Thursday, June 28, 2018

From Roger Fitch and our Friends Down Under at Justinian...

America! America!

Judicial coup de état ... Partisan Republicans on the US Supreme Court purge the voter rolls ... Tainted appointee Neil Gorsuch does his bit ... No more swing decisions as Anthony Kennedy resigns ... Torture queen at the helm of the CIA ... The most absurd Guantánamo case ... Roger Fitch, Our man in Washington, reports  
US Supreme Court: pairing judges who detest each other
AS the end of its 2017 term approached, the supreme court punted on gerrymandering (but not all is lost); allowed a Republican-hatched voter purge scheme to go forward; and in deciding the "wedding cake" case, failed to do the damage to church-state separation that "religious conservatives" had prayed for.
The keenly-awaited internet sales tax decision, South Dakota v Wayfair, had a surprising alignment of justices.  
Civil libertarians welcomed Carpenter v US, in which Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court's liberals in a decision requiring police to obtain court warrants for mobile phone tower data.
Then came ominous signs, as the court gratuitously upset antitrust law in Ohio v American Express.  
Next, the court gave Texas a near-complete victory on its (racial) gerrymanders, overrulingunanimous lower court rulings, more here.  With Justice Alito deciding that good faith of states must be presumed, there will be lots more accidental-on-purpose discrimination favouring Republicans.
As in Hustedthe Ohio voter-purge case, the Texas decision was assured by Trump's appointment of a partisan Republican, Neil Gorsuch, in place of Obama's moderate nominee, Merrick Garland. More here.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader married to the shipping heiress who is Secretary of Transportation, even Tweeted a photo of Gorsuch as part of his senate reelection campaign ... 


In the court's final week, all the planning that went into the Republicans' 2016 year-long blockade of Garland paid off: in the "Muslim ban" case, the newly-packed court endowed a racist president with bold new immigration powers  (incidentally overruling the Japanese internment case Korematsu).  The court also assisted anti-abortionists in California, and, as expected, up-ended longstanding state laws on "agency fees" where non-union public employees contribute to the cost of collective bargaining.  
And finally, Justice Anthony Kennedy conveniently announced his retirement in time for a replacement to be confirmed by a Republican senate. Trump's candidates are here.
*   *   *
Haspel: ran the CIA torture camp in Thailand
With a morally bankrupt torture-embracing president, rubberstamp Republican congress, and torture supporters everywhere, it's possible that torture experience helped a torture-camp director become CIA Director.
Gina Haspel formerly ran the CIA's depraved Thai torture operation (on-going under local direction), and some - including conservatives - call her a war criminal. More here and here. Nevetheless, Haspel was narrowly confirmed when six Democrats crossed the senate floor.
It marked a continuation of the free pass Haspel received from the Obama administration for both torture and its cover-up.  She should, however, avoid future travel in rule-of-law countries, e.g, Germany.
Even as Haspel was being confirmed, the CIA's original "legal opinion" supporting its proposed use of torture was produced - after redacting the name of the "lawyer" who concocted it.  
Another incriminating response to FOI requests was the CIA's demand for an advance DoJ "declination of prosecution" for its planned violations of federal laws and the Covenant Against Torture.  
*   *   *
The most absurd case ever brought at Guantánamo, that of the Haspel-supervised torture victim Abt al-Rahim al-Nashiri, has been put on indefinite hold by the presiding military judge, more here.
