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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 23, 2010 / 9 Iyar, 5770

A Model Supreme Court Justice

By Mona Charen




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | While disclaiming an "abortion litmus test," President Obama has signaled his intention to appoint a new Supreme Court justice who shares his concern for "women's rights." In other words, of course there's a litmus test — and it would be foolish to suppose that abortion is the only one.

If there were any justice in the justice-picking sweepstakes, the president would choose a conservative — to correct a historic anomaly. Though Republican presidents appointed 17 of the last 23 justices, only 11 turned out to be anything close to conservative. Some, like William Brennan (Eisenhower), David Souter (Bush I), and John Paul Stevens (Ford), were leading liberals. Others like Sandra Day O'Connor (Reagan) and Anthony Kennedy (Reagan) became swing votes, leaning left on key issues. Not since Byron White (Kennedy) has a Democratic appointee leaned to the right to any significant degree. Surely Obama can see that this imbalance should be remedied by "spreading the wealth around."

Seeking a model, he need look no further than Justice Samuel Alito. The lone dissenter in the recently decided case of set ital United States v. Stevens end ital, Alito demonstrated the sort of sound logic and good sense that should be prized in a justice — as well as the willingness to stand alone, which, even in the rarefied environment of the Supreme Court, cannot be easy.

The case concerned a federal statute that criminalized the creation, sale, or possession of certain types of animal cruelty videos. It was aimed at so-called "crush videos," a subset of pornography that appeals to a level of depravity that makes some of us want to resign from the human race. Alito quoted from the Humane Society's brief:

"(A) kitten, secured to the ground, watches and shrieks in pain as a woman thrusts her high-heeled shoe into its body, slams her heel into the kitten's eye socket and mouth loudly fracturing its skull, and stomps repeatedly on the animal's head. The kitten hemorrhages blood, screams blindly in pain, and is ultimately left dead in a moist pile of blood-soaked hair and bone."

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The majority held that the statute was "overbroad" — that depictions of hunting or legitimate slaughtering methods might easily fall within its purview — and accordingly unconstitutional. (Though the court did virtually invite revised legislation, noting that "We ... do not decide whether a statute limited to crush videos or other ... extreme animal cruelty would be constitutional.")

Alito dissented. He dispatched the hunting example by noting that hunting is legal in all 50 states, while the statute referred to "a depiction of conduct that is illegal in the jurisdiction in which the depiction is created, sold, or possessed." Further, depictions of hunting would clearly fall within several of the exceptions — "serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value" — enumerated in the legislation.

As to tail docking and slaughtering methods, Alito advises that since the statute could only reasonably be interpreted as criminalizing depictions of animal cruelty as defined by state and federal law, and since those practices did not qualify, a video depicting them would not be within the law's scope. Further, a trade video showing slaughtering methods would easily fall within the range of the law's exceptions.

Crush videos and other depictions of animal cruelty, Alito forcefully argues, are directly analogous to a category of speech that the court has excluded from First Amendment protection, child pornography. As with child porn, the conduct depicted in crush videos is nearly impossible to curtail without criminalizing the sale and distribution of the resulting product. These nauseating and repellent acts are not performed before a live audience but only to feed the video trade.

It is the same with dogfighting. "'(V)ideo documentation is vital to the criminal enterprise because it provides proof of a dog's fighting prowess — proof demanded by potential buyers and critical to the underground market.' In short, because videos depicting live dogfights are essential to the success of the criminal dogfighting subculture, the commercial sale of such videos helps to fuel the market for, and thus to perpetuate ... the criminal conduct depicted in them." The dogs abused in these videos suffer for years, Alito wrote, not just minutes. They are commonly fed hot peppers and gunpowder, beaten with sticks to incline them toward violence, and denied treatment after a ferocious fight.

The majority's stretch to imagine hypothetical scenarios in which the statute might infringe other speech seems farfetched compared with Alito's more realistic analysis. But wisdom is not determined by majority vote.

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