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Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade signals new phase of fractious American politics – The Globe and Mail

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The leaking of a draft Supreme Court ruling that would overturn protections for abortion set in motion a new phase of fractious American politics that has vast, formidable and unpredictable implications in a country already riven by wide divides.

By reversing Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court would signal a fundamental shift in American social policy and would recast the lives of women, shape the profile of the Congress that will take form after the midterm congressional elections and thrust the high court into prominence it has not possessed since 1954, perhaps since 1857.

The final decision will not be revealed until early summer, and both internal court debate and the reaction to the leak might well shape the final decision, a prospect that could – in this fractious time and on this volatile issue – itself create a furious reaction.

The leak Monday night brought throngs to the street outside the Supreme Court. It may bring throngs to the voting booths this November, when Americans go to the polls in their biannual elections for Congress, which very likely will be the next forum in the abortion politics that have roiled the country for two generations. The Democrats have thin majorities in both chambers that could be enhanced by angry progressives opposing this potential ruling or, just as likely, be eliminated by turbocharged conservatives determined to prevent congressional action to blunt it.

The Supreme Court is above all a political body. It reacts to politics. (The court retreated from its assault on the New Deal after Franklin Roosevelt threatened to expand the court in 1937.) It creates politics. (The court’s 1857 decision on the fugitive slave law and its 1954 decision on racial desegregation set in train vast political change.) And, above all, it practises politics, which may be the motivation of this leak. (Drafts of decisions like this one are part of the internal politics of the court, sometimes prompting negotiations and adjustments in the final decision.)

All of these are in play – and there is almost no precedent in American history.

The three decisions with broadly comparable political and social implications all had robust court majorities. The Roe ruling creating abortion rights and the Dred Scott decision stating that a one-time enslaved person living in a free state was not liberated from bondage both came with 7-2 votes, and the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision came with a 9-0 vote. If the tentative lineup on Roe remains unchanged, the vote could be 5-4, both reflecting and broadening the divides in American life that also have few precedents.

The timing of this leak, and ultimately the timing of the ruling, bring immense electoral implications. Voters are preparing to vote in several midterm congressional primaries, including in Ohio where abortion has been a fiery issue for decades. The final decision will surely be an issue in the general election in November, mobilizing both liberals who deplore the overturn of abortion rights and conservatives who have been mobilizing for this since 1973.

The eventual implementation of the draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito, would be a departure for the court, which often prefers to rule around the edges of precedents rather than overturn them. Even so, Justice Alito cited several occasions when the court took on its earlier precedents, including the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which permitted racial disparities if the facilities involved were “separate but equal”; by shifting the grounds of argument from Constitutional doctrine to social science evidence, the justices ruled in favour of school integration.

Indeed, there remains the possibility that Chief Justice John Roberts, unusually sensitive to his institution’s profile in American life, might prevail upon his colleagues to narrow their ruling. Such negotiations, like drafts of rulings, ordinarily are conducted in deep secrecy, adding to the aura of mystery that surrounds the court but were punctured by the leak, which itself had one important precedent: the Roe decision itself, provided to Time magazine.

The retention of the essence of the draft could create a Newtonian equal-but-opposite reaction, prompting the overturning of the Senate’s filibuster rule. That would open the way for congressional codification of abortion rights on a simple majority vote while the Democrats still hold power on Capitol Hill, though it also would open the possibility that a new Republican majority would use the same powers to countermand the Democrats.

If the decision stands, the ruling would immediately ban abortion in a quarter of the states and, by year’s end, likely result in its ban in half of them, predominantly in the South and Midwest. The number of abortions in the United States is about 630,000 a year, about the same number as in 1973, when Roe was issued, and fewer than half the number of abortions at the 1990 peak. The abortion rate in the United States is 20.8 per 1,000 women aged 15-44 annually, according to the United Nations, as compared with 15.2 in Canada.