In a companion nonsense case,  Ahmed Mohammed al-Darbi has been repatriated to Saudi Arabia, having done his duty by grassing up Mr Nashiri in the MV Limburg and USS Cole cases. More here.  
The Limburg bombing involved peacetime piracy against a Panamanian-flagged French tanker in international waters. There's no connection to the US, but the Pentagon's reliable (if shambolic) Court of Military Commission Review reversed the military judge's dismissal of the claims.
The Cole bombing involved Americans, but still no war; even if hostilities had been implicated, the attack would be legal, absent "perfidy". 
All the other USS Cole defendants were successfully convicted in civilian US courts years ago, where Nashiri - now depicted in his military commission as the mastermind and architect of the Cole bombing - was just an "unindicted co-conspirator". He was unavailable for US trial because the CIA was busy torturing him in three countries overseas. Two of them, Poland and Romania, have been ordered by the European Court of Human Rights to pay Nashiri damages for their part in his CIA torture. More here.
Nashiri's ordeal in Thailand was personally supervised by the psychologists Mitchell and Jessen (the CIA has settled a civil suit for damages against them) and by Gina Haspel, the new CIA director.  
Steve Vladeck sorted out the Nashiri mess here and here.
*   *   *
The military commission of Abd al-Hadi is picking-up speed at Guantánamo. Al Hadi is one of the few at Gitmo charged with a real war crime - killing civilians. Many of the other charges seem doubtful in light of his combat status, but a freshly-stacked supreme court may ultimately rewrite international law, the Geneva Conventions and the US constitution to make "conspiracy" and other civilian offences valid tribunal crimes.
The 9/11 defendants are likewise accused of killing civilians, although there wasn't any war underway on September 11, 2001. The military judge in that case got around the lack of hostilities by deferring to the self-serving characterisations of military jurisdiction by congress and the executive.  
*   *   *
In a new global attack on Gitmo detention, a group habeas petition has been brought in DC supported by the human rights law firms Reprieve and the Center for Constitutional Rights. More from Lawfare, HRW's Laura Pitter and Just Security
The case, styled al Hajj v Trump, emphasises Mr Trump's anti-Muslim animus, and is beginning to bear fruit under an Obama-appointed judge.  
*   *   *
Syrian refugee camp
Last year, it was revealed that a US citizen was being held by the Pentagon overseas, without legal rights. Captured in Syria, he was held in Iraq and threatened with repatriation to Saudi Arabia (he's a dual citizen). More here
In an action brought by the ACLU, the US refused to divulge the man's name but admitted he had asked for a lawyer, and following the judge's order, "John Doe" confirmed he wanted representation. More here.
The judge ruled that the citizen's lawyers were entitled to 72 hours' notice before any transfer. When notice was duly given, the judge refused to approve the transfer to Iraq, and the government now proposes to abandon the nameless man outside a displaced persons camp in Syria.
John Doe will have one advantage when he is released. Previously, the Pentagon confiscated the monetary property of  a released "war prisoner", Djamel Ameziane - clearly "pillage" and a war crime. In the case of John Doe, however, the Pentagon has generously agreed to return the citizen's money - $4,210. That's if the court allows the government to send a US citizen to a war zone: non-refoulement is another bedrock principle of international law regularly flouted by the Pentagon. 
*   *   *
Errant Americans not lucky enough to be seized alive still face the danger of US assassination, more here and here

