2019
July
02
Tuesday

Welcome to your Daily. Today we look at the quieter moves of the high court’s term, a surprising salmon-habitat solution, Ireland’s rethinking of sexual assault trials, Hawaiians’ take on Independence Day, and a wounded Green Beret’s will to come back stronger.

First, consider a question: “What do you think of Donald Trump?”

Just about anywhere in the world, it’s a conversation starter. In Moscow, the reactions can be priceless. Last Friday, after a week in Russia, I asked my cabdriver to share his thoughts. Andrei didn’t hesitate.

“Trump is a strong uncle,” the driver said. “He drinks the blood of babies.”

Andrei meant this as a compliment, in an allusion to tales of how Russian czars got their energy.

More on President Trump: “He looks like a world leader. He has money; he has everything.”

I just attended my seventh Dartmouth Conference since 2015, a dialogue for prominent Americans and Russians to brainstorm ways to improve a bilateral relationship that has steadily worsened. Arms control, regional conflicts, and cultural matters were on the table. Our joint recommendations were then shared at senior levels of both governments.

But it’s the peripheral interactions – the meals, the excursions – that give the process its juice. By now, core participants greet each other as old friends. New participants with new ideas are welcomed. We also watch proudly as Dartmouth veterans are called to official service, as with U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey and leading Russian academic Vitaly Naumkin, both envoys on Syria. We can’t help but think that their Dartmouth experiences have informed their diplomacy. 

Then there’s Andrei the cabdriver. Understanding him and other average Russians puts the rarefied Dartmouth discussions into a larger context. Andrei’s reaction to Mr. Trump came as no surprise. When I ask about Vladimir Putin, Andrei is noncommittal – “maybe good, maybe not,” perhaps a reflection of the Russian president’s softening popularity. “But Putin is eternal. Nobody can replace him.”

When I broach the turmoil in Ukraine – Andrei’s native country – he dismisses the new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, as a comedian and doesn’t even mention President Putin. He looks again to a leader he clearly admires.

“If Trump was president,” he says, “he would restore order.”

In this part of the world, the love of perceived strongmen lives – especially from afar.

Share this article

shadow

1. In the shadows: Supreme Court’s offstage moves may matter more

Sometimes, the Supreme Court decisions that don’t make headlines may wind up having more significance.

Linda

Two ways to read the story

  • Quick Read
  • Deep Read ( 6 Min. )

The Supreme Court term that just ended was relatively quiet on merits cases, although the partisan gerrymandering decision will have major long-term ramifications, as could the court’s unanimous decision to rein in civil asset forfeiture by law enforcement.

But a number of actions on the court’s “shadow docket” could have major implications for the next term – during a presidential election campaign – and beyond.

Definitions of the shadow docket vary, but it essentially encompasses every decision the justices make that doesn’t receive an oral argument. These decisions can range from declining to hear a case to staying (or declining to stay) the execution of a death row inmate. Partly because the justices often debate and decide them behind closed doors, they rarely receive the widespread attention that major decisions do.

Among the quiet, but potentially major moves: deciding capital punishment cases, sidestepping abortion cases, and taking up cases on DACA, “Obamacare,” and school choice next term.

“This term has been slow on merit actions, but it has been an interesting term on the shadow docket,” says Josh Blackman, an associate professor at the South Texas College of Law. “We’ve had these small orders that have been quiet but fairly significant.”

Collapse

In the shadows: Supreme Court’s offstage moves may matter more

In a matter of hours last Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a citizenship question from next year’s census and blocked federal courts from hearing challenges to extreme partisan gerrymandering.

Twenty-four hours later, as the reactions continued to pour in, the court made the quiet, but equally seismic, decision to hear a case about President Donald Trump’s decision to end an Obama-era program protecting hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children.

That case concerning the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, likely one of the biggest cases the court decides next year, was also one of the headline features of the court’s “shadow docket.”

Definitions of the shadow docket vary, but it essentially encompasses every decision the justices make that doesn’t receive a merits-based oral argument. These decisions can range from declining to hear a case to staying (or declining to stay) the execution of a death row inmate. Due in part to the fact the justices often debate and decide them behind closed doors, they rarely receive the widespread attention that major decisions do.

That hasn’t been quite the case this past term. While the partisan gerrymandering decision will have major long-term ramifications, as could the court’s unanimous decision to rein in civil asset forfeiture by law enforcement agencies, the past term has been relatively quiet on merits cases. Arguably the biggest story of the term was Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation to replace the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy last fall.

A number of actions on the shadow docket, meanwhile, could have major implications for the next term – during a presidential election campaign – and beyond.

“This term has been slow on merit actions, but it has been an interesting term on the shadow docket,” says Josh Blackman, an associate professor at the South Texas College of Law. “We’ve had these small orders that have been quiet but fairly significant.”

Sidestepping abortion

Also last Friday, the Supreme Court declined to hear an abortion case, leaving in place a lower court ruling that struck down a 2016 Alabama law criminalizing a common type of abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Sidestepping abortion issues has been a feature of the court’s shadow docket this past term. The future of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide, was front of mind after Justice Kennedy, an unpredictable vote on abortion, retired. The immediate repeal of the decision that some feared did not arrive, however.

First, the court in December declined to hear cases from Louisiana and Kansas over their attempts to block public funding for Planned Parenthood.

Two months later, Chief Justice John Roberts joined his four liberal colleagues in voting to stop a restrictive abortion law from going into effect in Louisiana while it moves through the courts. The law, which requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, is almost identical to a Texas law the court struck down in 2016.

Since January, the court had also been considering whether to review a challenge to parts of a 2016 Indiana law. The case didn’t directly challenge abortion’s constitutionality, but in May the justices gave some insight into their thinking on the issue in a compromise decision.

The unsigned three-page opinion upheld one part of the law (new restrictions on the disposal of fetal remains) and struck down another (prohibiting women from getting abortions based on gender, race, or disability of the fetus). “The case, as litigated,” the opinion said, “does not implicate our cases applying the undue burden test to abortion regulations,” referring to the series of cases stemming from Roe.

