Article I Section 8 of the United States Constitution grants Congress the power to “make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.”[i] With this grant of power, Congress created the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) exercised through the creation of American Military Courts-Martial.[ii]
Unbeknownst to many Americans, military personnel are held to laws that are not founded on the traditional common law system. Soldiers can be punished for behavior that has little to no consequence in normal civilian society. Conduct such as adultery, dueling, and “conduct unbecoming of a gentleman or an officer” are all punishable crimes in a military court-martial.[iii]
The court-martial process is also one unparalleled by the common law justice system taught in American law schools. Many scholars are concerned that the UCMJ affords soldiers less due process rights than a typical civilian in a federal or state court.[iv] Among these “reduced rights” are limited safeguards against command bias and the potential for false conviction through what is known as “unlawful command influence.” The system is extremely hierarchical in the sense that all panel members of the court-martial “jury” are under the control of the commander.[v] This system leads critics to believe that the panel members will choose to convict the defendant based on the knowledge that the commander brought the charges against him and thus wanted the accused to be convicted.
I had to watch this video twice. The first time around I was staring at Daniel’s Star Wars collection.
In our concern for the rights of people with mental illness, we have come to neglect the rights of ordinary Americans to be safe from the fear of being shot — at home and at schools, in movie theaters, houses of worship and shopping malls.
Boshra, a secular, independent and patriotic Israeli Arab woman, defies stereotypes. She grew up in a liberal home in the Arab village of Deir Hana, in the Galilee. Her first contact with Jewish Israelis came at the age of 18, when she enrolled in Haifa University. There, she had to speak Hebrew for the first time. And it is there that she started to develop her political conscience and her attachment to the State of Israel.
‘I am married and doing a master’s degree [in Tel Aviv]. I am a liberal, free woman, with all the rights that I could enjoy. I compare myself to other women my age in Jordan, the territories, Egypt, any Arab country. They don’t have the rights that I have: freedom of expression, the right to vote. They are forced into marriage at a young age, and religious head covering, despite their own convictions. With me it’s the opposite; I have everything.’
Bad, bad, bad craziness emanating from the GOP…
An official from Missouri’s Republican Party on Monday defended Senate candidate Todd Akin after he suggested abortions should not be allowed in any case because victims of ‘legitimate’ rape victims could not get pregnant.
GOP 4th Senate District Committeewoman Sharon Barnes told The New York Times ‘that abortion is never an option.’
In an interview with KTVI-TV over the weekend, Akin had said that ‘the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,’ referring to pregnancy after so-called ‘legitimate rape.’
Barnes ‘echoed Mr. Akin’s statement that very few rapes resulted in pregnancy,’ according to the Times, and she added that ‘at that point, if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don’t kill it.’
‘That’s more what I believe he was trying to state,’ she insisted. ‘He just phrased it badly.’
Governor Andrew Cuomo made same-sex marriages legal in New York on Friday, a key victory for gay rights ahead of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
New York will become the sixth and most populous U.S. state to allow gay marriage. State senators voted 33-29 on Friday evening to approve marriage equality legislation and Cuomo, a Democrat who had introduced the measure, signed it into law.
“This vote today will send a message across the country. This is the way to go, the time to do it is now, and it is achievable; it’s no longer a dream or an aspiration. I think you’re going to see a rapid evolution,” Cuomo, who is in his first year of office, told a news conference.
“We reached a new level of social justice,” he said.
There has been little opposition to the decision by Pakistan’s Supreme Court to allow a third gender category, apart from male or female, on the national identity card. The BBC’s Aleem Maqbool meets transgendered people in Karachi buoyed by the ruling, but sceptical about whether it can really end the isolation they face.
In the back streets, in a squalid neighbourhood of Pakistan’s largest city, is a tiny, shabby apartment.
It is where we find “Shehzadi” getting ready for work.
Wearing a bright yellow dress, and scrabbling around her make-up box, she is doing her best to cover up her decidedly masculine features.
Shehzadi is transgendered: physically male, but psychologically female.
It’s springtime, and marriage is in the air. Major constitutional battles about legal recognition for the marriage rights of same-sex couples are wending their way through the federal courts. Two couples are challenging California’s marriage restrictions; several other couples, in a series of lawsuits around the country, are challenging the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) for denying federal benefits to couples validly married under state law in states such as Massachusetts (which issues marriage licenses to gay couples) and New York (which recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere).
Along the way, supporters of marriage equality have commonly invoked the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in the aptly captioned Loving v. Virginia. There, the Court held that Virginia’s criminalization of interracial marriage violated two provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment: the equal protection clause, because Virginia’s law could be explained only as the product of illegitimate racial prejudice, and the liberty element of the due process clause, because Virginia denied Mildred and Richard Loving “the freedom to marry” that “has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.” Restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples likewise relies on prejudiced, or empirically dubious, propositions about gay people and their families, and denies them a status that confers dignity and a bundle of tangible entitlements central to modern life.
Ta-Nehisi Coates stumbled across the anti-abortion crowd that features themselves as the new John Browns last week after his analysis of Rick Santorum’s statement.
The controversial historical anti-slavery figure is not the best example of a hero. Before the Harper’s ferry event there was the massacre, and the religious zealot who chopped off husband’s and son’s heads with claymores in front of their wives and daughters was also a terrorist. This is exactly why Scott Roeder & Bloody Randall Terry types misapply the lessons learned and twist the anti-slavery analogy to try to apply it to abortion.
Last week, after my row with abortion and slavery, I received a number of missives from people quick to note their alleged lack of sympathy for the likes of Rick Santorum, but quicker still to insist that one of the most prodigious slave societies in human history really was a lot like the termination of fetal life. To wit:
Your main logical flaw seems to be here: you fail to recognise that there is more wrapped up in the statement “the right to exist” than its most literal reading. Your argument is correct if the most literal reading of the statement — that “the right to exist” means simply “the right to be alive” — is the one that Mr. Klein meant. You make it quite clear that slaveholders wanted their slaves to remain alive. This reading, however, cannot be what Mr. Klein meant. I would suggest that what he meant was something more like “the right to exist as a full human person, with the right to exercise the same freedoms (or more accurately, the right to eventually exercise the same freedoms) and dignity that any other person has.”
It’s an interested reading—one that changes the argument by broadening it out to the outermost limits of analogical absurdity. Denial of the right “to exercise the same freedoms and dignity that any other person has” is not what makes slavery distinctive, nor is it particular to slaves. The vast majority of people in this country belong to a class that, at some point, was denied “the same freedoms and dignity that any other person has.” Indeed, I fear pro-lifers have been much too modest. By their logic, zygotes are analogous not just with slaves, but with Native Americans, freedmen, women, gays, immigrants, children and property-less white men.