THE HINDU EDITORIAL – August 29, 2018 is one of the must read section for the competitive exams like IBPS RRB PO, IBPS RRB Office Assistant 2018, RBI Grade “B” 2018 & NIACL Assistant 2018. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension , Cloze Test or Error Detection topics in the forthcoming exams. So gear up your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

A) How crucial constitutional questions are being fought in the highest courts in the world’s largest democracies

If a baker refuses to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple citing his religious beliefs, is that an exercise of religious liberty or a case of discrimination against homosexuals? The Colorado Civil Rights Commission in the U.S. ruled it was a case of discrimination. The baker moved the U.S. Supreme Court where he also argued that his refusal also involved a question of the freedom of expression. Creating a wedding cake was an artistic expression and he would not do that in support of a homosexual wedding.

The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Colorado commission’s order, in June, on the narrow grounds that its procedures were tainted by an animus towards the baker’s faith. The court, however, did not rule on the questions of religious liberty, the freedom of expression and discrimination raised by the case — which are sure to come up in the future. The Indian Supreme Court is seized of the conflict between a religious belief and charges of discrimination in a case on Sabarimala, the Kerala temple where women of a particular age are not allowed entry.

When questions such as these come up in the context of executive or legislative action or inaction, it becomes the task of the judiciary to test them against the Constitution. There is a long-running debate in the U.S. on how the judiciary should interpret the Constitution. One school of thought, the originalists, believe that the constitutional text ought to be given the original meaning or intent that it would have at the time it was written. The evolutionists believe that the Constitution is a living document and the meaning of its text changes over time, as social attitudes change, and that the judges should interpret it accordingly.

Building a legacy

U.S. President Donald Trump’s two picks for the Supreme Court (in less than two years in office) come from the originalist school. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, Mr. Trump’s second nominee who awaits Senate confirmation as Supreme Court justice, came through the ranks of the Federalist Society, founded in 1982, by American conservatives and libertarians to promote originalism. Behind the smokescreen of his Twitter outbursts, Mr. Trump is building a legacy that could outlast his presidency by decades, through appointments to the higher judiciary. Unlike in the case of his foreign and trade policy, the entire spectrum of the American right wing, and the Republican Party, is solidly behind the President’s attempts to reshape the country’s judiciary. The Trump administration supported the baker’s argument in the Supreme Court.

As of July, Mr. Trump has successfully appointed 43 judges, which includes Mr. Gorsuch, 22 appeals court judges and 20 district judges. Barack Obama and George W. Bush had each appointed only nine appeals court judges at this point in their presidencies. Dozens of more Trump nominees are awaiting Senate confirmation. Mr. Trump inherited a huge number of judicial vacancies from the Obama presidency, as the Republican-majority Senate had slowed down appointments. It even refused to consider a Supreme Court nomination made by Mr. Obama, and the vacancy was filled only with Mr. Gorsuch’s appointment.

Mr. Trump’s nominees are not only almost entirely originalists but they are also far less diverse than the cohort of judges appointed by Mr. Obama. Only 10% of Mr. Trump’s appointees are racial or ethnic minorities; he has nominated one Hispanic and one black so far. Bringing in the highest share of non-whites in the judiciary in the history of the country, Mr. Obama had appointed 58 blacks, 31 Hispanics and 18 Asians over eight years. Out of the 324 judges he appointed, 116 were minorities. According to a Pew analysis in March, the proportion of female judges appointed by Mr. Trump was half as many as appointed by Mr. Obama. And 60% of all sitting federal judges in America are white men.

Tensions in a democracy

Judges are not impervious to public opinion but they are not meant to be its slaves either. They do not need to win popular votes This one layer of insulation from instant public opinion enables the judiciary to be the guardian of the fundamental values of the society, which too change but over a longer period of time. The tensions between the legislative or executive branches and the judiciary are unavoidable, and to some extent desirable, in a democracy .Varying degrees of judicial review provide a way to negotiate a balance between public opinion and values in democratic societies. In India, the judiciary can review even constitutional amendments.

