Julian Assange has paid a heavy price for his leaks – the US should let him go home | Simon Jenkins

From Joe Biden’s point of view, returning the WikiLeaks founder to Australia and consigning him to history may be the wisest move

The Julian Assange farce has run its time. He should be left to return to his homeland of Australia. Yet another appeal against successive British court decisions to extradite him to the US has been allowed . It merely prolongs the tedium. Washington should consider Assange’s more than a decade on the run to be penalty enough for his past sins. It should not want to see its own record in Afghanistan and Iraq revived before the court of world opinion.

Like many freelancers in the undergrowth of espionage, Assange is no knight in shining armour. Phone hacking is an infringement of privacy to which he first pleaded guilty in 1996 in Australia. He then graduated to state secrets. Some such secrets may require the protection of the law, including those concerning individuals as well as private advice and information. Others undoubtedly merit public concern.

Simon Jenkins is a Guardian columnist

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There’s an article I shouldn’t tell you about – is contempt law in a losing battle with reality? | Archie Bland

The concept behind the Contempt of Court Act is laudable, but in the age of social media it is clear an update is needed

An article has been published in the New Yorker about the trial of Lucy Letby. It has been geoblocked in the UK, but it can still be accessed by some, or read in print copies of the US magazine. It has been raised in parliament, written up by news providers and discussed on social media. I shouldn’t link to it, describe its contents or tell you anything else about it.

By the letter of the law, I also shouldn’t give you more specific detail about why I shouldn’t give you more specific detail, except to say that Letby has a retrial on one charge of attempted murder scheduled for June. But I can at least tell you about the law in England and Wales that has created this surreal situation: the Contempt of Court Act 1981 .

Archie Bland is the editor of the Guardian’s First Edition newsletter

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The Left’s Alito Flag Flap Is Their Craziest Attempt Yet to Smear a Supreme Court Justice

The Left is about power and achieving their political objectives by any means necessary . That includes trying to silence or sideline judges unlikely to be on their side.

One tactic is demanding that Supreme Court justices unlikely to be reliable ideological allies recuse themselves, or step away, from certain cases.

Liberals have come up with some convoluted accusations before, but their latest is the craziest yet.

They demand that Justice Samuel Alito recuse himself from any case involving the 2020 election or the events on Jan. 6, 2021. Why? Because his wife hoisted an inverted American flag up the flagpole at their home for a day or so in early 2021.

You can’t make this stuff up.

The New York Times described this inverted flag as a “‘Stop the Steal’ symbol” that some supporters of then-President Donald Trump displayed at the Capitol on Jan. 6 or to dispute the result of the 2020 presidential election.

Liberals want you to believe that this is why it flew at the Alito home, supposedly proving his bias and requiring his recusal. And they want you to believe it without them having to prove it.

Liberals are notoriously selective in their recusal demands. They connect imaginary dots, add a dose of innuendo and a pinch of rumor, to suggest that bias and corruption are the only possible explanation for a justice not doing liberals’ bidding.

The Left claimed that conservative Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife supposedly failing to report consulting income was an ethical apocalypse, but liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s spouse doing so was nothing at all. 

When Thomas stayed at the home—and traveled on the plane—of a close friend who had no business before the court, Senate Democrats claimed the “rich and famous” were subsidizing his “lifestyle.” But they uttered not a peep when the now-deceased Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 2018 trip to Israel—including transportation, food, lodging, and everything else—was paid for by billionaire Morris Kahn, who did have business before the court.

They seemed distressed that Alito had once gone fishing with a rich friend (who also had no business before the court), but looked the other way at liberal Justice Stephen Breyer’s 2018 all-expenses-paid trip to Ireland and Spain, thanks to the largesse of the billionaire Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The federal recusal statute provides that a judge should recuse himself “in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” The Supreme Court included this language in the ethics code that it adopted in November 2023.

Calling this inverted-flag fiction unreasonable doesn’t do it justice and actually gives unreasonableness a bad name.

Vietnam War protesters flew inverted American flags at marches and rallies in the late 1960s. The American Indian Movement flew it at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, as a symbol of their movement in the 1990s. And it has been used to criticize policies of every administration since then, including Trump’s.

