It's a new year, and so it deserves to be kicked off with a roundup!
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Jeannie Suk and Jake Gersen have posted a draft of their forthcoming article "The Sex Bureaucracy" (forthcoming this summer in the California Law Review). I saw them workshop this paper at Berkeley last fall, and it is certainly going to provoke discussion (I think it raises some important points, though there is a lot I disagree with).
The Supreme Court may be about to eviscerate tribal court civil jurisdiction over non-Indians who engage in consensual relations with the tribe or its members. This is unnerving for a host of reasons. First, I thought that the issue was settled by relatively recent precedent (the Tribe's attorney, Neal Katyal, is right that the Supreme Court's "tribal exhaustion" cases make zero sense if civil jurisdiction doesn't exist). Second, it threatens to reverse decades of hard-won progress in the courts to recognize and respect Indian sovereignty. And third, the argument forwarded by several Justices that tribal courts pose an inherent due process risk to non-tribal members because the juries will be comprised of Indians is flatly outrageous, especially given the existence of the Indian Civil Rights Act. As Justice Breyer observes, this is no different from a citizen of Alabama getting an all-Mississippian jury in Mississippi state court, and just as with diversity jurisdiction generally (which is authorized by Congress but not a due process right) if Congress identifies a problem Congress is free to step in and regulate.
Israel has finally withdrawn its nomination for Dani Dayon to serve as Ambassador to Brazil. Brazil was set to publicly reject the appointment of the former settler leader, and the entire spectacle was yet another unforced diplomatic error by the increasingly hapless Netanyahu foreign policy machine.
An Israeli soldier who passed on confidential IDF information to terrorists (in this case, those of the "price tag" variety) has been sentenced to four years in prison. If only we could do the same to the right-wing MKs who did the exact same thing (Agricultural Minister Uri "If a person who transfers information about IDF movements is a spy, then I am a spy" Ariel, I'm looking at you).
Zeynep Tufekci has a touching editorial in the New York Times about "Why the Postal Service Makes America Great." This hits me where I live. First, I'm never prouder of being an American than when talking with immigrants about how wondrous they are about America. Immigrants, of course, are people who almost by definition made incredible sacrifices (social, financial, sometimes physical) to come here because they believe in their bones in the American dream. They have an excitement about America that is infectious and exhilarating. But separately, I too have long been in awe of the U.S. postal system. It is nothing short of amazing that I can address a letter to anyone in the country, no matter what far-flung flyspeck village they might live in, and have it delivered to them in a timely and reliable fashion.
Binjamin Arazi offers up the progressive case for Israel. It's quite good -- most posts in this vein quickly become smarmy declarations about how good the gays have it or how Israel is "the only democracy in the middle east!" This one, by contrast, puts the focus where I do: on progressive understandings of oppression and liberation (here applied to Jews). Still perhaps a little smarmy, but definitely below median (and who am I to judge on that front, anyway?).