In a 20-page solo concurrence, Justice Clarence Thomas implicated those cases anyway. With that concurrence, which linked abortion to late 19th century and early 20th century eugenics policies, Justice Thomas takes decades of legal debate over abortion in a “different direction,” says Steven Schwinn, a professor at John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

“So much of the abortion debate is about fetal personhood. Should a fetus be recognized as a person? If so, when does it become a person?” he adds. “What Justice Thomas is saying here is basically it doesn’t matter.”

“If it takes root with more than one justice,” he continues, “it’s going to allow the court to have a new conversation about abortion that may make it easier to find a five-justice majority to overturn Roe.”

There are no abortion cases on the court’s docket for next term yet, though the Louisiana law requiring admitting privileges could return. Conservative states are also passing new restrictive abortion laws, which could lead to legal challenges and circuit-court splits the justices need to resolve.

Some court watchers believe the justices have been avoiding the issue, with emotions still raw from the Kavanaugh confirmation. Some believe the conservative justices won’t take significant action on abortion while it could be turned into a campaign issue for Democrats in the 2020 elections. Either way, the erosion of abortion access since the Supreme Court first upheld the core of Roe in 1992 is expected to continue. In that decision, the court ruled that women had a constitutional right to an abortion but that states could impose limitations, so long as they did not constitute an “undue burden.”

“Planned Parenthood v. Casey [in 1992] gutted Roe. That was decades ago. That gutting is now being displayed in case after case,” says Kimberly West-Faulcon, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Life, death, and next term

The most important decisions made every year on the court’s shadow docket involve the death penalty, and the past term saw the justices spar in unusually personal terms on a series of capital cases.

The controversy began in early February, when the high court ruled in a 5-4 vote along ideological lines that Alabama could execute Domineque Hakim Ray, a Muslim man, without his imam at his side. The conservative majority said he waited too long to make the request, a decision Justice Elena Kagan described in her dissent as “profoundly wrong.”

In April the court rejected an appeal from another Alabama death row inmate, Christopher Lee Price, who said the state’s method of execution would cause him excruciating pain. In a brief, unsigned middle-of-the-night opinion – again 5-4 – the conservative majority said Mr. Price had missed the deadline to request a different method of execution. Justice Stephen Breyer, a longtime critic of the death penalty who had seen his request for the justices to discuss the decision the next morning denied, issued a blistering dissent joined by his liberal colleagues.

“To proceed in this matter in the middle of the night without giving all members of the court the opportunity for discussion tomorrow morning is, I believe, unfortunate,” he wrote. “To proceed in this way calls into question the basic principles of fairness that should underlie our criminal justice system.” 

A month later Justice Thomas, joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, wrote a rare after-the-fact opinion to “set the record straight.” Claims like Mr. Price’s threaten “to make last-minute stay applications the norm instead of the exception,” he wrote. “The proper response to this maneuvering is to deny meritless requests expeditiously.”

Those death penalty cases “saw a lot of the internal tensions spill out into the open,” says Professor Blackman.

Given the stakes, it’s more common to see this outpouring of emotion in death penalty cases, court watchers say. But some of the abortion cases saw similar jabs between justices. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s objection to Indiana mandating that fetal remains be buried “makes little sense,” Justice Thomas wrote in his concurrence. Justice Ginsburg shot back at Justice Thomas’ regular use of the word “mother” in his concurrence. “A woman who exercises her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy is not a ‘mother,’” she wrote.

The five conservatives formed the most common five-vote majority this term, in eight of the court’s 20 decisions that were 5-4 or 5-3. (Justice Gorsuch joined the four liberals in four decisions, the most of any conservative justice.) Next term, in addition to the DACA case, the justices have chosen to hear potentially divisive cases on the Affordable Care Act and school choice.

“Some would expect, and hope, [the left-leaning justices] would be more vocal and more biting, and more declarative and clear, in why it is they disagree with the majority,” says Professor West-Faulcon.

“If they are on a court where few people are persuadable, which is what I believe, we’re probably going to be seeing it in the future.”

shadow

2. In Idaho, plight of salmon spawns unorthodox proposal

In the Pacific Northwest, a growing number of advocates are questioning the conventional wisdom that the interests of salmon and hydropower are inherently at odds.

Linda

Two ways to read the story

  • Quick Read
  • Deep Read ( 7 Min. )

As salmon populations grow increasingly vulnerable, some advocates in Idaho see hope for a solution that in the past seemed unthinkable in the region: Breach the dams that hinder the fish as they migrate to the ocean and later return to spawn.

In a region that has long relied on hydroelectric power and grain exports, the idea of forgoing reliable electricity and removing navigable waters faces an uphill battle, but it is gaining traction in unexpected quarters. Recognizing that hydropower is no longer the region’s cheapest option, Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, a Republican, said it’s time to consider the idea.

“After spending $16 billion on salmon recovery over the last however many years, is it working?” he asked in a speech to stakeholders on April 23. “All of Idaho’s salmon runs are either threatened or endangered. Look at the number of returning salmon and the trend line is not going up. It’s going down.”

Conservationists suggest that the plan might work. According to Justin Hayes, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League, “If you get out of their way, the fish will make a pretty significant return.” 

Collapse

In Idaho, plight of salmon spawns unorthodox proposal

Justin Hayes points to a map that shows the route salmon must take in their juvenile journey out to the ocean ​– and eight reasons why it’s so difficult.

For ages, the smolts glided swiftly with the currents. In modern times, they must negotiate an arduous passage over or through eight dams. 

To Mr. Hayes of the Idaho Conservation League, that is four dams too many. Most of the young fish are perishing. 

These are the fish that Lewis and Clark spotted (and ate) in abundance on their expedition in 1805. To the native peoples of this region, they were a core of both diet and culture. Even the forest landscapes, Mr. Hayes says, have been shaped by the way migrating fish transfer nutrients gathered in the ocean to mountain streams when they die after spawning. 

