Background Briefing: June 8, 2023


A Surprise Ruling From the Supreme Court Whose Supermajority is Increasingly Out Of Touch With Mainstream America

We begin with the surprise ruling from the Supreme Court striking down the Alabama Republican legislature’s flagrant gerrymandering in a state that is 27% black with only one out of seven congressional districts representing African/Americans. Joining us to discuss the extent to which this ruling could reverse the growing lack of legitimacy and loss of public respect for the court which has grown radically out of touch with the mainstream with recent reactionary and unpopular rulings on abortion, guns, health and safety and climate change is Michael Waldman, President and CEO of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. He was director of speechwriting for President Bill Clinton and is the author of The Second Amendment: A Biography and The Fight to Vote. A member of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court, his latest book, just out, is The Supermajority: How the Supreme Court Divided America.


Is the Breaching of the Dam in Ukraine an Act of Ecocide?

Then we look into whether the breaching of the dam in Ukraine that has caused catastrophic environmental damage is an act of ecocide as the International Criminal Court begins to consider adopting ecocide as a crime against humanity like genocide. Joining us is Kate Mackintosh, the Executive Director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law. She was an administrator responsible as Deputy Registrar for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Previously she was a legal advisor to Doctors Without Borders, and was part of post conflict human rights field operations in Bosnia as well as Rwanda. She was also Deputy Chair of the independent expert panel for the legal definition of ecocide.


The Impact on European Public Opinion From Revelations Ukrainians Blew up the Nord Stream Pipeline

Then finally we assess the impact on European public opinion of revelations in The Washington Post that a small group of Ukrainian operatives were behind the blowing up of the Nord Stream gas pipelines. Joining us is Charles Kupchan, who was director for European Affairs on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. He is now a professor of International Affairs in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and spent the last 3 years of the Obama administration as Special Assistant to President Obama for National Security. He is the author of How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace, and his latest, Isolationism: A History of America’s Efforts to Shield Itself from the World.