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Indian government must end re-victimization of rape survivors

Friday, Jan. 18, 2013

Elizabeth Brundige

Elizabeth Brundige, an expert on gender-based violence issues and executive director of the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell University Law School, comments on persistent sexual violence against women in India and the re-victimization of survivors.

Brundige says:

“Just days after the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student in a New Delhi bus, another gang rape victim – an adolescent girl from the northern Indian State of Punjab – committed suicide after the police proved unwilling to register her case.  Her death was a tragic reminder of the enormous challenges that sexual violence survivors face throughout India.  

“In far too many cases, survivors who seek redress are victimized all over again.  They may confront delays and inaction, humiliating treatment by police and hospital staff, inadequate laws that contain immunities for public officials and fail to address all sexual violence, and court backlogs that cause cases to drag on for years.  With national and global attention focused on these recent brutal assaults, the Indian government has the opportunity, and the urgent need, to take meaningful action to prevent sexual violence and ensure that survivors are afforded justice.”

President must bend Constitution and exceed debt ceiling

Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013

Michael Dorf

Michael Dorf, a constitutional law expert, former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and Cornell Law School professor, discusses why President Obama must exceed the debt ceiling.

Dorf says:

“If Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling within the coming weeks, it will present the President with a ‘trilemma’ in which anything he might plausibly do to reconcile the law's mutually contradictory demands would unconstitutionally usurp legislative power.  This trilemma, in which each of the three realistic options open to him – unilaterally cutting spending, increasing taxes, and issuing new debt – would violate his oath of office.
“The Constitution assigns all of the relevant powers – taxing, spending and borrowing – to Congress, not the President. In these circumstances, the President should minimize the damage by choosing the ‘least unconstitutional’ option.  Here that would mean issuing just enough new debt to cover the difference between revenue and legally required spending, even though doing so would override the debt ceiling. That would be very bad, but the alternative of unilateral Presidential spending cuts would be even worse because it would require the exercise of a great deal more legislative discretion in deciding what to cut and by how much.”