Re “Justice for the People,” by Elie Mystal [September 5/12]: This is an excellent detailing of what Sonia Sotomayor is doing on the Supreme Court. Acting not out of ideology as much as duty, she represents the near future of what needs to be done across the federal branches. Thank you, as well, for reiterating at length the horrors of the shadow docket. Unless it is reined in, the right will use it to try anything. It won’t stop unless more of the public knows about it.
Sotomayor, it is true, has proved the best of the justices since the time of Bill Clinton, all of whom have, without exception, been pro-business, typically voting 8-1 or 9-0 on corporation versus consumer issues. But she is not against the death penalty in principle. None of the current justices are. It is often forgotten that the Supreme Court suspended the death penalty in 1972 in Furman v. Georgia, only to restore it in 1976. Even Nixon appointee Harry Blackmun eventually concluded, “From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.” To my mind, being against the death penalty in principle is the absolute minimum to qualify as holding a progressive jurisprudence.
Accountability for Ghouta
It is appalling that David Bromwich would include outright atrocity denial in his article “Whose Rules? Our Rules!” [September 5/12]. There is no reasonable doubt that Assad’s forces were behind the August 21, 2013, chemical attack in Syria. That rockets were used to spread sarin gas was established in a United Nations report; two of the rockets that spread the gas were found relatively intact. Citing the work of the blogger Brown Moses (Eliot Higgins), Mother Jones reported that September that one of the rockets was identified as having a design unique to attacks in Syria, suggesting that it was not assembled by rebels but manufactured, and noted that “the two rocket paths traced backwards actually converge right on Mount Qasioun, a mountain overlooking Damascus which the Syrian government has heavily fortified,” quoting the work of another independent blogger.
There is much more evidence that does not come from US government sources. There is also a point of logic. Why would the mysterious “rebels linked to Al Qaeda,” as Bromwich writes, with capabilities to inflict such casualties, only have used these rockets and chemicals against Syrians in the Ghouta district of Damascus and never against Assad’s soldiers? Let the last word on this “false flag” conspiracy charge come from the disappeared Syrian activist Razan Zaitouneh, who was interviewed on Democracy Now! two days after the attack. When asked, “How do you know who is responsible for the attack?,” she answered, “If you believe that we are crazy people who would kill themselves and their children, then you can ask such a question.”
Promoting Enduring Peace
new haven, conn.