Foreign Policy

Tales of Horror Falling Mostly on Deaf Ears

Kyeong-Sook Cha and Soon-Hee Ma, two defectors from North Korea, testified for the House Committee on International Relations, and provided firsthand accounts of widespread tragedy occurring in the Sino-North Korean border areas. In order to avoid the massive starvation resulting from North Korea’s failed economy, the daughters of these women had escaped to China to earn money for food. When Read More ›

American military deaths in Iraq: Context and History

Predictably, the mainstream media is talking up the “milestone” of the 2,000th American military death in Iraq to portray the struggle as a useless, costly quagmire. According to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, the total number of American military deaths in Iraq, including non-battle deaths, now stands at 2002 in approximately 32 months of combat from March 2003 to October 2005. Read More ›

Brace for the U.N. Tax Man

When I extolled the virtues of our federal system of government in a previous column (“Sovereignty, from sea to sea,” Times op-ed, Sept. 21), I left out an unfortunate and pernicious side effect of having a government of multiple jurisdictions — taxes. Multiple layers of government, while encouraging balance of power and competing regulatory ideas, also mean multiple layers of Read More ›

Miers: The Recusal Trap

President Bush’s choice of White House counsel Harriet Miers has prompted much criticism, but his friends miss perhaps the biggest problem with the nomination: the likelihood that if confirmed the new Justice, because of her White House work, will recuse herself in major cases where her vote could prove decisive — notably, war cases. The White House can claim executive privilege and refuse the Senate Miers’s memos written as White House counsel. While executive privilege can be breached in extraordinary circumstances such as a criminal investigation (e.g., Watergate), a routine confirmation hearing fails to surmount that hurdle. Senators can, of course, vote down a nominee who declines, however lawfully, to supply requested information.

But if Senators are prevented from seeing memos they should ask on what actual cases Miers has advised the President. Under federal law, if Ms. Miers is confirmed, and has professionally advised on a matter that subsequently comes before her on the bench, she must recuse herself. Federal law is quite specific here. Title 28 U.S. Code sec. 455 covers recusal of judges, justices, and magistrate judges. Sec, 455 (b)(3) recites one ground for mandatory recusal: “Where [a judge, justice, magistrate judge] has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy.” Sec. 455 (e) adds: “No justice, judge or magistrate judge shall accept from the parties to the proceeding a waiver of any ground for disqualification enumerated in subsection (b).”

One case already is wending its way to the Supreme Court: a July 15 unanimous decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, upholding the right of the government to detain and try unlawful combatants without giving detainees rights under the Geneva Conventions. One member of that three-judge panel was Chief Justice Roberts, who must thus recuse himself on appeal to the Supremes.

If Miers also recuses this would deprive the Administration of two votes in a vital case where every vote is needed to prevail. This case is of utmost import, involving how suspects may be interrogated and whether they may be detained without criminal process. Only two votes — Scalia and Thomas — seem likely to affirm; four are very unlikely (Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer); one (Kennedy) is iffy. With Roberts sidelined the O’Connor successor’s vote in this case is essential to reach a 4-4 affirmation on appeal.

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Sovereignty, from Sea to Sea

A SUMMER road trip is an enduring American tradition. Despite today’s high gas prices, it remains an inexpensive way to travel and experience the country beyond the narrow confines of one’s own city. The changes in scenery that unfolded during my 3,000-mile drive from Seattle to Washington, D.C., were wondrous. Even before I left Washington state, I passed through several Read More ›

Former Chairman Featured in Sunday Seattle Times Magazine

This article, published by The Seattle Times, is about John Miller, former chairman of Discovery Institute: During his “missing years,” Miller became involved with the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based conservative-leaning think tank, and headed its board from 2000-2002. The rest of the article can be found here.

U.S. Congress Strikes Back in “Battle of Inchon”

For the past week, unnoticed by much of the American media, South Koreans have been battling in the port city of Inchon over an important American icon in East Asia — General Douglas MacArthur. Inchon is the site of MacArthur’s greatest military masterpiece — a daring amphibious landing in 1950 that decisively turned the tide of the Korean War and Read More ›

Steven Vincent, R.I.P.

Steve Vincent, whom we have long admired, was killed by terrorists yesterday in Basra, Iraq. Bruce Chapman’s Wall Street Journal book review of Vincent’s “In the Red Zone” is cited at the end of the following story from Reuters. Steven Vincent, U.S. art critic who went to war 03 Aug 2005 18:03:38 GMT, Source: Reuters NEW YORK, Aug 3 (Reuters) – Read More ›

Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
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New Blog Fills Void in U.S. Media Coverage of Russian Affairs

SEATTLE, JULY 12 – “The mainstream media in the U.S. and Russia do a poor job of reporting on issues that impact U.S. / Russian relations – attributable in part to the limited amount of space in most major newspapers,” said Yuri Mamchur, a Foreign Policy Fellow at Discovery Institute and a Russian national. “So we’ve launched Russiablog to report Read More ›

The Lesson of Gwangju Reverberates Today

The recent news reports from Andijan, Uzbekistan, were troubling. The arrest and trial of local businessmen in the region sparked riots where there had been continuing civil unrest. The government of Islam Karimov, an ostensible U.S. ally in the war on terror, blamed “Islamist” incitement and launched a crackdown on the protests, killing many, possibly hundreds, of civilians. The situation Read More ›