The 1973 Roe decision created decades of political upheaval, prompting angry marches in the capital each January on the anniversary of the ruling. The tumult was matched in modern times only by the 1954 desegregation decision, which created waves of political turbulence that took its immediate form in what was called “massive resistance” to school integration but that continues to shape American politics today.

The only certainty in this political environment is that even if the draft decision becomes the final ruling, it will not provide the last word, and surely not the last words, on abortion in the United States.

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In defense of office politics – Smartbrief

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(Image credit: Pexels)

“Office politics” often gets a bad rap. It’s thought of as the domain of catty gossip, shady backroom deals or sycophantic compliments reminiscent of the movies “Office Space” or “9 to 5.”

Thankfully, in real-life, office politics is often much tamer — and also unavoidable for anyone with the ambition to advance.

Why? Because, at its core, office politics is about relationships with colleagues and decision-makers. And nurturing those relationships can go a long way toward advancing your career goals.

What is office politics?

While politics is often derided as purely a popularity contest, there are actually two components — being popular and getting things done.

Let’s think about “real” politics for a moment. You can be very good at getting things done, but if you’re unpopular, you’re not going to be elected in the first place. On the other hand, if you get elected because you’re popular, but fail to accomplish anything, you’ll probably find yourself voted out in the next election.

In office politics, exactly as in “real” politics, you can often get small things done without the support of others. But the more impactful your goals, the more you need to get other people on board to make them happen.

Liked + Trusted + Respected = Influence

To have influence, colleagues need to like you, trust you and respect you.

If you’re not liked, well, that’s pretty much curtains for influencing decisions, unless you’re already the boss. It’s worth noting that to be liked, you must first be known.

If you’re liked, but not respected, you might be involved the discussion, but your view won’t carry any weight. We could call this “Charlie Brown syndrome” after the classic Peanuts character.

If you’re respected but not trusted (think of a well-qualified politician whose agenda you dislike), you may be consulted on an issue but colleagues may have misgivings about your motives.

To influence behavior and decisions in the office requires all three. Liked + Trusted + Respected = Influence.

Can office politics drive value?

Everything we do at CareerPoint is based on our philosophy that career success is driven by the value you create for your employer.

We talk about value creation by referencing eight drivers of value. You could think of these as the atomic elements of employee value. It’s a framework you could use to analyze almost anything in relation to HR or career advancement. Why? Because anything that affects your value as an employee influences both the success of your career and the success of your company.

What we know as “office politics” touches on several of these value drivers, but let’s focus on just two: Relationships and positioning.

Nurturing relationships

Of all the categories of relationships that drive value for a company, none are more significant than customer relationships. If customers like, respect and trust you, they are more likely to highly value your services, keep buying them and recommend them to others. They’re also likely to be patient with you when things go awry, as things inevitably do.

The value of customer relationships can be tremendous and long-lasting. In a law firm, a single relationship can be worth tens of millions of dollars. Relationships are so important that when a partner moves from one firm to another, they often take the relationships with them. In fact, it’s hard to think of an industry where good customer relationships can’t move the dial on company success.

This means good customer relationships are a source of influence for employees. If customers highly regard you, the business won’t want to lose you and ought to value your opinion. If, on the other hand, no customer would notice or care if you left, your influence on decisions and events will be more limited.

Positioning yourself for advancement

The value driver most closely aligned with office politics is the one we’ve named Positioning. It’s all about navigating office politics to position yourself for advancement. After all, you could be the hardest working and most valuable employee in the business but fail to secure advancement if you don’t understand the politics.

The best way to think about this is to imagine a meeting of your company’s management team. Your potential promotion is being discussed. What do you want everyone to say and do?

Obviously, you want everyone to say that you are the best choice for the role. But will they?

There’s nothing you can do at this moment. It’s too late to influence any further.

In some ways, the discussion is a culmination of everything you’ve said and done since you’ve joined the company. The decision will be made largely on how the participants feel about you and the idea of you in a new, more influential role.