Saturday, January 13, 2018

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

Trump's kleptocracy

Michael Wolff's book has deflected attention from Republicans' perverted tax law ... Roger Fitch in Washington takes us back to the main game - the destruction of the social safety net by diverting squillions to large corporations and real estate investors ... US remains in violation of the Convention Against Torture ... Gitmo - still looking for a war to fit the war crimes ... Trump: how will it all end? 
AMERICA'S large middle class - said to be the first - could be doomed by an oligarchic takeover of the Republican Party.
Oligarchy - and Social Darwinism - could be behind the Republicans' misleadingly-named Tax Cuts and Jobs Actpossibly the biggest tax increase in US history, directed almost exclusively at the poor and middle classes, whose temporary tax cuts are like teaser introductory rates offered on new credit cards.
As the Atlantic predicted, the legislation ...
"shower[s] enormous benefits on households at the top of the economic ladder ... Then it hands the bill for those benefits largely to younger generations, who will pay through more federal debt; less spending on programs that could benefit them; and, eventually, higher taxes."
The Times has the figures.
Republicans want to relieve the rich of burdensome civic responsibilities - taxes - while abolishing social support for the poor, such as it is.  At the same time, their legislation will bring long-term damage to the Democrat Party, with "tax reform" targeting "blue" states like California and NY. 
More here on legislation that does provide benefits for people without work - if they're already well-off.
As befits legislation passed under America's first property-developer president, the Act offers special treatment for real estate income - a late addition reportedly worth as much as $1.1 million to a wavering Republican senator, more here. Other members of congress also profit, and surprising "real estate investment trust" beneficiaries are emerging.  
"Corruption" and "kleptocracy" barely describe the legislation: Trump himself could gain as much as $15 million a year (or even more). 
An official, negative report on the supposed economic benefits of the tax plan was ignored by the Republicans who commissioned it. Most economists, including Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, opposed it, and Thomas Piketty warned of turbocharged inequality in the US. More here.
The ultimate goal seems to be cutting benefits on contrived grounds of financial exigency; it's Republican Party policy. Neal Gabler has more on the Republicans' long game to destroy the social safety net in America through plundering money needed to provide it. 
Trump and Republicans celebrate their windfall
The NY Times posed the question du jour: why do Republicans always support the measures most disliked by voters - and still get elected. 
The final proposal fixed some problems but included hundreds of billions given away in foregone tax collections on at least $2.6 trillion in profits squirreled away overseas in tax havens.  
The Act rewards America's largest corporations for gaming the tax system for years until a Congress could be arranged that would give them bargain repatriation rates of eight percent, and 15.5 percent, respectively, on foreign profits invested in hard and liquid assets; the corporate rate during the years of hoarding was 35 percent. 
It's a windfall for US companies hiding money overseas. They get to repatriate profits at fire sale rates, but historically, tax amnesties have gone towards share buy-backs, executive pay and boosted dividends, not employment or investment.  
A new report prepared for Senator Bernie Sanders shows that $236 billion of the taxes foregone in the repatriation of overseas funds would go to just 15 American corporations, who accepted $3.9 trillion of corporate welfare over the last 30 years in the form of government subsidies, tax credits, and bailouts.  
