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This is hardly a week when we need to be reminded that judges and, in particular, Supreme Court justices, have a profound impact on politics. While the current court may seem extreme in its willingness to enter the political fray on immigration and health care, it is not a new charge: High courts around the world have been wreaking havoc on their countries’ political systems for a long time. The obvious fact that judicial systems are an essential aspect of democracy is all too visible in Egypt today. It turns out that the third branch of the Egyptian government had a different take on all the euphoria over Tahrir Square. If the actions of the Egyptian military merely hinted at the old adage that power, once captured, is rarely relinquished, the Egyptian courts have proven it. And the mess in Egypt presents a question for international organizations that support judicial reform in post-conflict countries: What if the problem isn’t that there is no capable judiciary but, actually, that the judiciary is utterly, and frustratingly, capable?


Kayyem, Juliette. "An Emerging Democracy Requires More Than Just Elections." Boston Globe, June 25, 2012.