This is no idle abstraction. This is exactly how most advancement decisions are made. If you want to advance, the advocacy of every person around the table is what you’re solving for in the game of office politics.

5 tips for becoming an effective office politician

Here are five quick tips you can use to help build trust, respect and likeability in your workplace.

  1. Get involved with projects and initiatives outside of your team and department whenever possible. This will help you begin to widen your network.
  2. Avoid overusing email with new connections. It’s impossible to establish a relationship over email. Use the phone or arrange a quick Zoom/Teams/Webex meeting.
  3. Aim to impress every single new person you work with, both inside and outside the organization. First impressions count and impressing people is often easier than you think.  Just be reliable, responsive and helpful. Do things faster or better than they expect.
  4. You don’t build influence by being a weathervane who simply goes along with everything, but you don’t build influence by opposing everything, either. The middle course is to articulate your position clearly, call the pros and cons as you see them, accept that others will see it differently and get on board with decisions you don’t agree with.
  5. Do favors for people when it helps them without expecting anything in return. If you are generous by nature, you will build a network of influence and appreciation, and you’ll be seen as a team player. This network will help you get things done down the line.

Remember, no matter how much you hate it, office politics is a part of office life we all have to contend with. Instead of avoiding it, put your best foot forward, take smart risks, make mistakes, and learn from them.


To find out how CareerPoint can help you and your team navigate office politics and create the win/win relationships you need to succeed, visit CareerPoint’s website today.

Originally from the west coast of Scotland, Steve McIntosh is a recovering accountant (ICAEW), HR professional (GPHR) and MBA (University of Oxford). After starting his career with global accounting firm KPMG in 1998, Steve founded offshore financial services recruitment firm CML in 2004, which he led as CEO for 16 years.

In 2020, he founded CareerPoint.com, the virtual coaching platform that helps companies and their people get ahead of the curve. With customers and coaches in more than 30 countries around the world, CareerPoint is well on its way to achieving its twofold mission to help a million young people advance in their careers and level the playing field for underrepresented groups.

McIntosh is a “zealous convert” to the value of HR as a driver of business value and the author of “The Employee Value Curve: the unifying theory of HR and career advancement helping companies and their people succeed together.“

If you liked this article, sign up for SmartBrief’s free email newsletters on HR and leadership. They’re among SmartBrief’s more than 250 industry-focused newsletters.

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Czechc Republic: President grants 103 citizens permission to join the Ukrainian military

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Prague, Czech Republic- As the war between Ukraine and Russia rages on, the Czech Republic has now become the latest country to offer military support to Ukraine.

According to the Czech Republic Presidency, President Milos Zeman has granted 103 citizens a special exemption, allowing them to join the Ukrainian military.

Some 400 volunteers had applied for a waiver with the goal of fighting for Ukraine against Russia.

The country requires special permission signed by the President and the Prime Minister to serve in a foreign military force. Otherwise, they face prosecution at home and potentially a five-year prison term.

In addition, the Defense Ministry then reviews each case individually in cooperation with the Interior Ministry and the Foreign Ministry before forwarding the paperwork to the President’s Office for approval.

At the same time, the United States House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a US$39.8 billion package of military and other assistance to Ukraine.

“Ukrainian people are fighting the fight for their democracy, and in doing so, for ours as well. With this aid package, America sends a resounding message to the world of our unwavering determination to stand with the courageous people of Ukraine until victory is won,” said House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

The package is expected to provide US$6 billion for weaponry, intelligence support, training and other defence assistance to Ukrainian forces, as well as US$8.7 billion to replenish American equipment sent to the country. It will also allocate US$3.9 billion for European Command operations, including intelligence support and hardship pay for troops in the region.

In addition, Legislation also set aside US$13.9 billion for the State Department, with the bulk going toward the Economic Support Fund to help Ukraine’s government continue to function, another US$4.4 billion for emergency food assistance in Ukraine and around the world as well as US$900 million to assist Ukrainian refugees, including housing, English language, trauma and support services.

