Tag Archives: Portugal

Unlike US, Europe picks top judges with bipartisan approval to create ideologically balanced high courts

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 21 called on the Republican-controlled Senate not to confirm a new justice until the next president is in office. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

David Orentlicher, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Filling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court immediately sparked a bitter partisan fight.

But choosing judges for the nation’s highest court doesn’t have to be so polarizing.

In some European countries, judicial appointments are designed to ensure the court’s ideological balance, and the entire process, from nomination to confirmation, is generally not seen as partisan. By choice and by law, high court justices in those places work together to render consensus-based decisions. Continue reading

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Costa Rica Has Been Running on 100 Percent Renewable Energy for Months

Costa Rica’s electrical grid has relied solely on renewable energy sources for 76 days straight, aiming for an all-renewable future

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-7-2016

While Costa Rica transitions to renewable energy sources, the U.S. is still relying on coal and natural gas to supply most of its electricity. (Photo: Arturo Sotillo/flickr/cc)

While Costa Rica transitions to renewable energy sources, the U.S. is still relying on coal and natural gas to supply most of its electricity. (Photo: Arturo Sotillo/flickr/cc)

Costa Rica’s electrical grid ran on 100 percent renewable energy between June 17 and September 2, according to a report published Tuesday by the state-owned energy company, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), which controls energy production and distribution. (Data after September 2 has not yet been released.)

“We are a small country with large goals!” ICE wrote on Facebook, alongside a video about Costa Rica’s plans to become “the first carbon-neutral country” by 2021. Continue reading

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Minority Rules

Billboard for António Costa, leader of the PS. Photo by El-Kelaa-des-Sraghna (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Billboard for António Costa, leader of the PS. Photo by El-Kelaa-des-Sraghna (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On October 4, Portugal had a general election. The results were mixed, with the center-right Forward Portugal alliance (PAF) winning the most seats, but losing its actual majority in parliament. The majority of the seats were won by left of center parties, the largest of which is the Socialists (PS) followed by the Left Bloc (BE) and Communist (PCP) parties.

Thursday night, President Anibal Cavaco Silva said that he would not allow a coalition of the PS, BE and PCP to form a government, arguing that it was too risky to let the Left Bloc or Communists come close to power. He said:

“In 40 years of democracy, no government in Portugal has ever depended on the support of anti-European forces, that is to say forces that campaigned to abrogate the Lisbon Treaty, the Fiscal Compact, the Growth and Stability Pact, as well as to dismantle monetary union and take Portugal out of the euro, in addition to wanting the dissolution of NATO.

“This is the worst moment for a radical change to the foundations of our democracy.” Continue reading

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