Welcome to this week’s recommended reading, gentle readers! We’re thinking about shifting policy issues as the final weeks of the Obama Administration dwindle to an end. What lies in store with the incoming administration? Which agencies are pushing to enact last-minute changes to preserve their legacy?
‘Trump’s War on the Intelligence Community Is All About Ego‘ (Jeet Heer for the New Republic)
Many Americans are growing concerned by the president-elect’s apparent war on the intelligence community, which bodes ill for the future of the presidency. Jeet Heer points out that this isn’t about legitimate policy issues and a conflict in how intelligence issues are approached, but a matter instead of ego and vanity.
Kennedy and Carter fought the CIA on policy grounds. But Trump’s feud has a much more personal cast—in part because it springs from questions about the legitimacy of his presidential victory, and in part because Trump tends to invest every dispute with narcissistic rage. In this way, Trump is closer to Richard Nixon, whose fight with the CIA was entangled with his wounded ego and insatiable pride.
‘Learning to love Trumpism‘ (The Economist)
American conservatives are reconciling themselves to what the Republican Party has disgorged and set on the throne, and the process involves a great deal of wishful thinking and imaginative reaching. Is Trumpism the new reality of Republicans?
Other conservative grandees wonder if a dose of economic nationalism is the price of solidifying the coalition that carried Mr Trump to power, including blue-collar voters in the Midwest who abandoned the Democrats in droves. They praise Mr Trump as a patriot-pragmatist in the spirit of Lincoln or Theodore Roosevelt. They are slower to note more recent models for Trumpism, starting with populist-nationalist movements sweeping Europe.
‘How Solitary Confinement Harms Juveniles‘ (Kate Wheeling for Pacific Standard)
The Obama DOJ has persistently committed itself to social justice and addressing clear disparities in the United States. One DOJ issue that’s flown under the radar is solitary confinement of juveniles, something the agency is pushing to eliminate. Could hard-fought gains be on the verge of a rollback?
On Tuesday, the Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in the case, reiterating the department’s position that juveniles should not be subjected to solitary confinement. Such statements are like weightier amicus briefs; in other words, legal filings from the federal government that don’t evaluate the facts of the case but argue for the larger civil rights issues to which the case pertains—for example, the question of whether or not solitary confinement for juveniles is unconstitutional.
‘Young black men again faced highest rate of US police killings in 2016‘ (Jon Swaine and Ciara McCarthy for The Guardian)
The Counted is an incredibly ambitious and brilliant piece of investigative journalism exploring police violence in the US, and tracking numbers that the USDOJ is still reluctant to track. How many people are killed by police in America? Who are they? Why were they killed?
The ACLU urged members of the Senate judiciary committee to press Sessions at his confirmation hearings in Washington next week on whether he thinks too many Americans are being killed by police, and whether police departments across the country are prioritizing the use of force over de-escalation.
‘Labor Opponents Already Have The Next ‘Friedrichs’ SCOTUS Case Ready to Go Under Trump‘ (Moshe Z. Marvit for In These Times)
The president-elect is notoriously anti-union, as is the Republican Party as a whole. That’s bad news for workers in America, who need every defense they can get in the coming years. Unfortunately, conservative attorneys and advocacy groups are already lining up to take down a century’s worth of labour law.
The Janus case is almost identical to the Friedrichs case in that both are premised on the idea that there is no line in the public sector between political and non-political activity. Conservatives justices have firmly embraced this rational, as was evident during the Friedrichs oral argument when Chief Justice John Roberts challenged California’s attorney to give his “best example of something that is negotiated over in a collective bargaining agreement with a public employer that does not present a public policy question.”
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