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Braid: Twin battles of Alberta in hockey and politics set for Wednesday – Calgary Herald

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There’s no certainty at all that the political fight ends Wednesday, even if Jason Kenney wins a majority

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Premier Jason Kenney’s backers sincerely hope their Battle of Alberta ends the very night the monumental Flames-Oilers version begins.

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Kenney will hold an event at Spruce Meadows for supporters, with media also attending, starting late afternoon Wednesday. The results from a vote on his leadership are expected by about 6 p.m.

“We’re anticipating a very exciting and intense evening with the eyes of the entire province glued to a bitterly contested battle, the result of which will reverberate across Alberta maybe for years to come,” says key Kenney campaigner Brock Harrison.

“Oh, and we’re also going to finally see the result of our leadership review.”

The count will come from Cynthia Moore, the UCP president, and chief returning officer Rick Orman.

Shortly after that, the Flames and the Oilers face off at the Saddledome for Game 1 of the second round of Stanley Cup playoff action.

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  1. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announces construction of a major highway project in Leduc, Alberta on Thursday, May 12, 2022

    Whether Kenney wins or loses on May 18, the UCP is still headed for a showdown

  2. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks to United Conservative Party members at the party's special general meeting in Red Deer on April 9, 2022.

    Braid: The tiny, tightly controlled event that launched the Kenney leadership vote

Harrison says, “Although our results won’t be known until the early evening, we will absolutely make sure we’re all wrapped up in good time for people to settle in and watch the game.”

The unforgivable political sin for the next two weeks would be to interfere with the real Battle of Alberta.

In hockey, unlike politics, conflict is right out there on the ice. There’s a serious chance of sportsmanship breaking out, and we know it will be over by May 30 at the latest, with one team clearly the winner.

There’s no certainty at all that the political fight ends Wednesday, even if Kenney wins a majority and can technically stay on as party leader and premier.

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Brian Jean speaks to the media after being sworn in as an MLA on April 7.
Brian Jean speaks to the media after being sworn in as an MLA on April 7. Photo by Ed Kaiser /Postmedia

Many of his opponents are in no mood to fall into line. New UCP member Brian Jean may not accept the result.

Other caucus members like Peter Guthrie, Angela Pitt and Leela Aheer are unlikely to reconcile with Kenney, even if he has a substantial majority.

The premier is being advised to purge the whole group from caucus, sending them to sit as Independents with already expelled members Todd Loewen and Drew Barnes.

Kenney may not follow that advice right away. Some effort at conciliation is possible.

But after all that’s been said and done in recent months — the anti-Kenney letters and comments from his own MLAs — it’s hard to imagine a sudden burst of goodwill popping up with the spring tulips.

And there’s a chance that the premier doesn’t get a majority and must resign; or that his majority is so small he would still be under extreme pressure to quit.

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One curiosity is that the political result, unlike the hockey series, is already decided and has been since May 11.

That was the cutoff date for returned mail-in ballots to reach the auditor, Deloitte Canada in Edmonton. No ballots received later were allowed.

This return mail has been examined for voter verification but the actual ballots remain in their sealed envelopes. They will be opened and counted starting the morning of May 18 — this Wednesday.

Suspicion that envelopes were improperly handled may actually have been amplified by the party’s running livestream of voter ID verification. The sight of people repeatedly opening envelopes and discarding some paper seemed mysterious.

But even Kenney opponents who did some of the work (they were allowed by the party) say there’s no way the verification could have been gamed.

Once voter ID was established, the ballot envelopes were packed into clear plastic boxes, each sealed with a unique code.

When the votes are counted Wednesday, dozens of people will be present including scrutineers from hostile UCP riding associations.

That doesn’t answer questions about membership sales, some of which are now being investigated by Elections Alberta. In today’s political climate, there’s always doubt.

That’s one reason the hockey series is so welcome. At least we’ll be absolutely sure who won.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

Twitter: @DonBraid

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