What Happened at Slate This Week?

The best stories I read over the holiday season.


Illustration by Slate

Happy New Year, Slate Plussers, and here’s hoping you’ve enjoyed the holiday season, even if you had to endure freakish weather and freakier family. They’ve tasked me with the newsletter this week, so indulge me while I share what I’ve been reading over the break.

I really enjoyed this piece on Hillary hate by Sady Doyle. It captured much that I had been thinking but not saying out loud about the tiny bandwidth we allow women when they live in the public sphere. I also loved John Filion’s piece highlighting the Donald Trump–Rob Ford harmonic convergence—an illuminating parallel I hadn’t put together. And speaking of goodwill (wait, no I wasn’t), I loved this video of Sufi and Gazal musicians playing Christmas music on their sitaar and tablas.

I have also been enjoying David Cole’s new book, Engines of Liberty: The Power of Citizen Activists to Make Constitutional Law. It’s a deep dive into the idea that people and not courts can be the drivers of constitutional changes and a nice holiday reminder that we can have massive impacts even when systems around us seem intractable. 

If you have the time over the coming days and haven’t yet read it, I suggest that you read this extraordinary piece, a Pro Publica/Marshall Project collaboration on a massive serial rape investigation and all the ways the police can fail a rape victim and future victims and the implications of not getting a rape case right.

I will end with a note about our most recent episode of Amicus, a deep dive into Native American rights cases and tribal jurisdiction. Our guest, Mary Kathryn Nagle, tells the amazing story of being descended from John Ridge, who in 1832 took the Cherokee Indians case to the U.S. Supreme Court, leading to Justice John Marshall’s famous declaration in Worcester v. Georgia that the Cherokee Nation was a sovereign, “distinct community”—with the inherent right to exist predating the borders of Georgia. Listening to Mary Kathryn describing the interaction between Ridge and Andrew Jackson, following the decision, in which Jackson infamously said, “John Marshall has issued his decision. Let him enforce it.” It gave me chills. We don’t often get SCOTUS oral advocacy royalty on the show. It’s fitting in a way that when we do, she’s also a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

Wishing you and yours a joyous and peaceful 2016.