dissolve away.
Some other items that may have been drowned out:
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a case that challenges Roe v. Wade. The appointment of Amy Coney Barrett triggered concerns that a court with a clear conservative majority would be poised to gut the 1973 decision that is seminal for reproductive rights.
The Mississippi case before the court, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, No. 19-1392, banned abortions after 15 weeks and had very narrow exceptions, according to the New York Times’ reportage.
Sticking with the courts, Juris Lab, which specializes in empirical reviews, published another piece in its series about the partisanship of Supreme Court justices.
They found that Justice Coney Barrett disagreed with votes by lower court Democrat-appointed judges more frequently than any other justice at 94.44%. Comparatively, she disagreed with Republican-appointed decisions 66.67%, similar to Justices Roberts and Gorsuch. In fact, Juris Lab reports, “Each of the six more conservative justices disagreed with lower court democratic-appointed judges more frequently than with republican-appointed judges.”
This sort of consideration tends to get minimized or swept away, but it is significant.
The UN Security Council will vote on May 27th on the arms embargo in South Sudan. Amnesty International has rightly pointed out that the country hasn’t even come close to meeting the human rights benchmarks that would be required for lifting the embargo.
“State security forces repress freedom of expression including media freedoms and both state security forces and armed groups continue to violate international humanitarian law, in some cases amounting to war crimes, with impunity,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
Even a cursory glance would show you, for instance, that aid workers are still actively being attacked in South Sudan forcing them to cease activities even as the country faces severe starvation this summer.