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The question of what constitutes “a particular social group” for purposes of asylum is one of the most difficult and vexing in immigration law.

The U.S. government on Wednesday ended two Trump administration policies that made it harder for immigrants fleeing violence to qualify for asylum, especially Central Americans. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued new instructions to immigration judges to stop following the Trump-era rules that made it tough for immigrants who faced domestic or gang violence to win asylum in the United States.

Is the confusion a feature or a bug?

That probably depends on where you stand. All I know is that you should only read those sections of the Internal Revenue Code that deal with international taxes if you have no regard for your own sanity. The wounds on my brain from taking International Tax at law school over thirty years ago have not healed.

Most members of Congress don?t understand the first thing about the international corporate tax system and won?t have the bandwidth to figure it out.

From a humanitarian perspective, this should be an easy decision

“What the Post fails to mention—indeed, what most American reporting on this subject has neglected to make clear—is that other countries are simply asking for the right to manufacture vaccine doses of their own, as opposed to drawing from existing supply in the U.S. for their own larders. …

“Since last year, 57 countries, along with organizations like Oxfam and Amnesty International, have been begging the WTO to temporarily waive patent protection for the vaccines, so that countries such as India and South Africa might be able to produce their own Covid-19 vaccines and other treatments, which could be more affordable and available to the developing world. And since last year, rich countries, led by the U.S. the U.K., and the European Union, have been blocking that demand. The latest attempt to get them to reconsider failed just last week. …

“Vaccine distribution is being spoken and written about as a zero-sum game because of the conditions of artificial scarcity that our government has created and is presently enforcing. If more Americans actually knew the substance of the requests being made by other nations, they’d have no reason to worry about losing any of “our” vaccine doses. Instead, they would understand that the only thing at risk—and only temporarily at that—are some potential future profits of Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and the like. It’s hard to believe many of them would side with our government’s position on the matter. The lack of interest by the American media means we’ll never get to find out.”

Nations across the world are demanding the right to manufacture their own Covid-19 vaccines. Why is the U.S. saying no?

Two dysfunctional systems

Since the start of the year, much of the world?s attention was focused on two trials on opposite sides of the world. In one, a brave truth-teller was persecuted by a vengeful administration after stirring up his patriotic followers in protest against tyranny. In the other, Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate.

Prophecy is a tricky business

At the end of 2019, I attempted to look ahead to what to expect in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020. Of course, the most important stories?the COVID-19 pandemic and how it changed the court, the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett?could not possibly have been foreseen.

Science? We don’t need no stinking science!

The Supreme Court ruling against New York state's decision to limit religious gatherings in a few high-incidence parts of New York City during the Covid-19 pandemic will cause grave danger in the rest of the country, where public health authorities will feel hamstrung to restrict religious gatherings even when the virus is spreading out of control, writes Jeffrey Sachs.