For decades, two priorities in the Pacific Northwest – salmon and the hydroelectric dams that power the region’s economy – have seemed inescapably opposed. But old assumptions may have started to shift. 

At a conference here in Boise this spring, Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho put an idea on the table that has long been resisted by elected politicians: possibly breaching some of the dams ​– to unblock the river to help the threatened fish populations survive and recover.

Equally important, perhaps, was the way this Republican congressman framed the discussion. The hydropower system faces a crisis just like the salmon do, and “they are interwoven.”  The changing economics of electricity ​– with hydropower no longer the region’s lowest-cost option ​– appears to be breaching old ways of thinking.

“There is a new fact on the field,” says Mr. Hayes. And he says that, as Mr. Simpson elevates this discussion, “for the first time in many years I feel like we have a hopeful chance of saving salmon for future generations.”

A struggling business model

Support for breaching dams is far from universal, but there’s no doubt that the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) faces an altered outlook. For years, this federal power-marketing agency had its core customers in the region hooked on cheap hydropower. 

Now, as natural gas and renewable sources like solar and wind have grown cheaper, retaining those core customers can no longer be assumed. (Their contracts expire in 2028.) Meanwhile, the BPA finds itself squeezed by high debt loads, the cost burden of fish-recovery efforts, and a decline in demand from California for the agency’s surplus power.

Bonneville hasn’t endorsed dam breaching, and is working to implement a strategic plan to address its challenges. But BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer has been blunt about the stakes.

“It’s been a bloodbath for folks in the wholesale market,” he said in a public appearance last year. “I’m not in a panic mode, but I am in a very, very significant sense of urgency mode.”

In April speech to various stakeholders gathered in Boise, Congressman Simpson argued that it’s time to seek a holistic solution, by rewriting the 1980 Northwest Power Act to reflect the needs for both electricity and fish. He didn’t call for dam removal outright, but he questioned pointedly whether the four dams on the lower Snake River – which account for barely 13 percent of BPA’s hydropower capacity – are needed.

Signs of a shift

His speech isn’t the only sign of fresh urgency regarding endangered salmon.

Washington state’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, with an eye on struggling populations of orcas that rely on salmon for food, has supported extra spilling of water over dams to aid the oceanward migration of young fish. Both he and Republican Gov. Brad Little of Idaho are convening task forces on how to do more.

Yet Mr. Simpson’s nudging toward new federal legislation on the issue ​may be the most significant step of all.

“We’ve never really heard a congressional leader from the Northwest delegation kind of lay that on the table,” says Jaime Pinkham, executive director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, in Portland, Oregon.

Mark Trumbull/The Christian Science Monitor
Justin Hayes, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League, stands outside the group's office in Boise on June 7, 2019. He calls for removing four dams on the lower Snake River, to allow for the state's native salmon populations to survive.

The idea of breaching dams faces political hurdles as uphill as the ones returning salmon make through fish ladders on their journey to spawn. Even the Fish Commission, representing four tribes with treaty rights for harvesting fish, hasn’t officially endorsed the idea yet.

Since a range of factors affect fish populations, from ocean conditions to predators, some observers ask if it would make much difference to demolish dams or breach them to restore a free-flowing river. But on that question, Mr. Pinkham cites research by fish biologists to give an unhesitating answer. 

“You bet it will!” he says. 

Big concerns for farmers

But breaching dams has harsh critics, too. It would disrupt everything from electricity supplies to irrigation to the ability of farmers to export their grain to Asia.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse, both Republican members of Congress from farm-oriented districts in Washington state, released a joint statement May 20: “We stand with the people of Central and Eastern Washington who rely on the Snake River dams.” They asked Governor Inslee to veto a state-funded study on dam breaching.

Farmers’ concerns run deep. Tom Davis, director of government relations at the Washington Farm Bureau, says grain shipments hinge on a navigable river, which in turn is created by the pooling of water into reservoirs. He says breaching the dams would not only disrupt grain exports, but also require building new diversion points for drawing river water for irrigation.

Other critics of dam breaching include tourist-boat operators. Still others say a virtue of the dams is producing clean and “dispatchable” power, potentially available at times when sunshine or wind might not be. 

Alfredo Sosa/Staff/File
Bureau of Reclamation employees discuss the installation of a fish ladder on the Cle Elum dam on August 10, 2016 in Cle Elum, Washington. The dam is located on the site of a deep glacier lake in the Stuart range. The project seeks to install a newly developed fish ladder that will allow the fish to exit the lake bypassing the dam is a safe manner.

 

Beneath the debate, too, is a regional gap in political identity and trust. Farmers in eastern Washington, Mr. Davis says, “get very tired of folks in Seattle telling them how to live their lives.”

Mr. Simpson says it’s time to seek creative answers. Could truck or rail transport be expanded in a way that works for farmers? Could the region lean on its national labs to become a leader in battery storage for the grid, and in a safer next generation of nuclear power plants?

Whatever the details, consensus building will be vital if a bill focused on Columbia-Snake complexities is to pass Congress.

“It would take a coordinated and cooperative Northwest delegation to make something like that happen,” says Tom Karier, an economist at Eastern Washington University.

Not all salmon are at risk. But important populations in Idaho are listed as either endangered (sockeye) or threatened (notably the spring and summer chinook salmon). Other migratory fish including steelhead are also threatened. 

“The fish are imperiled,” says Jason Vogel, acting director of fishery research with the Nez Percé Tribe, based in Lapwai, Idaho. 

“Here in Idaho there is not a single river or stream where there are enough fish returning” to be deemed a sustainable population, as determined by federal scientists under the Endangered Species Act, he says.

A recovery would benefit not only the fish themselves, and tribes with harvesting rights. It also would buoy a now-constrained recreational fishing industry. And it would help malnourished orcas, whose plight has prompted more than 750,000 people to sign an online petition supporting dam breaching.

A comeback for the chinook?

Among the benefits of breaching or removing dams: less water pooled in reservoirs. The result would be safer (cooler) water temperatures for the salmon, a more normal pace of their migration, and fewer predators along the way.

