Category: law

Blurred Lines: Defining Terrorism

terrorist-watch-list
Careful now! (image credit News With Attitude)

Glenn Greenwald’s most excellent series on Security and Liberty in The Guardian addresses most recently the definition of terrorism, and in particular the case of a gangland shooting where a man called Morales shot and killed an innocent 10-year-old girl by mistake.  The State of New York convicted him of being a terrorist, defined by state laws as acting with ‘intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.’  The interpretation of the court was that Morales actions were designed to coerce the entire Mexican-American community, and were therefore terrorist.  On appeal, the court not only rejected the terrorism conviction, but also sent the entire case for retrial, as the standards by which terrorist trials were conducted were different to those of non-terrorist offences.

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Reaction: The Constitution Project @ UCC

I attended the inaugural meeting of The Constitution Project last night, a new academic research unit at UCC, whose meetings are open to the public.  Groups and projects on The Irish Constitution and Irish Constitutional Law seem to be springing up in many places, some by the lunatic fringe, some deep in sheltered academia, and others – like this, it seems – trying to find a balance between the two.  It was a well organised, well chaired event, with a good range of subjects within a reasonably tight framework.  Kicking things off was the subject of the Referendum Process, with Mr Justice Gerard Hogan speaking on the history of referendums, or more accurately the amendment structure under the 1922 constitution and why it was bad. He was followed by Mr Justice Bryan McMahon (who taught me Tort in Galway 22 years ago) who had been chairman of the Referendum Commission in the two most recent referendums, speaking of how the commission works – a rare and insightful discussion.  Dr Theresa Reidy then outlined some opinion poll based research into why people voted as they did in the Oireachtas Inquiries referendum, which was very interesting, particularly in the context of Mr Justice McMahon’s comments.   And finally Dr Maria Cahill revisited the Crotty decision, one that began to get at why we have so many referendums (not just in EU cases).

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