When a society is in the midst of conflict over its elemental values, such tensions become more fraught. The legislative and executive branches are quicker in responding to people’s will and often, shaping it. When Franklin D. Roosevelt was legislating New Deal measures in the 1930s, the American judiciary threw a spanner in the works. The President sought authority from the U.S. Congress to appoint six new justices on the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court began to relent, and scaled back its resistance to the New Deal, and a populist takeover of the judiciary was averted.

India also has seen a similar phase, when the judiciary resisted progressive legislative measures such as land reforms in the early years of the republic. Those tensions continued all the way until an equilibrium was reached, with the Supreme Court establishing the concept of the basic structure of the Constitution in the 1970s. Roosevelt and India’s Congress governments were pushing for redistributive measures. At the core of the tensions between the judiciary and the more political branches was the search for a balance between justice and liberty, a perennial source of conflict in a democracy.

A turbulence within

It is one thing to expect the judiciary to be cognisant of evolving notions of rights and justice in a society, but quite another to demand the remaking of the judiciary in accordance with a majoritarian agenda. “The power granted to American courts to pronounce on the unconstitutionality of laws (is)… one of the most powerful barriers ever erected against the tyranny of the political assemblies,” Alexis de Tocqueville wrote on American democracy. The Trump movement and his judicial appointments seek to bend the judiciary to majoritarian pressures. Reshaping of the judiciary has been a core component of Mr. Trump’s populist agenda and his campaign speeches. Originalism implies the intent and meaning of a group of white, Christian men who wrote the country’s Constitution. Crucial questions on affirmative action, voting rights, immigration, abortion, religious liberty and homosexuals will be reviewed by the U.S judiciary in coming years.

The turbulence within the Indian judiciary and in its relations with the political executive and the legislature could also be seen in the context of the ongoing populist project to reshape the country. A judiciary dismissive of the popular will could disrupt the balance of power among the branches; but a judiciary subservient to majoritarianism will certainly undermine democracy.

B) The bilateral deal between the U.S. and Mexico offers hope of winding down global trade wars

Amid rising global trade tensions, there are some signs to hope that all is not lost. The United states and Mexico on Monday reached a breakthrough bilateral trade agreement replacing the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after Mexico agreed to concessions demanded by the Donald Trump administration. According to the new agreement, 75% of all automobile content must be made regionally, which is higher than the current level of 62.5%. Further, 40-45% of such content must be manufactured using labour that costs at least $16 an hour. The U.S. hopes that this will discourage manufacturers from moving their facilities to Mexico, where labour is available at rates lower than in the U.S. It has also invited Canada to join talks for a renegotiation of trade terms in favour of U.S. interests. Notably, the U.S.-Mexico bilateral trade deal comes in the aftermath of President Trump’s statement in June that he might enter into separate trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, thus effectively junking the tripartite NAFTA deal. U.S. stocks rallied after news of the deal, with the Nasdaq Composite index moving above the 8,000 level for the first time ever and the Dow Jones index breaking above 26,000. The market reaction was probably a sign of relief, riding on hopes that tit-for-tat tariff wars between the aU.S. and its trade allies could now draw to a close. It is worth noting that Mexico had earlier joined hands with other economies such as Canada, China and the European Union to impose retaliatory tariffs against the U.S.

Mexico’s decision could set an example for other countries which have resorted to retaliatory tariffs to deal with Mr. Trump’s aggressive trade war against them. China has been at the forefront of this approach, slapping tariffs on several U.S. goods, together worth billions of dollars. There can be no doubt that Mr. Trump’s protectionist trade policy including the current deal which increases restrictions on cross-border trade in order to protect U.S. jobs, is bad for the global economy. However, the best way to win the trade war against the U.S. may simply be to accept “defeat” by refusing to double down on retaliatory tariffs. The reason for such a response is simple. Retaliatory tariffs can only cause further harm to the world economy by increasing the burden of taxes on the private sector, which is crucial to spur growth and create jobs. Further, there is no reason for America’s trading partners, in an attempt to protect their domestic producers, to repeat Mr. Trump’s mistake of depriving domestic consumers of access to useful foreign goods. The right response to Mr. Trump’s trade war will be to abstain from any mutually destructive tit-for-tat tariff regimes while simultaneously pushing for peace talks.


1) discrimination

Meaning : the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race

Tamil Meaning : பாகுபாடு

Synonyms : favoritism , bigotry

Antonyms : equity

Example : “victims of racial discrimination”

2) artistic

Meaning : having or revealing natural creative skill.