“It’s a matter of cumulative effects,” explains Joseph Bogaard, executive director of Save Our Wild Salmon, a Seattle-based coalition. Each dam is a hurdle, but research suggests there’s a big difference between needing to pass four versus eight.

Mr. Bogaard says dam removal on smaller rivers has been successful. “The lower Snake restoration provides an order of magnitude [more] habitat,” he adds. “There’s tremendous potential of a very big restoration [of fish].” 

Mr. Pinkham, who is from the Nez Percé Tribe, is among the stakeholders who says he’ll be meeting with Mr. Simpson in coming weeks to confer about possible answers.

Finding a consensus may require compassion and humility as well as outside-the-box thinking.

“We always say you want to make everybody whole” in situations like this, Mr. Pinkham says. “Tribes haven’t been made whole since those dams were built. Others may feel that sense of sacrifice too.”

Despite the rifts among interest groups, Representative Simpson’s push for fresh thinking gives Mr. Pinkham hope. 

“Is he a linchpin? I would say he is,” Mr. Pinkham says. The congressman made a commitment to explore this issue, and “I think he has the leadership to do it, regardless of who controls the House or the administration.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct a reference on which Snake River fish populations are officially listed as endangered or threatened.

shadow

3. A rape trial sparked outrage. A year later, Ireland grapples with reform.

Ireland’s #MeToo moment – a highly-publicized and criticized trial of two rugby players accused of rape last year – may be fueling change. The island is working to improve the way it handles rape and sexual abuse trials.

Linda
Liam McBurney/PA/AP
Belfast Feminist Network activists hold a protest outside the Kingspan Stadium in east Belfast, Northern Ireland, on April 13, 2018, to pressure Ulster Rugby and the Irish Rugby Football Union for action against what they call a misogynistic culture within rugby.

Two ways to read the story

  • Quick Read
  • Deep Read ( 5 Min. )

Northern Ireland’s #MeToo moment came last year, during the March trial of two rugby players charged with raping a woman. The trial illustrated why survivors are often hesitant to report rape and sexual assault, said advocates: The accuser endured hostile cross-examination; lawyers questioned why she didn’t scream, suggested she had pursued one of the men, and passed her bloody underwear around the courtroom. The jury deliberated for less than four hours before acquitting all defendants. The response echoed across the island: “I believe her.”

Now, Ireland and Northern Ireland are taking steps toward reforming the way sexual violence cases are investigated and tried. In May, an independent review recommended changes to make the process less onerous for victims, including ending public access to such trials, allowing cross-examination before trial and playing a recording of it during proceedings, and educating juries to combat rape myths.  

Changes like this would help rebalance the system, says Noeline Blackwell, head of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. “The structure dealing with victims of intimate violence should be different to the structure dealing with other types of crime which do not impact in the same traumatic way on victims.”

Collapse

A rape trial sparked outrage. A year later, Ireland grapples with reform.

One year after Ireland’s own #MeToo movement, Ireland and Northern Ireland are both taking steps toward reforming the way sexual violence cases are investigated and tried. 

The changes were largely prompted by public outcry across the island after two famous rugby players were acquitted of rape after a highly public trial in Belfast last year. After the verdict, thousands of people took to the streets on both sides of the border, decrying judicial systems they say are weighted against survivors of sexual violence. Now those concerns are being considered in the halls of government. In May, the final report of an independent review of how the criminal justice system deals with sexual offenses recommended changes to make the process less onerous for victims in Northern Ireland. And a similar review is underway in the Republic of Ireland.

Advocates say change is urgently needed to ensure judicial systems can deliver justice for victims of rape and sexual assault, and avoid further harming them.

Rape is the only crime “where victims always seem to have to defend themselves,” says Shaneda Daly, a survivor who started a support network for others. Many victims are reluctant to go to police and face a trial because of the way they are often treated and the hurdles they face, she says – the long delays that draw out a difficult process; the possibility of being retraumatized in investigations or court, where police, lawyers, and judges sometimes buy into myths about rape; the inconsistency in sentencing. “These things keep survivors from coming forward. One hundred percent find it retraumatizing,” says Ms. Daly.

Northern Ireland’s #MeToo moment 

In Belfast, the outcry began last year, after the trial in March of two Ulster and Ireland rugby players charged with raping a woman, and two other men charged with lesser offenses. The proceedings were open to the public, and because of the players’ celebrity status, the gallery was packed with media and members of the public.

On display were many of the issues advocates say keep survivors from reporting rape and sexual assault to authorities: The accuser was on the witness stand for eight days and endured hostile cross-examination from each defendant’s lawyer. They asked her why she didn’t scream, and suggested she had pursued one of the men she said raped her. They grilled her over minor inconsistencies in the account she gave soon after the alleged assault, and passed her bloody underwear around the courtroom. Though she was supposed to remain anonymous, her name was shared on social media.

The jury deliberated for less than four hours before acquitting all four defendants. The crowds who gathered in Belfast, Dublin, and elsewhere across the island used the rallying cry “I believe her.”

The following month, as public debate over the trial raged, retired judge Sir John Gillen was commissioned to lead a review into how Northern Ireland’s criminal justice system deals with cases of sexual violence. The final report, delivered in May, lays out 253 recommendations for changes, including ending public access to such trials; allowing, in some cases, cross-examination to take place before the trial and playing a recording of it during the proceedings; offering legal representation to victims before trial; educating juries to combat rape myths; preventing improper cross-examination of the victim’s previous sexual history; and taking “radical steps to combat excessive delay in the criminal justice system.”

In interviews with the press, Mr. Gillen has said 75% of the changes do not require legislation, and many could be implemented within “weeks and months.”

Combatting misconceptions

Ireland has a separate judicial system than Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Belfast trial sparked demands for a reckoning here, as well. The outcry was renewed in November after a rape trial in Cork, in southern Ireland, in which the defendant’s lawyer asked the jury to consider the type of underwear the victim was wearing while arguing that the defendant was not guilty. He was acquitted. More protests erupted, and Irish legislator Ruth Coppinger held up lacy underwear in the assembly to decry “routine victim-blaming.”