The symbol has popped up at women’s rights marches and uprisings following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020. And both liberals and conservatives, for different reasons, hoisted inverted flags during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a March 22 article , People magazine explained how it’s being used “by both sides of the political aisle.”

The point is that flying an inverted American flag is a symbol, statement, or reaction with many different meanings. What it means in a particular instance, and whether that meaning has any further significance, depends on the circumstances.

In a statement, Alito explained he had no involvement in flying the flag and that it “was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personal insulting language on yard signs.”

No one—neither Senate Democrats, nor their media enablers—has suggested a shred of evidence that this was anything else.

The independence of the judiciary from political manipulation was one of the reasons we declared independence from England in 1776. It’s a major reason that the American judiciary is superior to any other in the world.

Rather than a fundamental principle to be defended, the Left sees judicial independence as an obstacle to be overcome. They want a dependent, subservient judiciary that does their political bidding. To that end, they want to add unnecessary seats to the Supreme Court to stack it with political justices. They want to limit Supreme Court justices’ terms so impartial justices can be moved out sooner. And they attack justices who insist that the law and politics are not the same thing with lies, smears, and fictional “ethics” controversies .

This is one of them.

The Left’s campaign to politicize the judiciary may be working. Polls in the past few years have shown that more than 60% of Americans now say the Supreme Court decides cases based on politics rather than the law.

It’s bad enough that the Big Smear harms individuals and their reputations, attempts to ruin their integrity and public service, and even puts their lives at risk , but it is well on the way to destroying one of the most important safeguards of our freedom, perhaps permanently

The post The Left’s Alito Flag Flap Is Their Craziest Attempt Yet to Smear a Supreme Court Justice appeared first on The Daily Signal .

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Federal Judge Blocks Biden ATF Rule Expanding Gun Background Checks

A federal judge temporarily blocked the Biden administration from fully enforcing a gun background check rule Sunday night.

Attorney General Merrick Garland  announced  the rule covering background checks for firearms purchases April 10, claiming it was based on bipartisan legislation passed in the wake of a deadly school shooting  in Uvalde, Texas.


United States District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas issued  a temporary restraining order blocking the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from enforcing the rule against the state of Texas and certain gun organizations until June 2.

The rule would dramatically expand the definition of when someone is “engaged in business” as a gun dealer subject to background check regulations, thereby expanding the number of who must submit to background checks.

President [Joe] Biden and his anti-gun administration have aggressively pursued an agenda meant to harass, intimidate, and criminalize gun owners and dealers at every turn,” Gun Owners of America Senior Vice President Erich Pratt said. “This ruling is a compelling rebuke of their tyrannical and unconstitutional actions that purposely misinterpreted federal law to ensure their preferred policy outcome.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other Republican state attorneys general sued  to block the rule May 1.

“I am relieved that we were able to secure a restraining order that will prevent this illegal rule from taking effect,” Paxton said in a press release . “The Biden Administration cannot unilaterally overturn Americans’ constitutional rights and nullify the Second Amendment.”

The Biden administration has pushed multiple regulations of firearms since the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed  in June 2022 following the shooting  at Ross Elementary School in Uvalde.

The states of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming joined the suit, according to a May 1 release  by Republican Attorney General Austin Knudsen of Montana.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

The post Federal Judge Blocks Biden ATF Rule Expanding Gun Background Checks appeared first on The Daily Signal .

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The case against Julian Assange has been a cruel folly. His right to appeal is a small step towards justice | Duncan Campbell

Successive home secretaries and the courts have been spineless in pandering to the US government

Almost obscured on its perch outside the Royal Courts of Justice, amid the crush of camera crews and vociferous supporters of Julian Assange, was the statue of Samuel Johnson, a man who also knew the importance of getting information out to as wide an audience as possible. “To keep your secret is wisdom,” is one of his better known observations, “but to expect others to keep it is folly.”

The high court decision to grant leave to appeal to Assange was a further reminder to the US authorities and their apologists in Britain of the folly inherent in their attempt to extradite and jail a man whose main offence is publishing the shameful secrets of the US government and its armed forces. In a just world, the court would have brought this whole absurd legal process to an end there and then, but the fact that an appeal has been granted is both a defeat for the US and renewed cause for hope for Assange.

Duncan Campbell is a freelance writer who worked for the Guardian as crime correspondent and Los Angeles correspondent

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