The actual total cost to the Treasury in lost revenue over ten years could amount to $2.2 trillion.  
*   *   *
A UN special rapporteur on torture recently found that, even now, Guantánamo is a nonconforming site, while the US remains in violation of the Convention Against Torturebecause of its policy of impunity for historic violations, e.g. the CIA's ghastly Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program.
Extrajudicial "renditions" are still with us, and Mr Trump is reportedly considering outsourcing overseas snatches to mercenaries, not unlike the corporate kidnappers who assisted George Bush's "national security" abductions.
The Bush bail-ups have recently been the subject of a Commission of Inquiry in North Carolina, and law profs from the University of North Carolina and Duke Universityparticipated in hearings on the role of a local CIA front company in the agency's torture program.  
Testimony was duly taken, but nothing seems likely to embarrass or shame Aero Contractors Ltd, an NC-based aviation firm that still harbours one of its "torture taxis" in a North Carolina hangar subsidised with public funds. 
A report will be forthcoming.
*   *   *
Flying high at Gitmo's Camp Justice
National Public Radio has gone to Gitmo to cover the "9/11" trial, while it still can: Republicans hope to abolish the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
In the 9/11 case, the military commission is still trying to decide when the war purporting to provide  jurisdiction for the "war crimes" prosecutions actually began. The Pentagon claims its so-called war with al-Qaeda began in the 1990s, based on a unilateral bin Laden fatwa; in fact, only states can declare wars.
In a new military commission, the Pentagon has brought "war crimes" charges against the "Bali bomber" Riduan Isamuddin, with "overt acts" of conspiracy alleged to have begun even earlier, "in the mid-1980s".  
Such arguments previously proved efficacious with chief judge James Pohl in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the severely-tortured man charged with "war crimes" that are unconnected to any war.  
Backdated wars are logically consistent with "retroactive re-characterization" , one of the feints the US tried in its failed attempt to convert civilian "material support for terrorism" into a war crime. It also fits in with the Pentagon's opportunistic re-designation of Guantánamo artworks as government property.
Other new 9/11 commission developments include the production of the document the CIA gave to FBI agents who conducted so-called "clean team" interrogations, more here. The memo was produced after motions by Mustafa al Hawsawi, whose (shudder) "rectal rehydration" by CIA medicos resulted in permanent injuries requiring surgery.
Meanwhile, Just Security has reviewed the case that broke the commissions: Nashiri's.  
*   *   *
Like Caligula, Trump may become a god
Donald Trump: it's hard to disagree with North Korea, where he's regarded as an "old lunatic, mean trickster and human reject".  
In the opinion of America's largest-selling newspaper, USA Today, he's "not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library".  
As the Times' Roger Cohen writes
"you feel the need to wash the ambient crassness and vulgarity from your skin, for they seep into you whatever protection you may wear, and you are aghast at how the GOP has morphed into palace courtiers outdoing each other in praise of their plutocratic reality-show prince."
How will it all end? Cornell law prof and legal writer Michael Dorf found rich pickings in Trumpian hypotheses for his first year Con Law exam; it's highly amusing. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

From Roger Fitch and our Friends Down Under at Justinian....



