Lorrie Goldstein calls the Supreme Court decision throwing it back to trial judges to make the call whether or not a female Muslim witness has to show her face in court ‘half a loaf’:
Thursday’s split Supreme Court decision on the niqab provides half a loaf to both sides in this never-ending debate.
The judges said the wearing of a niqab by a witness must not be allowed to interfere with the accused’s right to a fair trial, but they did not go so far as to declare an outright ban.
Rather, trial judges will now have to figure out at what point a witness wearing a niqab interferes with the accused’s right to a fair trial.
It’s odd we keep going around in circles on this issue, given that in the West, we generally consider niqabs and burkas to be symbols of the oppression of women.
Indeed. And as Lorrie notes, it’s going to be interesting to see how those judges gauge a woman’s sincerity of religious belief.
I suspect even King Solomon himself would have trouble with that one.
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Supreme Court splits in messy decision on face veils – Emmett Macfarlane:
As a result, the majority’s “balancing rules” are akin to parking a tank on one side of a seesaw. Testimony in criminal trials is inherently contestable; that’s the very idea behind the principle of cross-examination at the core of the defendant’s rights in this case…
MUST-READ column by David Frum: The Supreme Court’s niqab ruling is a supremely ambiguous decision.