Five Best Thursday Columns

Sadhbh Walshe on America in the age of the warrior cop, Linda Greenhouse on the Supreme Court’s cellphone privacy ruling, Sharif Nashashibi on contradictions around Iraq policies, Ramesh Ponnuru on Marco Rubio's reformer transformation, Alison Frankel on the one-year anniversary of Windsor vs. U.S. verdict.

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Sadhbh Walshe at the Guardian on America in the age of the warrior cop. “A few years ago, the police chief in Keene, New Hampshire (population: 23,000) announced plans to patrol the hamlet's ‘Pumpkin Festival and other dangerous situations’ with a 19,000-pound armored vehicle called the BearCat (price tag: $285,933, courtesy of a federal Homeland Security grant). What many other communities across America have learned since is that we're living in what the writer Radley Balko calls the age of the ‘warrior cop,” Walshe writes. “But when a heavily armed Swat team enters through a suburban backyard with military might – battering rams, explosive devices designed to temporarily blind suspects or other weapons designed for heavy combat zones – it's hard to see how that merits issuing a warrants to a potential drug offender.  America is winding down wars abroad – depending on what the hell happens in Iraq, of course – but we are fueling an addiction to armed conflict here at home.”

Linda Greenhouse at The New York Times on the Supreme Court’s cellphone privacy ruling. “The Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure has given rise to a complex body of law, dense with precedents that can be maneuvered in just about any direction. So perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday barring warrantless searches of cellphones was how simple and obvious Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who wrote the 9-0 opinion, made it all sound,” Greenhouse writes. “The Roberts court has too often been on the wrong side of history, most pointedly in its retrograde refusal to protect the right to vote. When it comes to technology, however, the court seems free of ideological baggage and is trying hard, collectively, to get it right.” Digiday’s Josh Sternberg tweets, “I'd go to law school if I could have Linda Greenhouse as a professor. (Assuming I could get in & afford it, natch).”

Sharif Nashashibi at Al Jazeera on contradictions around Iraq policies. “One can hardly be blamed for finding the Iraq crisis perplexing when even its main participants seem to be confused. The word ‘policy’ may be too generous, given that decision-makers seem to be making things up as they go along, struggling to keep up with developments, and to make sense of them,” Nashashibi writes. “The US has sent out mixed signals from the outset about what - if any - military action it would take. US, Iranian, and Iraqi officials have been woefully unclear and inconsistent regarding the crisis and their roles in it. This makes it extremely difficult to formulate coherent policies, which will hinder the possibility of resolving the conflict, to the grave detriment of all Iraqis.” Al Jazeera’s Tanya Goudsouzian tweets, “Why can't the #US and #Iran make up their minds on what to do with #Iraq?”

Ramesh Ponnuru at Bloomberg View on Marco Rubio's reformer transformation. “In a hostile take on Bill Clinton's campaign during the 1992 presidential primaries, two left-wing journalists wrote that his supporters ‘fired off neoliberal proposals like a Salad Shooter spews lettuce shreds.’ Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, seems to have adopted a similar approach. In his case, however, it's conservative reforms that he is spitting out. Let's hope other Republicans are starting to listen,” Ponnuru writes. “In a speech yesterday, Rubio explained how his conservative proposals would make a positive difference in Americans' lives -- something a lot of Republican politicians oddly haven't even tried to do in recent years. As reform-minded conservatives have kept scribbling, a lot of commentators in the media have raised doubts about whether any actual politicians would find their ideas promising.” The New Republic’s Danny Vinik tweets, “Yep, Rubio's emergence as a leader for reform conservatives is big.”

Alison Frankel at Reuters on the one-year anniversary of Windsor vs. U.S. verdict. “If you want to know just how monumental a gay-rights ruling the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued Tuesday, just two days short of Windsor’s one-year anniversary, take a look at the dissent written by Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain and joined by Judges Jay Bybee and Carlos Bea. O’Scannlain posits that his colleagues’ decision in the case, GlaxoSmithKline v. Abbott Laboratories, ‘precludes the survival under the federal Constitution of long-standing laws treating marriage as the conjugal union between a man and a woman’," Frankel writes. "But it’s even more drastic than that, according to the dissent: The appellate decision has changed the standard for evaluating all laws targeting gays and lesbians, the dissent said, ‘with far-reaching — and mischievous — consequences’."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.