Niall Carson/PA/AP
Protesters gather in Dublin on November 14, 2018, to support victims of sexual violence. After one lawyer linked a victim’s underwear with consent in a rape trial last year, protesters have begun displaying underwear to decry victim-blaming.

In August, the minister of justice appointed law professor Tom O’Malley to conduct a review of the way sexual violence cases are handled in the Irish Republic. The report is not yet released, but it will consider the issues of extra training on sexual violence for the police and the judiciary, additional support to victims during the process, prerecorded victim testimony, and public attendance at trials. 

The Cork trial illustrates how common societal misconceptions about rape can also be held by lawyers, police, judges, and juries, says Noeline Blackwell, head of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. 

“Inevitably, our lawyers and judges are just more of the people in our society. And as a result of that, they too come with the myths, with the lack of understanding, and particularly the lack of understanding of the impact of trauma,” she says. “So the fact that in a sense these cases are just treated in exactly the same way as any other criminal trial means we are missing something important, and that is the impact of the case on the victim of the crime.”

Reconsidering rape and abuse trials 

Ms. Daly, the survivor whose father pleaded guilty to 227 counts of rape and sexual assault after she reported him to police, started a group called Survivors Side by Side, for survivors of sexual violence to support each other. She says trials like those in Belfast and Cork make clear why many survivors don’t come forward.

“There’s so much that the courts just don’t understand,” says Ms. Daly, criticizing the way judges and lawyers sometimes buy into rape myths, like questioning if an attack was really rape if the victim did not scream. “Your mind is never going to forget about it, it’s never going to recover. You can move forward, but that trauma is there for the rest of your life,” she says. 

“In murder trials they bring in experts, in rape and abuse trials they should bring experts in as well, and they shouldn’t be allowed to say, ‘Well why didn’t you shout out, why didn’t you scream.’ There should be an expert to explain why she didn’t.” 

Changes like this would help rebalance the system, which now favors the rights of the accused over the rights of the victim, adds Ms. Blackwell.

“I’m not saying a victim should be able to say something without the accused having full right to a fair trial, fair hearing, because that’s really important,” she says. “But at the same time, the structure dealing with victims of intimate violence should be different to the structure dealing with other types of crime which do not impact in the same traumatic way on victims.”

shadow

4. Whose independence? Why some Native Hawaiians don’t celebrate July 4.

What does American liberty mean? It depends on whom you ask. While Independence Day is a joyful celebration for many Americans, for some Native Hawaiians, it is a painful reminder of the loss of sovereignty.

Linda
Cory Lum/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu poses at the ʻIolani Palace, the cultural heart of Honolulu. 'I feel a sense of duty and obligation to Hawaii because Hawaii is my homeland,' she says.

Two ways to read the story

  • Quick Read
  • Deep Read ( 6 Min. )

“‘This is when they stole all of our land,’” Konia Freitas recalls her mother seething, during a film depicting the early arrival of Americans on Hawaiian shores. Throughout her childhood, Dr. Freitas heard this refrain with little explanation. It wasn’t until later that she pieced together the full history of her homeland.

Prior to becoming the 50th U.S. state in 1959, Hawaii was a sovereign territory. In 1893, American businessmen and plantation owners overthrew the constitutional monarchy. For Dr. Freitas, July Fourth is a reminder of cultural loss. In the century following the overthrow, many Native Hawaiians lost touch with their cultural roots. Now director of Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Dr. Freitas is heartened to see a revival of Native Hawaiian scholarship. A quiet but emphatic current of activism, ranging from environmental advocacy to a push for Hawaiian sovereignty, runs throughout the Native Hawaiian community.

Former state Rep. Hermina Morita sees hope in that activism, particularly the resurgence in environmental advocacy. “We belong to the land,” she says. “That’s the most significant part of being Hawaiian; we are a part of this place.” 

Collapse

Whose independence? Why some Native Hawaiians don’t celebrate July 4.

This July Fourth, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu won’t be celebrating American freedom from Britain. She’ll be commemorating the loss of her ancestors’ independence at the hands of Americans.

As Americans gather in backyards and public parks around the United States, Ms. Wong-Kalu will be performing at the ʻIolani Palace, the cultural heart of Honolulu. There, she will be portraying Hawaii’s Queen Liliʻuokalani, who was imprisoned in the palace during the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom by American businessmen and plantation owners. Within five years, the U.S. government annexed the islands, setting the stage for Hawaii to become the 50th U.S. state in 1959.

But Ms. Wong-Kalu doesn’t feel much like an American. She is first and foremost a Kanaka Maoli, or Native Hawaiian. 

“I feel a sense of duty and obligation to Hawaii because Hawaii is my homeland,” she says. “It is the heart of my existence. This is the part of my life that is my dominant identity.”

Connecting with that identity has not always been easy for Native Hawaiians. And for some, America’s Independence Day is a reminder of that separation from their heritage.

Today, Ms. Wong-Kalu works to inspire young Native Hawaiians to learn about their cultural roots as a kumu, or teacher. 

Kumu Hina, as she is known throughout Hawaii, splits her time between correctional facilities and local schools, where she promotes the Hawaiian values of aloha: love, honor, and respect.

Talking story

“I’m going to tell you a story,” Konia Freitas says with a warm smile, her neck framed by a pink and red lei. “Talking story is important to us Hawaiians.”

“I was a little girl and my mother and I were watching TV, and a movie with Hawaiian subject matter was on,” she says. She can no longer recall the precise film but remembers watching as actors portraying the first American missionaries to arrive in Hawaii stepped off the ship, Thaddeus, in 1820. 

Cory Lum/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Dr. Konia Freitas, director of the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Honolulu, has devoted her work to furthering Native Hawaiian scholarship.

“I was sitting at my mother’s feet and I heard a sniffling behind me. And I looked up and she was crying,” says Dr. Freitas. “But she wasn’t crying because she was sad.” 

