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Reforms to the process for electing judges to the European Court of Human Rights have generally focused on identifying the most qualified individual candidates. This Article argues for a more holistic approach, advancing a theory of why professional diversity on the European Court of Human Rights is an asset in collegial decision making. The results of original interviews with several Strasbourg judges are presented, followed by an empirical analysis of the professional backgrounds of all judges elected to the European Court of Human Rights since 1998. Although the interviews indicate that the judges themselves see the value of professional diversity, the quantitative evidence suggests a trend in the direction of a more professionally homogenous bench. The Article concludes with some suggestions for how the promotion of professional diversity might be appropriately pursued in future reforms to the process for electing Strasbourg judges.
The role of constitutional courts in deeply divided societies is complicated by the danger that the salient societal cleavages may influence judicial decision-making and, consequently, undermine judicial impartiality and independence. With reference to the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina, this article investigates the influence of ethno-national affiliation on judicial behaviour and the extent to which variation in judicial tenure amplifies or dampens that influence. Based on a statistical analysis of an original dataset of the Court's decisions, we find that the judges do in fact divide predictably along ethno-national lines, at least in certain types of cases, and that these divisions cannot be reduced to a residual loyalty to their appointing political parties. Contrary to some theoretical expectations, however, we find that long-term tenure does little to dampen the influence of ethno-national affiliation on judicial behaviour. Moreover, our findings suggest that this influence may actually increase as a judge acclimates to the dynamics of a divided court. We conclude by considering how alternative arrangements for the selection and tenure of judges might help to ameliorate this problem.
Our team is developing an optically-based smart monitoring system prototype targeting batteries for advanced battery applications such as hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs). The system concept envisions fiber optic (FO) sensors embedded within Lithium (Li)-ion batteries to measure parameters indicative of cell state in conjunction with our low-cost, compact optical wavelength-shift detection technology and intelligent algorithms to enable effective real-time performance management and optimized battery design. Towards these goals, we have successfully made functional prototypes of Li-ion pouch cells with FO sensors embedded within the electrode stack during cell fabrication. The strong, interesting signals from these FO sensors obtained over charge-discharge cycles offer valuable information and features to enable more accurate cell state-of-charge (SOC) and state-of-health (SOH) estimation, and better understand cell electrochemical and aging processes. This paper presents initial results from these prototype cells and compares the results from internal FO signals to earlier results reported by our team on purely external configurations where the FO sensors were attached to the cell skin.
Northern Ireland’s consociational institutions were reviewed by a committee of its Assembly in 2012–13. The arguments of both critics and exponents of the arrangements are of general interest to scholars of comparative politics, power-sharing and constitutional design. The authors of this article review the debates and evidence on the d’Hondt rule of executive formation, political designation, the likely impact of changing district magnitudes for assembly elections, and existing patterns of opposition and accountability. They evaluate the scholarly, political and legal literature before commending the merits of maintaining the existing system, including the rules under which the system might be modified in future.
Particular intestinal bacteria are capable of metabolizing the soya isoflavone daidzein to equol and/or O-desmethylangolensin (O-DMA), and the presence of these metabolites in urine after soya consumption are markers of particular intestinal bacteria profiles. Prevalences of equol producers and O-DMA producers are approximately 30–50 % and 80–90 %, respectively, and limited observations have suggested that these daidzein-metabolizing phenotypes are stable within individuals over time. Characterizing stability of these phenotypes is important to understand their potential as markers of long-term exposure to particular intestinal bacteria and their associations with disease risk. We evaluated concordance within an individual for the equol-producer and O-DMA-producer phenotypes measured at two time points (T1, T2), 1–3 years apart. Phenotypes were ascertained by analysing equol and O-DMA using GC-MS in a spot urine sample collected after 3 d soya (source of daidzein) supplementation. In ninety-two individuals without recent (within 3 months before phenotyping) or current antibiotics use, 41 % were equol producers at T1 and 45 % were equol producers at T2, and 90 % were O-DMA producers at T1 and 95 % were O-DMA producers at T2. The percentage agreement for the equol-producer phenotype was 82 and for the O-DMA-producer phenotype was 89. These results indicate that these phenotypes are stable in most individuals over time, suggesting that they provide a useful biomarker for evaluating disease risk associated with harbouring particular intestinal bacteria responsible for, or associated with, the metabolism of the soya isoflavone daidzein.
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