The unravelling of Trump's America

Tax cuts ... Russia's election in America ... Unqualified judicial appointments ... Contempt at Guantánamo ... Degenerate art ... Our Man in Washington reports 
BANKING on Americans' well-known aversion to paying taxes, congressional Republicans are pushing their misleadingly-named Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a Bill full of party fetishes, including ending the Obamacare mandate and recognising fetal tissue as a human being, even punishing California and graduate students, but mainly having as its purpose, comforting the rich while afflicting everyone else.  
To this end, the House Republicans defended their Bill as a tax cut for the middle class, by redefining low-and-middle income as up to $450,000 a year. 
This Bill passed the House, but it may face a far different fate in the Senate.
Some members of congress would benefit from the repeal of the estate tax, which already generously excludes the first $10.98 million for married decedents.
Extensive benefits are envisioned for Donald J Trump, and not just the estate and inheritance taxes saved. 
*   *   *
Mueller: in pursuit
Americans are still mulling how a mendacious, sub-literate cipher became their president.
Vote suppression was crucial, and there's emerging evidence that Russian-based Facebook advertising in working class states helped round up support by those who did manage to vote. New reports reveal massive funds transfers to Russian embassies during the election, purportedly for media buys, while WikiLeaks suspiciously plied the Jared Kushner-owned New York Observer with "Clinton dirt". 
Nevertheless, former FBI director James Comey remains the chief reason a deadbeat is president, and Trump's team concedes as much.
In her new book about the 2016 election, "What Happened", Hillary Clinton says she now regrets not striking back at Comey's meddling
Various proposals have been put forward meanwhile for dislodging Trump through such legal stratagems as the unindicted co-conspirator, bringing pardon-proof state charges, or a grand jury presentment.
Internal Revenue law seems like another good bet, and in a possible demarcation of a crime scene, the IRS is building a special safe at the tax agency's headquarters to hold Mr Trump's income tax returns.  
It won't stop Special Counsel Robert Mueller perusing them.
Beyond the president, the gormless Donald Trump Jnr is said to be a leading target for indictment. More here and here.
The Justice Department reportedly has ten lawyers and paralegals working on lawsuits related to the president's businesses; unlike Trump's private sector lawyers, they can count on being paid.
Less helpfully, the DoJ says Trump's tweets - presently being considered by the Special Counsel as possible evidence of witness-tampering - are official presidential statements, and interestingly, the International Criminal Court just issued its first arrest warrant gleaned from social media
Mr Trump may yet be "deposed": aggrieved female plaintiffs are suing him for defamatory responses to their accusations of sexual assault and harassment. He'll be encouraged by a leaked DOJ memorandum: it recommends reinstating the discredited practice of grilling rape victims about their sexual history.
Had these women not been manhandled before?  
*   *   *
Clovis: caught up in Russian scandals
Even without tax cuts, soon-to-be-deregulated miners, manufacturers, financial institutions and big polluters dream of a return to some Pre-Roosevelt paradise, and Trump is doing his best to oblige them.
At the Interior Department, needy coal entrepreneurs are being assisted as the National Academy of Sciences halts its profit-endangering coal-mining health studies, while at the Labor Department, the new chief of the Mine Health and Safety Administration is the former CEO of a coal company with a poor safety record.
One of Trump's worst anti-science nominees, Sam Clovis, has withdrawn, after being caught up in the Russian scandals. Clovis, a non-scientist with a public administration degree, had been appointed to the Agriculture Department's top science position, causing outrage
At the "dysfunctional" Environmental Protection Agency, administrator Scott Pruitt found an ingenious way to replace the respected academics advising his agency with more reliable industry "scientists", and to make matters worse, he did so quoting the bible
Banking regulation is meanwhile going backward in a gratifying manner. 
Finally, after a thorough search - or perhaps a Big Pharma auction - Mr Trump found a new Health and Human Services secretary who is arguably worse than his predecessor, the disgraced (Dr) Tom Price.
*   *   *
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recently attacked the federal courts (more here), even as the Trump administration rapidly reshapes the judiciary in Trump's image through nominees so mediocre - or ideological - that the American Bar Association rates them "not qualified".  
More on Trump's extremist judges here, including Thomas Farr, for whom the Republicans kept a seat open 12 years, and some with hardly any experience at all, e.g. the 36-year-old Brett Talley.
*   *   *
General Baker: released from confinement at Camp Justice
At Guantánamo, the Pentagon has completed the bizarre trial of Ahmed al-Darbi. He was convicted by guilty plea - the only sure way - in a military court, for what is essentially civilian piracy.  
The acts giving rise to the prosecution had nothing to do with war, or even the US, and they occurred in international waters far from the US. No American ships or citizens were involved.   
Mr Darbi will now be a witness against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in yet another, equally impossible, non-war case (so recognised since it began).  
Al-Nashiri's case was recently derailed by the resignation - for ethical reasons - of the defence team, just as the supreme court evaded Nashiri's very sound appeal
At that point, the Nashiri commission experiment blew up, with the Nashiri judge sensationally holding Chief Defence Counsel John Baker - a Brigadier General and the second ranking lawyer in the Marine Corps - in contempt, sentencing him to 21 days and a fine.   
Next, the general filed his own habeas action, but before DC judge Royce Lamberth could rule, the Pentagon's "Convening Authority" suspended the contempt order pending appeal, and Gen. Baker was released from confinement in his modest trailer behind "Camp Justice".
*   *   *
Entartete Kunst
The Bush administration showed its affection for Third Reich national security Kultur by adopting the unsettling Gestapo expression, Verschärfte Vernehmung: "Enhanced Interrogation".
While the Wehrmacht might have scrupled at the Plünderung of a prisoner, Obama's armed forces had no problem pillaging the life savings of Djamel Ameziane, a forcibly-repatriatedGuantanamero: he couldn't be trusted to use his funds responsibly.
Under Trump, the Pentagon has extended this principle to confiscate art by Guantánamo inmates, on the same theory: that money - e.g. proceeds from a New York exhibit of their art - could be put to nefarious purposes; tellingly, Ameziane is among the artists in the show.    
Clearly, it's Entartete Kunst.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