Tamil Meaning : கலை

Synonyms : decorative , imaginative

Antonyms : uncreative

Example : “my lack of artistic ability”

3) conflict

Meaning : be incompatible or at variance; clash.

Tamil Meaning : மோதல்

Synonyms : competition , combat

Antonyms : peace

Example : “parents’ and children’s interests sometimes conflict”

4) interpret

Meaning : explain the meaning of (information or actions).

Tamil Meaning : விளக்குவது

Synonyms : construe

Antonyms : confuse

Example : “the evidence is difficult to interpret”

5) allies

Meaning : a toy marble made of marble, alabaster, or glass.

Tamil Meaning : கூட்டாளிகள்

Synonyms : colleague , associate

Antonyms : friend

Example : When my friends were arguing, Carly was my ally and defended my actions

6) intent

Meaning : determined to do (something).

Tamil Meaning : நோக்கம்

Synonyms : decided , resolved

Antonyms : flexible

Example : “the government was intent on achieving greater efficiency”

7) Senate

Meaning : the smaller upper assembly in the US, US states, France, and other countries.

Synonyms : body , chamber

Example : “the senate must ratify any treaty with a two-thirds majority”

8) outbursts

Meaning : a sudden release of strong emotion.

Tamil Meaning : வெடிப்பு

Synonyms : burst

Antonyms : calm

Example : “an angry outburst from the prime minister”

9) diverse

Meaning : showing a great deal of variety; very different.

Tamil Meaning : பல்வேறு

Synonyms : differing , varied

Antonyms : same

Example : “a culturally diverse population”

10) ethnic

Meaning : relating to a population subgroup (within a larger or dominant national or cultural group) with a common national or cultural tradition.

Tamil Meaning : இன

Synonyms : indigenous , national

Antonyms : nonracial

Example : “ethnic and cultural rights and traditions”

11) mutually

Meaning : with mutual action; in a mutual relationship.

Tamil Meaning : பரஸ்பரம்

Synonyms : commonly

Antonyms : dissimilarly

Example : “adoption and fostering are not necessarily mutually exclusive alternatives”

12) averted.

Meaning : turn away (one’s eyes or thoughts).

Tamil Meaning : தடுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.

Synonyms : deter , fend off

Antonyms : aid

Example : “she averted her eyes while we made stilted conversation”

13) perennial

Meaning : lasting or existing for a long or apparently infinite time; enduring or continually recurring.

Tamil Meaning : வற்றாத

Synonyms : chronic

Antonyms : ceasing

Example : tly infinite time; enduring or continually recurring.

14) evolving

Meaning : develop gradually.

Tamil Meaning : சிறிது சிறிதாக மாறிவரும்

Synonyms : expand , emerge

Antonyms : leave

Example : “the company has evolved into a major chemical manufacturer”

15) tyranny

Meaning : cruel and oppressive government or rule.

Tamil Meaning : கொடுங்கோன்மை

Synonyms : autocracy

Antonyms : democracy

Example : “refugees fleeing tyranny and oppression”

16) erected

Meaning : put together and set upright (a building, wall, or other structure).

Tamil Meaning : அமைத்தது

Synonyms : boosted

Antonyms : lowered

Example : “the guest house was erected in the eighteenth century”

17) dismissive

Meaning : feeling or showing that something is unworthy of consideration.

Tamil Meaning : நிராகரித்து

Synonyms : cocky

Antonyms : humble

Example : “monetarist theory is dismissive of the need to control local spending”

18) subservient

Meaning : prepared to obey others unquestioningly.

Tamil Meaning : கீழ்படியும்

Synonyms : deferential

Antonyms : disobedient

Example : “she was subservient to her parents”

19) undermine

Meaning : erode the base or foundation of (a rock formation).

Tamil Meaning : கீழறுக்க

Synonyms : cripple , blunt

Antonyms : assist

Example : “the flow of water had undermined pillars supporting the roof”

20) campaign

Meaning : work in an organized and active way towards a goal.

Tamil Meaning : பிரச்சாரம்

Synonyms : crusade , drive

Antonyms : inaction

Example : “people who campaigned against child labour”

21) concessions

Meaning : a thing that is granted, especially in response to demands.