“‘This is when they stole all of our land,’” she recalls her mother seething through furious tears. 

Throughout her childhood, Dr. Freitas heard this refrain with little explanation. It wasn’t until high school and college when she started branching her studies beyond the sanctioned curriculum that she began to understand the context for that sense of loss. Now the director of the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Honolulu, she has devoted her work to furthering Native Hawaiian scholarship.

When the Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown, the adult literacy rate in the Hawaiian language was nearly 100%, says historian Jonathan Osorio. Protestant missionaries had brought the Roman alphabet and the printing press in the 1820s. Their intent was to spread the study of the Bible. But the Hawaiian people soon began to devour Hawaiian language translations of classics such as “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “Ivanhoe.”

In the decades that followed, several Hawaiian newspapers sprung up with news from around the islands and the outside world.  

“American Christians brought the written word,” says Dr. Osorio, dean of Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. “Hawaiians made [scholarship] into a national ethos.” 

A cultural renaissance

Dr. Osorio, Ms. Wong-Kalu, and Dr. Freitas all came of age at a time when many young Native Hawaiians were beginning to reconnect with their history. After decades of emphasis on assimilation into American culture, they were rediscovering cultural traditions of hula, canoe building, and taro cultivation. Interest in learning the native tongue grew, inspired in part by a series of oral histories broadcast in Native Hawaiian over the radio by local Hawaiian language activist Larry Kimura.

Cory Lum/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
A popular tourist site, Aliʻiōlani Hale, in downtown Honolulu houses the Hawaii State Supreme Court. A statue of King Kamehameha, the monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, greets visitors to Aliʻiōlani Hale, which was once the seat of government of the former kingdom.

Today, children with Native Hawaiian ancestry can enroll in Hawaiian language immersion programs, though instruction in Hawaiian history remains limited in public schools. A revived sense of scholarship has emerged as Native Hawaiian scholars have carved out a home at the University of Hawaiʻi.

And a quiet but emphatic sovereignty movement persists as a steady undercurrent throughout the Native Hawaiian community.

Ikaika Hussey supports the idea of Hawaiian sovereignty, but not just for Native Hawaiians. He imagines independence as a multicultural, inclusive, and socially democratic nation.

Historically, the Hawaiian Kingdom was an incredibly diverse nation, with citizens from all over Asia Pacific and the world. Mr. Hussey, like the majority of Native Hawaiians, is of mixed heritage.

“We’re all mixed race. I’m half Filipino,” says Mr. Hussey, a journalist and community organizer. “We’re all mixed up – in a good way.”

On the day the Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown, a group of farmers of Chinese descent from the plantations of western Oahu marched in defense of Hawaii’s constitutional monarchy, Mr. Hussey says. The United States had just passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 halting immigration of Chinese laborers. Similar sentiments were pervasive throughout many European nations. In Hawaii, they had felt a welcome that they feared would disappear under U.S. control.

On the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, then-President Bill Clinton formally apologized to the Native Hawaiian people for the U.S.’s role in that coup.

“The problem with the apology resolution is that it is aimed at the wrong people: Native Hawaiians,” says Dr. Osorio. “In actuality it was the kingdom government, the sovereignty of this multiethnic state that was wronged.”

Cory Lum/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
The King Kamehameha statue stands in downtown Honolulu. It honors the monarch who founded the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Dr. Freitas saw hope in that apology that a chance for political independence might soon be in sight. 

But for others, like former state Rep. Hermina “Mina” Morita, the idea of sovereignty has other meanings.

‘We belong to the land’

“The issue of sovereignty and taking back the nation is really hard for me to grasp,” says Ms. Morita. “What I see as sovereign is how I conduct myself. It is where I can contribute not only to making a better life for Hawaiians, but for everybody in general.”

She doesn’t consider herself an activist, but she does see hope in the willingness of people to come out and not just participate in Native cultural practices but to defend them.

On the island of Kauai, where Ms. Morita lives, Native Hawaiian salt farmers have been lobbying the planning commission to block permits for a helicopter company to operate next to the salt beds on the west side of the island. The Native community has harvested paʻakai, or sea salt, from the Hanapepe Salt Ponds since ancient times.

Throughout the islands, Native communities are waging similar battles to protect the natural resources that they see as their birthright. A network of activists across the state is preparing to protest construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop the Big Island’s Mauna Kea, a sacred mountain to Native Hawaiians.

Seeing communities come out to help each other protect their natural resources is heartwarming, Ms. Morita says, because it represents a renewed embrace of environmental stewardship.

“We belong to the land,” she says. “That’s the most significant part of being Hawaiian; we are a part of this place.”

This story was produced with the assistance of local reporters Chad Blair, Anita Hofschneider, and Blaze Lovell at Honolulu Civil Beat as part of a pilot partnership between the Monitor and local newsrooms.

shadow

Conversations on hope

5. How wounded Green Beret came back stronger

Battling post-traumatic stress, Kevin Flike found a sense of purpose helping others. Part 1 in a summer series on people who are facing – and successfully navigating – America’s most intractable challenges.

Linda
Courtesy of Kevin Flike
Green Beret Kevin Flike takes a break with his teammates and the Afghan commandos they were training in Faryab Province, Afghanistan. He was serving on his second tour of duty in the country, in the summer of 2011. Faces are blurred for operational security reasons.

Two ways to read the story

  • Quick Read
  • Deep Read ( 5 Min. )

Do you think this is any way for you to honor your fallen comrades? That was the question Kevin Flike’s wife, Kimberlee, posed to him when he was at rock bottom. A Green Beret, he had been badly wounded in Afghanistan. He struggled to put on his own socks. He was abusing his prescription medication. All the accumulated problems of his marriage came to a head, and he asked Kimberlee for a divorce. It’s an all-too-familiar story for American veterans who struggle to resume civilian life after their deployments; on average, 20 die by suicide every day.

As the war in Afghanistan approaches its 19th year, Mr. Flike – whose wife not only refused to divorce him, but encouraged him to get his MBA, and a master’s in public policy from Harvard – has emerged from that darkness, in part by helping others struggling with post-traumatic stress. He is equally hopeful about America’s trajectory going forward.