From our Friends Down Under at Justinian....


A different swamp

The creepy march of "religious freedom" ... Sidelining anti-discrimination laws in the name of God ... Winding-back clean power and clean water protections ... Employee rights and voter entitlements under threat ... The Supreme Court is back in town ... Trump stock-take from Our Man in Washington, Roger Fitch 
IN the 2014 case of Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores, the US supreme court invented an astonishing new corporate freedom of religion, initially limited to closely-held corporations whose owners asserted religious scruples against particular government policies, e.g. the Affordable Care Act's requirement that contraception be included in health insurance policies.  
This first amendment "religious freedom" for godless legal entities was news to those who had always assumed corporations possessed only the rights and powers assigned them by their charters or legislation.  
Pushing this extraordinary notion of corporate religious liberty ever further, the Trump administration has now proposed that all corporations of any size or composition have "freedom" to e.g. drop federally-mandated contraception coverage from employee health insurance plans.
A policy of pandering to intolerance and chilling anti-discrimination law is now disingenuously wrapped in religion. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is busy re-framing the first amendment's freedom of religion to include "moral" scruples, to be extended to corporations; apparently, these claimed religious/moral objections may then be foisted upon suppliers, customers and employees.  
Corporations asserting "religious freedom" to resist compliance with anti-discrimination and EEO law? It would seem to impose subjective religious beliefs on secular society, and be a triumph of church over state, but Trump's proposed executive order on religion doesn't go far enough for the National Review.  More here
Treasury may also play a role; Trump is attempting to rescind the Johnson Amendment, legislation prohibiting IRS tax exemptions for religious organisations actively participating in partisan politics
*   *   *
"He's a f**king moron" - Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
"Not only is that an insult, he gave away Trump's secret service codename" - Stephen Colbert.
It's been nine months, and a dangerously unstable demagogue, the inexpressibly rude and insulting simpleton Donald Trump, is still president of the US.  
Merciless attacks in the media and by some in his own party have not yet yielded his urgent removal through impeachment, criminal proceedings or (on psychiatric grounds) the 25th amendment.  
Bannon: deconstructionistEven so, the usurpateur's use-by date may be nigh: Republicans could remove him once he signs their proposed "tax reforms" for tax-dodging corporations, lightly-touched estates and sundry other needy rich.   
At nine months, it's time for a Trump stock-take. What has the putative president achieved from his oft-incoherent agenda to (as his former aide Steve Bannon put it) "deconstruct the administrative state"?  
So far, Mr Trump's sole organising principle - aside from attention-seeking and the personal enrichment of family and friends - seems to be the undoing of everything associated with Barack Obama.
On the immigration battlefield, Trump's latest Muslim ban could be more likely to succeed, after the judicious addition of a few Christians (e.g. the pointlessly-persecuted Venezuelans) and the placement of a reliable rightwing Republican, Neil Gorsuch, on the supreme court.  
Federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland, however, have already blocked Muslim Ban Three.  
At the Environmental Protection Agency, Administrator Scott Pruitt is on course to abolish Obama's Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule. Pruitt wants to wind back wind and solar power as well: they compete dreadfully with his first allegiance, the fossil fuel industry.  
There's also grave chemical industry mischief underway, centred around EPA's scientific personnel.  
Energy Secretary Rick Perry meanwhile wants the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to subsidise coal and nuclear plants, and the Interior Department has a secret plan to auction off America's vast public lands for oil and gas development
A Simon & Garfunkel parody says it all. 
At the Education Department, Betsy DeVos is in full flight. Perhaps no other cabinet secretary has had more success with a personal agenda.  
Treasury has done its part by meddling in worthy regulations of other agencies, e.g. the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's limitation on compulsory arbitration (now repealed by the Senate). 
Mr Trump's awful Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, has resigned in a travel-expense scandal. He's just the tip of a travel corruption iceberg; Dr Price also figures in a congressional insider trading scandal involving the Australian biotech Innate Immunotherapeutics. 
The Republican drive to destroy health insurance and underfund medical care may yet succeed, despite the president's cognitive dissonance. In the meantime, the Trump administration continues to undermine Obama's health insurance scheme, a dozen different ways.    
Even the subsidies that are the backbone of the legislation are to be cruelly and foolishly eliminated by Trump's new executive order, more here.  Eighteen states have sued to have the presidential order overturned, but law professor and gadfly Jonathan Turley reckons the order is valid and a good thing, constitutionally-speaking.  
With health insurance on life support, attention is turning to employment law, where the Republican revolution will be easier: the supreme court is back in town, and workers are on the menu.
Thanks to last year's Republican obstruction of Obama's nominee, and the packing of the court this year with the party loyalist Neil Gorsuch (who, early reports suggest, doesn't play well with others), it seems likely that the most profound changes to workers rights since the New Deal will be proclaimed judicially, along party lines, by a five-four majority of unelected justices. 
More here and here
The Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions is leading the charge to turn back the clock on workers' rights, filing briefs in support of corporations and against workers in employment litigation. 
The DoJ is opposing the government's own National Labor Relations Board in the important 2nd circuit case Zarda v Altitude Express, where the Trump DoJ has reversed Obama policy, and supports the right of employers to discriminate against LGBTIemployees, more here.
In rescinding an Obama reading of Title VII (Civil Rights Act 1964) that protected transgender workers from discrimination, the DoJ is also acting contrary to another federal agency: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is currently prosecuting a company for just such discrimination
*   *   *
Jackson: fallibilityThe Attorney General is also actively undermining voting rights, aiding and abetting the depredations on voting rights implemented in "red" states since the supreme court's deeply-flawed Shelby County v Holder(2013) - the case that struck out a key enforcement section of the Voting Rights Act 1965.  
Interestingly, the majority's reliance on mistaken data in Shelby County was recently cited as part of a supreme court problem in a Pro Publica report
Maybe the justices need technical advisers to guard against alternate facts and fake news. And help with innumeracy: an aversion to maths could complicate consensus in the pending partisan gerrymandering case, Gill v Whitford. More here
As Justice Robert Jackson famously wrote  - "We are not final because we are infallible but we are infallible only because we are final."