Monday, January 10, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Orly Taitz, Queen of the Birthers, loses in court (again):  SCOTUS Refuses to Hear Birther Case.

Filed under: Courts,OTB,SCOTUS,US Politics | Comments Off|
Tuesday, October 12, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC:  Elite Colombian soldiers guilty of killing civilian

A court in Colombia has found seven members of an elite anti-kidnapping squad guilty of killing a civilian and saying he was a left-wing guerrilla.

The soldiers claimed they had killed Eduardo Perez Vega in combat in the eastern province of Casanare in 2024.

They then said he was a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The incident was one of hundreds of so-called "false-positive" cases, which were used by the Colombian military and police to inflate their successes.

The broader context:

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed in such extrajudicial executions, which started to come to light during the tenure of former President Alvaro Uribe.

Many of the victims were dressed as rebel fighters after they were killed.

These cases illustrate that not only does the violence continues in Colombia (despite press coverage that often treats it as all but over) and specifically that many Colombian civilians have suffered greatly because of it.

That the soldiers were put on trial and convicted is a positive step for Colombian democracy, although there has not been as thorough investigation into the false positives scandal as the situation warrants.

Filed under: Colombia,Courts,Criminal Justice,Latin America | Comments Off|
Friday, August 6, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC:  Mexico City gay marriage law upheld.

What the national implications of the ruling are unclear.  Mexico has a federal system like the United States, although I am unfamiliar with the way in which court rulings propagate across the country in their system.  For that matter, the nature of the ruling may have been narrowly focused on Mexico City along (the BBC write-up is unclear on the subject).

However, the following would seem to indicate the potentiality of broader implications:

Federal prosecutors had challenged the law, saying it went against the principle of protection of the family.

But the Supreme Court justices said nowhere in the constitution was it defined what a family was.

Filed under: Courts,Latin America | Comments Off|
Thursday, July 8, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

From me at OTB:  Federal Judge Declares Much of DOMA Unconstitutional

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Wednesday, June 23, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

What with the start of summer school and whatnot, I haven’t written much the last couple of days.

Two OTB posts:

Filed under: Courts,Europe,Latin America,OTB,Sports,immigration | Comments Off|
Thursday, June 10, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC:  Colombia ex-officer jailed after historic conviction

A former Colombian army officer has been found guilty of the forced disappearance of 11 people in 1985.

Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his actions as troops stormed the Palace of Justice in Bogota after it had been seized by left-wing rebels.

The 11 victims survived the military assault, but were taken away by the army and never seen again.

Human rights groups have hailed the judgement as a breakthrough.


The judges ruled that he was responsible for the forced disappearance of 11 survivors, most of whom worked in the building’s cafeteria.

The case was opened in 2024 after video footage emerged showing some of them alive after the assault, being taken away by soldiers.

The incident in question took place in 1985 when members of the M-19 took over the Palacio de Justicia in the heart of the seat of government in Bogotá.  It is located on the Plaza de Bolivar right across from the congress building and next to the offices of Bogotá’s mayor.  A block away is the president’s residence and the building that houses the offices of members of congress.

Here’s a photo of the re-constructed Palacio:  click.   The building was destroyed when the military response to the M-19 take-over lead to the building being directly attacked, leading to the death of members of the Supreme Court, amongst others.  When I first lived in Bogotá in 1994-1995 the building still had not been fully reconstructed. 

I was unaware of the case of the 11 disappeared persons and concur that bringing the military commander to justice is a positive move for human rights in Colombia.

The entire event remains the most dramatic guerrilla-related event ever to occur in a major Colombian city and questions remain to this day as to the degree to which the military’s decision to attack the building was one made by President Betancourt or was an independent (and illegal) decision made by the military.

The motivation of the M-19 guerrillas is also contested.  One thing is certain:  the event marked the M-19’s most dramatic action and also marked the beginning of its end as an active guerrilla group in Colombia.  It would eventually lay down its arms and convert itself into a political party, with an important role in the constituent assembly that re-wrote the Colombian constitution in 1991.

The part would eventually fall apart, although its legacy lives on, in part, as part of the Polo Democrático Alternativo.  Indeed, its presidential candidate, Gustavo Petro was affiliated with the M-19, winning a Chamber of Represenatives seats under the AD/M-19 label in 1991. 

Sunday, May 16, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

On the three Sunday shows I watched today (MTP, Fox News Sunday, and the Chris Matthews Show), a major topic, as one might expect, was the Kagan nomination.  On that  topic a major focus was that of Kagan’s role as Dean of the Harvard Law School on the topic of military recruitment.  This issue would seem to be the main line of attack at the moment for those opposed to the nomination.   Over at OTB I discuss why I think is pretty thin gruel:  The Politics of Kagan and the Military.

Wednesday, May 12, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Some thoughts from me here:  click.

Filed under: Courts,OTB,SCOTUS,US Politics | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

Some thoughts from me here: click.

Filed under: Courts,OTB,SCOTUS,US Politics | Comments Off|
Tuesday, May 11, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor
Filed under: Courts,OTB,SCOTUS,US Politics | Comments Off|
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