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What is going on at WaPo opinion?


The op-ed section that will cheerfully print whatever various fourth-rate torture enthusiasts and Pain Caucus scolds and Hugh Hewitt barf up on a weekly basis spiked 4 Radley Balko columns in his last 8 months of employment:

Obviously, it would be absurd to claim that any of these columns don’t achieve the standard of quality expected of a WaPo columnist. The objections must be ideological. And so the list of rejected columns provides a good window into the sacred cows of DC insiders: the police, prosecutors, “tough on crime” legislation, the Supreme Court. A highly telling, if also very telling, list that helps to explain How We Got Here.

Let me particularly recommend this too-hot-for-WaPo number:

According to a Gallup poll taken last month, public confidence in the Supreme Court has hit an all-time low. Just 25 percent of respondents had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the court. That’s an 11-point drop from last year, and twice the drop in public confidence in other institutions.

Much of the court’s image problem comes the feeling that it has been politicized, be it the Republicans’ refusal to allow a vote on Obama nominee Merrick Garland in 2016, or the fact that one justice refuses to recuse himself from cases that may implicate in his wife in a effort to overthrow democracy (public confidence in the court among Democrats stands at just 13 percent).

It’s also driven by the court’s recent decision to overturn the 50-year-old precedent in Roe v. Wade. The poll was taken before that decision, but after Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion was leaked to the press.

But this court has brought much of its legitimacy crisis upon itself. It has abdicated its most important and profound responsibility—safeguarding basic constitutional rights. And it has done so in a series of rulings that are overtly political, wildly inconsistent, and in some cases wrong on basic facts.

Beyond just overturning a half-century precedent guaranteeing the right to an abortion, during this term, the justices also gutted a 10-year precedent concerning the right to a competent attorney, a 50-year Establishment Clause precedent, and another 50-year precedent allowing people to sue federal law enforcement officers.

In Shinn v. Ramirez, the court ruled that federal courts are prohibited from considering newly-found evidence of a prisoner’s innocence, even if the prisoner has proven his attorneys were incompetent in not discovering that evidence at trial or during appeals. Barry Jones, one of the death row prisoners in that case, is likely innocent. The court did not rule that it found Jones’ innocence claims unpersuasive. Instead, it ruled that to even consider the evidence of Jones’ innocence would undermine the state of Arizona’s sovereignty.

It ought to go without saying, but any justice system that willingly ignores evidence of a death row prisoner’s innocence is, fundamentally, illegitimate.

We need a lot more of this.

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