May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
April 2, 2012/ 10 Nissan, 5772
The cynicism of it
To read this week's press coverage, you'd think not just a landmark Supreme Court case was upon us, but a jurisprudential Armageddon. The moment of truth has arrived, the die is about to be cast, the Rubicon crossed ... pick your own favorite cliche. There are so many out there.
Charles Krauthammer, one of my favorites in the columnizing/calumniating trade, sees the fate of the Republic swaying in the balance in the current hearings on Obamacare. As he writes in the Washington Post:
"If the law is upheld, it fundamentally changes the social contract. It means the effective end of a government of enumerated powers -- finite, delineated powers beyond which the government may not go, beyond which lies the free realm of the people and their voluntary institutions. The new dispensation is a central government of unlimited power from which citizen and civil society struggle to carve out spheres of autonomy."
If the court sides with the administration, all is lost.
On the opposite but equally fervid end of the political spectrum, Linda Greenhouse waves off such fears. And any disagreement, too. Her undiluted contempt for any who might have a different opinion is palpable. Those challenging the new health-care law, she explains, haven't got a precedent to stand on. Their learned disquisitions amount to, well, nothing. She writes, you won't be surprised to hear, for the New York Times.
It may be a journalistic convention to present both sides of a legal controversy in neutral fashion, she concedes, "without the writer's thumb on the scale." But, "free of convention, and fresh from reading the main briefs in the case," Ms. Greenhouse is here to tell us that the constitutional argument against the health-care law is "so weak that it dissolves on close inspection. There's just no there there."
If the court strikes down this Signature Achievement of the Obama administration, all reason is lost.
Now that Justices Krauthammer and Greenhouse have weighed in on the law, it's a wonder the country needs a Supreme Court at all. Just choose your ideological side, his or hers, and save yourself the trouble of thought. Then declare your opinion settled law. And close the book.
Only it doesn't work that way. Time, not the justices, and certainly not the pundits, will be the ultimate judge. History, contrary as ever, will deliver its own verdict. And there is no escaping its jurisdiction.
The great precedents of the past may prove not so great after all. Dred Scott was going to solve the slavery question once and for all in 1857. At last the Supreme Court of the United States would render a final, decisive, comprehensive decision. No longer would this little matter trouble the peace and growth of the Union. Any misgivings about the Peculiar Institution could now be brushed aside. Scott v. Sandford was now settled law.
Except that it wasn't. The next year, a gawky ex-congressman, ex-Whig and -- who would've predicted it? -- future president of the United States chose to take on the most powerful senator and celebrated orator of his day, The Little Giant himself, Stephen A. Douglas, in a series of whistle-stop debates out on the prairies of Illinois. And what had been settled no longer was.
History had intervened. Soon enough the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword would be loosed. And another decision was reached.
A new accommodation would have to be reached with destiny. Once again, the Supreme Court of the United States stepped forward to lay down the law, and settle this vexing question forever. Vanity of vanities: The court's solution, handed down in Plessy v. Ferguson at the turn of the last century, came to be known as Separate but Equal.
Only one justice, a Kentuckian by the name of John Marshall Harlan, who always did see too far ahead, dissented. Only he had the candor to state what everyone had to know: that there was nothing equal about separate-but-equal, that it was but a "badge of servitude," and that it would not stand. However long it took for the country to see through it. For "there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind...." And so it proved. Even if took another half-century to unsettle that "settled" law.
The moral of the story: Nothing is as certain as the too-certain say it is. Whatever this court rules, its decision, too, will be appealed. Before the bar of history. And in that court, nothing is ever settled till it's settled right.
Paul Greenberg Archives
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