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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 June 26, 2013/ 18 Tamuz, 5773

A murk called law

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of the great justices of the U.S. Supreme Court -- yes, there was a time when the court had great justices -- once said of the court: "We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final." --Robert H. Jackson.

Whether the country will ever again see his like on the Supreme Court now requires a measure of faith. The closest the current collection of justices may come to greatness is a certain egocentricity. Think of Antonin Scalia, who is better known for his sharp repartee in dissent than any philosophy of law. As a judge, he is a great showman.

Justice Scalia's theory of originalism -- that it is possible to divine the intentions of the Founding Fathers at this late date, and then apply them to current case law, is less a philosophy than a bout of nostalgia. And an impressive feat of mindreading, too.

Justice Clarence Thomas' literal-minded reading of the law at least offers some predictability, which is what good law should provide. But his decisions stand out only because of their simple clarity, not any great vision.

The general run of mediocrities who make up the rest of the court would seem dedicated above all to avoiding clarity -- and therefore finality, the one quality that makes such a court indispensable in a constitutional system.

On issue after issue this term, case after case, the court's decisions rang clear as a muffled bell. A number of its rulings left legal scholars and mere newspaper columnists, too, scratching our heads looking for conclusions that weren't there.

The bright, shining exception to this dismal rule was the court's decision to overturn the Voting Rights Act of 1965, or rather bring it up to date. That decision was testimony not to how badly the law had worked but how well. Because it's evident, or should be, that the Voting Rights Act has changed the complexion, literally, of the American electorate. It did so by finally recognizing the long-ignored right of American citizens to vote in the states of the Old Confederacy. It was about time this long after The War.

To reach its decision, the court needn't have consulted any law books but only a calendar. Or just look around to realize that the old Voting Rights Act was no longer needed. Indeed, the act had become discriminatory itself -- by imposing burdens on only selected parts of the country.

The rest of the court's docket this term added up to a general muddle. For example, is homosexual marriage in this country now legal? Your guess is as good as mine. Discriminating against homosexuals in federal law would seem to be illegal now, but states that recognize only traditional marriage -- that is, between man and woman, husband and wife -- still may do so. For now.

But a state like California, where voters rejected homosexual marriage, must now recognize it. On the narrow ground that its governor and attorney general refused to defend traditional marriage in court. So a new way has been opened for public officials to defy the people's will: Just dodge their duty to defend their state's laws.

The original impetus for the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was to keep states that didn't recognize homosexual marriage from being forced to accept it. That part of DOMA, the key part, still stands. For now. But for who knows how long? With this court, nothing is clear and therefore nothing is final. Or even clearly settled just now.

The court also decided not to decide whether colleges and universities could go on discriminating against better qualified students in deciding whom to admit -- in the name of fighting discrimination, of course.

The first mistake, the original sin, in this long history of injustice was the court's approving schools' decision to combat racial preferences by adopting more racial preferences, this time in favor of the other race. Reverse Discrimination, it used to be called. Though it requires only a cursory glance at such policies to realize they're just the same old discrimination -- only with the colors reversed.

In this case, too, Mr. Justice Thomas offered some rare clarity. Plus a brief history of all the hollow rationalizations for American racism over the years and centuries -- slavery, racial segregation, and now the quota system called Affirmative Action. All were said to be for the benefit of the minority affected even though they hurt it. Today it is Affirmative Action that leads folks to suspect that its beneficiaries have been unfairly favored. ("So you're a graduate of Harvard Law. An Affirmative Action admission, I assume?")

Unfortunately, Mr. Justice Thomas' reasoning failed to sway the majority of the court, which once again chose justice delayed and denied over the real thing. Real justice would have been unacceptably clear.

The court's chief justice, John Roberts, once proposed a better way to deal with invidious discrimination on college campuses and in American education in general: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." But that approach was much too clear for this court. It preferred to lay down some more fog cover.

The court's decision on Affirmative Action would better be described as a non-decision. Its approach to these cases, too, might be summed up as To Be Continued.

These days the court's decisions are not final because they're fallible; they're fallible because they're not final.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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