All posts tagged: historical record

The Supreme Court Is Not Up to the Challenge

The Supreme Court Is Not Up to the Challenge

[ad_1] The United States is in a moment of democratic crisis, and the Supreme Court has no idea what to do. Today, the Court held in Trump v. Anderson that Colorado cannot disqualify Donald Trump from the state’s primary ballot as an insurrectionist, a decision that functionally dooms the existing efforts to bar Trump from the presidency under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. On its face, the ruling is straightforward. All nine justices agreed that states do not have the power to disqualify candidates for federal office. Looked at more closely, though, that seeming unanimity papers over a roiling disagreement among the justices not only about how best to interpret the Fourteenth Amendment, but also about the appropriate role for the Supreme Court in this period of political and constitutional tension. Over the past several months, a variety of voters and advocacy organizations invoked Section 3 in efforts to block states from allowing Trump onto the ballot. Once the Colorado Supreme Court found that the Colorado secretary of state had acted permissibly in finding …

The Climate-Acceleration Era Is Here

The Climate-Acceleration Era Is Here

[ad_1] From a climate perspective, 2024 is beginning in uncharted territory. Temperatures last year broke records not by small intervals but by big leaps; 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded, and each month in the second half of the year was the hottest—the hottest June, the hottest July, all the way through to December. July was in fact the hottest month in recorded history. Already, experts predict that 2024 is likely to be even hotter. But these heat records, although important milestones, won’t hold their title for long. “Getting too excited about any given year is a bit of a fool’s game, because we’re on an escalator that’s going up,” Jason Smerdon, a climate scientist at the Columbia Climate School, told me. “We’re going to be doing this every year.” Instead, the way to think about climate change now is through two interlinked concepts. The first is nonlinearity, the idea that change will happen by factors of multiplication, rather than addition. The second is the idea of “gray swan” events, which are both predictable …

January 6 Is Exactly What the Fourteenth Amendment Was Talking About

January 6 Is Exactly What the Fourteenth Amendment Was Talking About

[ad_1] The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, concerning his role in the January 6 coup attempt, began on February 9, 2021. Almost exactly three years later, on February 8, 2024, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments over whether that last, desperate effort to illegally hold on to power might now disqualify Trump from returning to the Oval Office. Many commentators have argued that the nine justices should overturn the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision barring Trump’s candidacy for reasons of prudence alone. “Keeping Mr. Trump off the ballot could put democracy at more risk rather than less,” the law professor Samuel Moyn warned in The New York Times. “To deny the voters the chance to elect the candidate of their choice … would be seen forever by tens of millions of Americans as a negation of democracy,” the New York columnist Jonathan Chait wrote. But these arguments ignore that keeping Trump on the ballot is also a choice—one forced by Trump’s own actions—and that just as there are risks to barring him, there are …

The Curtain Falls on George Santos

The Curtain Falls on George Santos

[ad_1] This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here. This morning, Republican Representative George Santos became the sixth House member in American history to be expelled from Congress. Though Santos managed to hang on to the support of the majority in his party, he was ousted in a 311–114 vote. I spoke with my colleague Russell Berman, who covers politics, about why some members voted not to expel Santos, and how much of an outlier he really is. First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic: Republicans Find Their Line Lora Kelley: How did we get to a place where Santos is being expelled, and how did he make it to Congress in the first place? Russell Berman: George Santos ran in what should have been a high-profile, competitive race last year in Long Island. He was in a swing district that was fiercely contested because …

Kissinger’s Inhuman Diplomacy – The Atlantic

Kissinger’s Inhuman Diplomacy – The Atlantic

[ad_1] Henry Kissinger spent half a century pursuing and using power, and a second half century trying to shape history’s judgment of the first. His longevity, and the frantic activity that ceased only when he stopped breathing, felt like an interminable refusal to disappear until he’d ensured that posthumous admiration would outweigh revulsion. In the end none of it mattered. The historical record—Vietnam and Cambodia, the China opening, the Soviet détente, slaughter in Bangladesh and East Timor, peace in the Middle East, the coup in Chile—was already there. Its interpretation will not be up to him. Kissinger is a problem to be solved: the problem of a very human inhumanity. For he was, undoubtedly, human—brilliant, insecure, funny, gossipy, curious, devious, self-deprecating, cruel. In Martin Indyk’s book Master of the Game, about Kissinger’s successful efforts to end the 1973 Yom Kippur War, you meet a diplomat with a deep knowledge of the region’s history and personalities, operating with great subtlety and stamina to bring about a state of equilibrium that led to peace between Israel and …

The Groundless Fear of Regulating Big Tech

The Groundless Fear of Regulating Big Tech

[ad_1] Today’s Big Five digital platforms aren’t the first tech giants to bristle at government scrutiny. Long before Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft began spending millions of dollars to fight antitrust rules and other measures that would challenge their business models, 20th-century behemoths such as AT&T and IBM were insisting that government interventions in their business would stifle innovation. In reality, one of the most important things the United States government has ever done to advance technology is regulate it. Microsoft was the beneficiary of antitrust litigation aimed at IBM, once the country’s dominant computer maker; Amazon, Google, and Facebook have flourished because a 1996 law granted them extraordinary protection from legal liability for the content they circulate; Apple is a beneficiary of a strong patent regime. The advent of smartphones, one-click shopping, and an avalanche of digital stimuli doesn’t change the fact that, when any industry stands astride the economy and reaches into most Americans’ homes, lawmakers should assess whether the public interest is being protected. But the reality that the tech giants …

Donald Trump’s Unlikely Legal Doppelgänger

Donald Trump’s Unlikely Legal Doppelgänger

[ad_1] In a few weeks, a judge in Colorado will hold a trial to decide whether to bar Donald Trump from the presidential ballot on the grounds that he “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States in violation of the Constitution. The proceeding has unsettled many people: Can an unelected judge really stop voters from supporting a candidate of their choosing? The answer is yes. Just ask Abdul Hassan. Hassan ran for president in the 2012 election as an independent, on a platform of reducing the national debt. He created a website and a YouTube channel, and bought digital ads to spread his message. But he had a problem: To get on the ballot in some states, including Colorado, Hassan had to complete a form swearing that he met the requirements for president spelled out in the Constitution. Been a resident of the United States for at least 14 years? Check. 35 years old? Check. Natural-born citizen? That’s where the trouble began. Hassan, who was born in Guyana, is a naturalized U.S. citizen, …

The Books Briefing: History Scares Authoritarians

The Books Briefing: History Scares Authoritarians

[ad_1] A new book looks at the “underground historians” of China who are resurfacing moments from the past that authorities would prefer be forgotten. Artur Abramiv / Getty September 29, 2023, 12 PM ET This is an edition of the revamped Books Briefing, our editors’ weekly guide to the best in books. Sign up for it here. For many who were purged during Stalin’s reign in the Soviet Union, one erasure followed another. After being sent to the Gulag (if they weren’t shot in the basement of the Lubyanka building), the ousted person would suffer the further indignity of having their face crosshatched with frantic pen marks to make them disappear from family albums. They couldn’t exist in history anymore. Stalin’s greatest rivals were erased on a wide scale too: Leon Trotsky’s image, for example, was airbrushed out of official photos. Control over the historical record has always been crucial for authoritarian regimes. In Russia, this is true all over again, and textbooks are rewriting the history of the war in Ukraine in real time. …