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  Authors - Legal News


The International Court of Justice laid down definitive maritime boundaries Friday between Costa Rica and Nicaragua in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean and a small land boundary in a remote, disputed wetland.

As part of the complex ruling, the United Nations' highest judicial organ ruled that a Nicaraguan military base on part of the disputed coastline close to the mouth of the San Juan River is on Costa Rican territory and must be removed.

Ruling in two cases filed by Costa Rica, the 16-judge U.N. panel took into account the two countries' coastlines and some islands in drawing what it called "equitable" maritime borders that carved up the continental shelf underneath the Caribbean and Pacific.


Such rulings can affect issues including fishing rights and exploration for resources like oil.

Earlier, the court ordered Nicaragua to compensate Costa Rica for damage Nicaragua caused with unlawful construction work near the mouth of the San Juan River, the court's first foray into assessing costs for environmental damage.

The order by the United Nations' principal judicial organ followed a December 2015 ruling that Nicaragua violated Costa Rica's sovereignty by establishing a military camp and digging channels near the river, part of a long-running border dispute in the remote region on the shores of the Caribbean Sea.

In total, Nicaragua was ordered to pay just over $378,890 for environmental damage and other costs incurred by Costa Rica— a small fraction of the $6.7 million sought by San Jose.



A Kuwaiti lawyer says the country's supreme court has upheld a verdict against an online journalist sentenced to two years in prison for Twitter posts deemed insulting to the Gulf nation's ruler.

Ayyad al-Harbi was arrested in 2012 as part of a social media crackdown throughout the Gulf aimed at quelling perceived political dissent in the wake of the Arab Spring unrest.

One of his tweets included a line from a poem by an Iraqi poet that criticizes dictators — a step seen as a reference to the ruler of Kuwait. An appeals court upheld the verdict last year.

Lawyer Mohammed al-Humaidi said Sunday's decision means "game over" for his client, barring a pardon by the emir.


Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy

  Authors  -   POSTED: 2007/04/05 08:28

Should the Supreme Court have the last word when it comes to interpreting the Constitution? The justices on the Supreme Court certainly seem to think so--and their critics say that this position threatens democracy. But Keith Whittington argues that the Court's justices have not simply seized power and circumvented politics. The justices have had power thrust upon them--by politicians, for the benefit of politicians. In this sweeping political history of judicial supremacy in America, Whittington shows that presidents and political leaders of all stripes have worked to put the Court on a pedestal and have encouraged its justices to accept the role of ultimate interpreters of the Constitution.

The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History

Whittington examines why presidents have often found judicial supremacy to be in their best interest, why they have rarely assumed responsibility for interpreting the Constitution, and why constitutional leadership has often been passed to the courts. The unprecedented assertiveness of the Rehnquist Court in striking down acts of Congress is only the most recent example of a development that began with the founding generation itself. Presidential bids for constitutional leadership have been rare, but reflect the temporary political advantage in doing so. Far more often, presidents have cooperated in increasing the Court's power and encouraging its activism. Challenging the conventional wisdom that judges have usurped democracy, Whittington shows that judicial supremacy is the product of democratic politics.

Keith E. Whittington is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. He is the author of Constitutional Interpretation and Constitutional Construction.


Featured Author - Johnnie Cochran

  Authors  -   POSTED: 2007/03/20 22:38


As Cochran freely concedes, his representation of O.J. Simpson transformed him from a lawyer into a celebrity. In this memoir of his professional life, he tries to put that case in perspective. Although a fierce critic of the racism he sees in the legal system and among the L.A. police, Cochran says the common perception that he is anti-law enforcement is wrong; he began his career as a prosecutor, but he is on a mission to eradicate racism wherever he finds it. Long before the Simpson case, he made a name for himself (and a small fortune) by successfully bringing police brutality cases on behalf of African-Americans like Barbara Deadwyler, whose husband was shot dead for no apparent reason while rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital. Cochran lost that early case and many others because, in his view, white juries refused to believe that police officers would lie under oath. Unfortunately, this memoir reads as though it was dictated to co-author Fisher (My Best Friends, with George Burns): it drifts from one legal war story to the next, often repeats details and occasionally leaves thoughts dangling. And that's a shame, because Cochran's experience gives him the authority to utter some uncomfortable truths, among them that justice is often reserved for the wealthy. Worse yet, he says, racism permeates the entire system, from the cop on the beat to the judge on the bench. Cochran musters case after case in support of these conclusions. This revelatory, often dismaying account provides a cogent explanation of why many African-Americans have such a jaded view of our legal system. 
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