Tamil Meaning : சலுகைகள்

Synonyms : acknowledgment

Antonyms : disagreement

Example : “the government was unwilling to make any further concessions”

22) renegotiation

Meaning : negotiation of something again in order to change the original agreed terms.

Tamil Meaning : மறுபேர

Synonyms : borrowed , reconstituted

Example : “they demanded renegotiation of the treaty”

23) aftermath

Meaning : the consequences or after-effects of a significant unpleasant event.

Tamil Meaning : பின்னர்

Synonyms : outcome , impact

Antonyms : cause

Example : “food prices soared in the aftermath of the drought”

24) tripartite

Meaning : shared by or involving three parties.

Tamil Meaning : முத்தரப்பு

Synonyms : ternary

Antonyms : unilateral

Example : “a tripartite coalition government”

25) rallied

Meaning : (of troops) come together again in order to continue fighting after a defeat or dispersion.

Tamil Meaning : அணி திரண்டன

Synonyms : assemble

Antonyms : bore

Example : “De Montfort’s troops rallied and drove back the king’s infantry”

26) retaliatory

Meaning : (of an action) characterized by a desire for revenge.

Tamil Meaning : பழிவாங்கும்

Synonyms : disciplinary, penal

Antonyms : beneficial

Example : “fears of a retaliatory attack by the victim’s friends”

27) slapping

Meaning : put or apply (something) somewhere quickly, carelessly, or forcefully.

Synonyms : blow , punch

Example : “slap on a bit of make-up”

28) forefront

Meaning : the leading or most important position or place.

Tamil Meaning : முன்னணியில்

Synonyms : cutting edge , fore

Antonyms : background

Example : “the issue has moved to the forefront of the political agenda”

29) spur

Meaning :a thing that prompts or encourages someone; an incentive.

Tamil Meaning : துருத்த

Synonyms : activation , actuation

Antonyms : block

Example : “wars act as a spur to practical invention”

30) abstain

Meaning : restrain oneself from doing or enjoying something.

Tamil Meaning : தவிர்ப்பதாக

Synonyms : refrain quit

Antonyms : continue

Example : “she intends to abstain from sex before marriage”

31) regimes

Meaning : a government, especially an authoritarian one.

Tamil Meaning : ஆட்சிகள்

Synonyms : administration

Antonyms : disorder

Example : “ideological opponents of the regime”

32) depriving

Meaning : prevent (a person or place) from having or using something.

Tamil Meaning : மறுக்கிறது

Synonyms : bankrupt

Antonyms : clothe

Example : “the city was deprived of its water supplies”

33) aggressive

Meaning : ready or likely to attack or confront; characterized by or resulting from aggression.

Tamil Meaning : ஆக்கிரமிப்பு

Synonyms : contentious

Antonyms : calm

Example : “he’s very uncooperative and aggressive”

34) bilateral

Meaning : involving two parties, especially countries.

Tamil Meaning : இருதரப்பு

Synonyms : mutual

Antonyms : multilateral

Example : “the bilateral agreements with Japan”

35) junking

Meaning : discard or abandon unceremoniously.

Synonyms : removal

Antonyms : welcoming

Example : “sort out what could be sold off and junk the rest”

36) liberty

Meaning : the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s behaviour or political views.

Tamil Meaning : சுதந்திரம்

Synonyms : autonomy , birthright

Antonyms : dependence

Example : “compulsory retirement would interfere with individual liberty”

37) affirmative

Meaning : agreeing with or consenting to a statement or request.

Tamil Meaning : உடன்பாட்டு

Synonyms : approving , positive

Antonyms : dissenting

Example : “an affirmative answer”

38) resisted

Meaning : withstand the action or effect of.

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்த்து

Synonyms : combat

Antonyms : accept

Example : “antibodies help us to resist infection”

39) reforms

Meaning : make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it.

Tamil Meaning : சீர்திருத்தங்கள்

Synonyms : improve

Antonyms : damage

Example : “the Bill will reform the tax system”

40) negotiate

Meaning : obtain or bring about by discussion.

Tamil Meaning : பேச்சுவார்த்தை

Synonyms : arrange

Antonyms : confuse

Example : “he negotiated a new contract with the sellers”


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