“Take it from a man who has been through hell and back,” he says, “there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it burns even brighter than you can imagine.”

Collapse

How wounded Green Beret came back stronger

When Green Beret Kevin Flike was severely wounded and flown out of Afghanistan, he thought he was leaving the war behind. “Little did I know my battles were just beginning,” he tells a veterans’ gathering in Lynn, Massachusetts, like he’s told so many groups around the country.

An articulate Ivy League graduate dressed in a sharp suit, it’s difficult to imagine him spending long painful nights on the couch, tears streaming down his face.

But that’s exactly why Mr. Flike came to speak here this spring before veterans and others concerned about the toll America’s longest and costliest wars have taken on its servicemen and women. An average of 20 veterans a day die by suicide, and the number of suicides among special operations forces members like Mr. Flike inexplicably tripled last year. He knows something of those depths of darkness, and has made it his new mission to help others find their way out.

“Take it from a man who has been through hell and back,” he tells them. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it burns even brighter than you can imagine.”

 

Christa Case Bryant/The Christian Science Monitor
Kevin Flike, who was badly wounded in Afghanistan while serving as a Green Beret, persevered through many challenges to regain his strength and find a renewed sense of purpose. Here he stands outside the office of Threat Stack, the Boston cybersecurity firm where he works as director of strategic projects.

Tough love

Mr. Flike had dreamed of joining the U.S. Special Forces since his freshman year at a Catholic military prep school. When 9/11 hit, it became not only a dream, but a duty.

Ten years and two weeks later, Mr. Flike set out for his last day in combat.

In the tenth hour of a firefight with the Taliban, he was badly wounded. Within an hour, he was asking for his last rites. The next thing he remembers is asking someone if he’d gone to heaven or hell. “Neither son, you’re in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany,” he recalls being told.

His physical recovery, though difficult and prolonged, defied doctors’ predictions. But his mental state began to deteriorate, and he started abusing his prescription medication.

Six months after his last surgery, his wife Kimberlee sat him down. I thought you had things you wanted to achieve in life, she said. Do you think this is any way for you to honor your fallen comrades?

It was the angriest he’d been with her since they started dating freshman year in college. Combat vets are 62% more likely to get divorced than other men. But he had already asked Kimberlee for a divorce, and she had said no.

“I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for her and her steadfastness to me,” he says in an interview. “She takes her marriage vows very seriously.”

Refining his character

After that wake-up call, Mr. Flike reached out to a psychologist to deal with the pain he felt, as well as the guilt of having survived when others hadn’t.

Then, someone else reached out to him – a fellow Green Beret who had incurred similar injuries. Though still struggling himself, Mr. Flike found that aiding a fellow soldier helped him keep his own moral compass straight.

But he hit another low point when, after getting into dual master’s programs at Harvard and M.I.T, he was rejected from 16 of the 17 companies he applied to for a summer internship.

He realized: You’re the problem, not them. “I think that that’s a big thing that happens with a lot of veterans when they get out – they think that the world needs to bend to them,” he says. He ditched the sense of entitlement he’d had as a highly decorated combat veteran (he was twice awarded the Bronze Star, as well as the Purple Heart), and learned to better articulate the value he would bring to a prospective employer.

The next time he applied for jobs, he had his pick of opportunities. Now he is thriving as the director of strategic projects at Threat Stack, a cybersecurity firm in Boston.

He gets up at 4:30 a.m. every day to complete his rigorous morning routine of Bible study, meditation, and writing in his journal about lessons he’s learning and how he can improve – including as a father. That regimen, he says, is key to his resiliency.

“We practice things thousands of times in the military,” he says, so that when things get tough, soldiers know exactly how to respond. “Life is the same way.”

‘The epitome of America’

Today Mr. Flike shares his story everywhere from Fortune 500 companies to elementary schools to the Green Beret Foundation, where he serves on the board. His favorite group to address is incarcerated veterans.

People ask him now whether, if he could go back in time, he would still choose to serve. He says 10 out of 10 times, yes.

As the war in Afghanistan approaches its 19th year, he says it’s “unacceptable” that the U.S. is still sending people to fight there. But he’s not despairing about America.

“There is not a country out there that has done what the United States has done – that has taken this many races, religions, ethnic groups, and put them all together and have this thing work,” says Mr. Flike. “That’s the epitome of America right there. And that’s what people are losing sight of.”

“Do we have our problems? … Should we continue to strive to fix them? Of course we should,” he says. “But there is no other country out there that has done anything like this.” 

And for those who aren’t feeling optimistic? He asks them what they’re doing to make the world a better place.

“When you go out and help other people, it’s going to enlighten you,” says Mr. Flike, who has come to see his purpose as inspiring others to be the best version of themselves. “You can go through these incredibly dark and difficult periods, and you can come out of them a better person.”

Read the rest of the series here:

Part 1: Overcoming despair: How a wounded Green Beret came back stronger
Part 2: With compassion and faith, a mayor leads his city through the opioid crisis
Part 3: Amid tariffs and floods, a farmer finds hope in the next crop of Kansans
Part 4: Why America remains a beacon of hope for Liberian refugee
Part 5: Searching for common ground? Start with the Constitution.
Part 6: How one African American mom tackles racism head-on
shadow

The Monitor's View

Political hate crimes in Oregon: What can end such violence?

Two ways to read the story

  • Quick Read
  • Deep Read ( 2 Min. )

Dueling protests have now become common. Most are peaceful, often due to effective police work. Many officials have learned how to better control demonstrators bent on violence ever since the 2017 tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Yet street brawls have once again erupted in the United States, this time during a June 29 clash between left-wing and right-wing groups in Portland, Oregon.

Many people were injured, notably journalist Andy Ngo. Three people were arrested. Police promised to examine videos to make additional arrests.

Like other American cities, Portland continues to provide public spaces for free speech despite rising calls among some ideologues who seek to deny any public forum for the expression of ideas they oppose.

