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The Court of Revolutionaries (Part 2)

Ask any American to name one decision their president has made this year and it is likely they would struggle to name a single policy achievement. Ask the same question about the US Congress and respondents may stretch to the stimulus bill, though only because taxpayers received a cheque through the post. Such is the nature of divided government in the US that it is far easier to promise change than to deliver it.

This is not the case for Supreme Court. Three landmark decisions in as many weeks stand to have a greater impact on public policy than anything elected politicians seem able to muster. The first is a ruling that gives Guantanamo detainees the right to a trial. The second is that child rapists cannot be executed. And the third struck down a Washington, DC law that restricted ownership of handguns.

The merits of these decisions is secondary to the contrast they reveal - between the limited capacity of elected politicians to bring about change and the ease with which unelected judges can affect it.

How to stop Mugabe

The ones to watch