Democracy will continue to improve only by peaceful persuasion instead of by intolerance and intimidation. The public dialogue needed to end inequities in society requires a respect for each individual’s freedom of conscience.

Such freedom extends to public places, where peaceful rallies should remain peaceful and only as we examine our own attitudes and actions. A nation must move from a reliance on barricades to keep people apart to all citizens upholding safe spaces in which they start to listen to each other.

Collapse

Political hate crimes in Oregon: What can end such violence?

Dueling protests between political activists have now become common in the United States. Most are peaceful, often due to effective police work. Many officials have learned how to better control demonstrators bent on violence ever since the 2017 tragedy in which a neo-Nazi rammed a car into anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one.

Yet street brawls have once again erupted in the U.S., this time during a June 29 clash between left-wing and right-wing groups in Portland, Oregon. Many people were injured, notably journalist Andy Ngo who sustained a head injury. Three people were arrested. Police promised to examine videos to make additional arrests. They also want to learn how to prevent such political hate crimes.

“The acts of a select group of violent individuals do not define Portland but do have a negative impact on all of us,” said Portland police Chief Danielle Outlaw. Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted that those who “committed violence” should be “held accountable.”

Like other American cities, Portland continues to provide public spaces for free speech despite some ideologues seeking to deny any public forum for the expression of ideas they oppose – and who also justify attacks on journalists.

As divisions have grown in the U.S., so has hatred of “the other side,” leading to incivility and often physical attacks. President Donald Trump was rightly called out recently for praising an assault on a journalist at a rally.

Democracy will continue to improve only by peaceful persuasion instead of intolerance and intimidation. The public dialogue needed to end inequities in society requires a respect for each individual’s freedom of conscience.

Such freedom extends to public places, where peaceful rallies should remain peaceful and only as we examine our own attitudes and actions. A nation must move from a reliance on barricades to keep people apart to all citizens upholding safe spaces in which they start to listen to each other.

shadow

A Christian Science Perspective

About this feature

Each weekday, the Monitor includes one clearly labeled religious article offering spiritual insight on contemporary issues, including the news. The publication – in its various forms – is produced for anyone who cares about the progress of the human endeavor around the world and seeks news reported with compassion, intelligence, and an essentially constructive lens. For many, that caring has religious roots. For many, it does not. The Monitor has always embraced both audiences. The Monitor is owned by a church – The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston – whose founder was concerned with both the state of the world and the quality of available news.

Divine justice that heals

  • Quick Read
  • Read or Listen ( 3 Min. )

Genuine justice is treasured and sought after by people the world over. Considering this idea from a spiritual perspective – in which justice reflects our God-given right to be free from suffering – can have a healing impact in one’s life.

Collapse

Divine justice that heals

Today's Christian Science Perspective audio edition
Loading the player...

It was interesting to learn that Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year and a top lookup in 2018 was “justice.” That was probably because the concept of justice has been front and center in debates and issues around the world. Genuine justice plays such a key role in maintaining a fair and functioning society.

But justice is an important concept in our individual experiences too. It can help bring us healing when we think about justice in a spiritual context. For instance, from what I’ve learned through my study of Christian Science, a spiritual sense of justice includes the idea that whatever suffering we might face isn’t just or right, because it isn’t in accord with God, whom the Bible describes as good (see, for example, Psalms 143:10).

This idea was instrumental in a rapid recovery I experienced recently from a hurt muscle in my upper left arm. I have often experienced the healing power of prayer, so that’s how I approached this situation. But at first I prayed about it only intermittently, when I most felt the discomfort.

This had been going on for about a week or so when, one day while swimming – something I like to do often – I decided to pray with greater dedication. My prayers included thinking about the concept of justice and what it means in the context of my relation to God. From the Bible, I understand that God, good, is the true Parent of each of us, and we are His spiritual offspring. And from “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” a book by Mary Baker Eddy that highlights the spiritual and healing significance of the Bible texts, I understand our true identity is not a physical, suffering body. Rather, it is spiritual – the image and likeness of God and thus immortal, perfect, harmonious, completely good.

Therefore, how could it be any part of God’s all-embracing justice that I suffer with this painful condition? It came to me that it was natural for my arms to move harmoniously because true movement originates in God, Spirit, not matter. As the Bible states in reference to God, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). This harmonious movement is not dependent on material conditions. As Science and Health says: “matter can make no conditions for man” (p. 120).

Ultimately, it is our divine right to feel assured of God’s divine justice, which establishes and maintains our wholeness. With this understanding, we can expect to experience freedom from limiting conditions or injuries. I knew that prayer based on an acknowledgment of my true, spiritual identity could bring about physical healing.

Then, as I considered these ideas, I had an overwhelming sense that God’s justice was surrounding me, so to speak, like the water in the pool. I started to swim another lap. Just before I reached the other side, I felt a change in my arm. I started to swim again and realized the irritation and pain were completely gone. The power of God’s divine justice had been brought to bear, and the hurt muscle was healed so completely it was as if the injury had never been – “as a dream of a night vision,” in the words of the Bible (Isaiah 29:7).

In a swimming pool, at work, or wherever we may be, prayers acknowledging, and accepting, the truth of our God-given heritage of divine justice can have a healing impact in our lives, expressed in health and harmony.

shadow

Viewfinder

Gooooaaaaal!

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Christen Press (left) of the United States celebrates scoring the first goal with Lindsey Horan in the semifinal soccer match against England at the Women’s World Cup, July 2 in Lyon, France.
( The illustrations in today's Monitor Daily are by Jacob Turcotte. )
shadow

In Our Next Issue

( July 3rd, 2019 )

Thanks so much for joining us today. Come back tomorrow. A trip to Seoul, South Korea, reminded correspondent Martin Kuz of his former editor, a Korean War veteran who became Nevada’s governor and believed that a sense of independence can coexist with a desire to unite.

Monitor Daily Podcast

July 02, 2019
Loading the player...

More issues

2019
July
02
Tuesday

Give us your feedback

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

 
of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.