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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 July 20, 2009 / 28 Tamuz 5769

The Show on Capitol Hill

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Call it The Sonia Sotomayor Show, or maybe An Invitation to a Confirmation. For the ending of this little drama is as sure as anything in politics. The fun lies in watching how the actors get there.


The pageant opened before the Senate Judiciary Committee with all rites observed in full. The nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court conducted herself with dignity and spoke of her devotion to impartial justice. And the politicians were, in a word, political. Especially when they were self-absorbed, self-promoting and self-serving.


No surprises there. Pols will be pols. One after the other, they did what politicians do on so august an occasion: They posture and prance and pounce and pontificate. They're not about to forgo any face time with a national television audience. Regardless of party or ideology, one common, underlying theme underlay many of their remarks: "Look at me! Look at me!" On this opening day of the proceedings, with the hearing room packed and television cameras everywhere, the generality of the senators seemed under the misapprehension that all this fuss was about them.


Not a confirmation hearing of any note passes without bringing to mind the story about the candidate for some minor post who was attending a rally for his party's presidential candidate. Big doings. At one point the head of the ticket was dutifully going down the names of the party's nominees for the lesser offices at the bottom of the ticket. That's when the local politician reached over to shush his wife. "Quiet!" he commanded. "The next president of the United States is about to talk about ME !"


Some of the senators at this hearing were more restrained than others, thank you, while others were even more egocentric than usual on this auspicious occasion. Al Franken, for example, who has finally won his fight to represent Minnesota in the United States Senate, promises to be as sad a senator as he was a comedian.


The comedy on Day One ended when the nominee finally got to speak for herself, which she did rather well. For one encouraging thing, she didn't use all the time allotted her for an introductory statement — a good sign. In her statement, Judge Sotomayor emphasized "fidelity to the law" as her guiding principle. Spoken like a wise Latina woman — or any other judicial nominee who aims to be confirmed. It's not just politicians who can be politic.


The distinguished nominee began Day Two prudently — by putting as much distance as she could between herself and her earlier hope that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not" reach a better conclusion than a mere white male.


Now, it seems, she was just "using a rhetorical flourish that fell flat." As she explained it, her comment "was bad because it left an impression that I believe that life experiences commanded a result in a case …"


The reason her remark left that unfortunate impression, of course, is because that's what she said. But after her repeated disavowals, there should be little need to beat this dead cayuse any further. Her Honor had some 'splainin' to do—to quote that eminent jurist of the "I Love Lucy" circuit, Rickey Ricardo — and now she's 'splained. Or at least backtracked. Enough said.


But the judge ran aground early on Day Two when she stuck with what surely was the worst and maybe the most abrupt decision of her long career: agreeing to deny promotion to those now famous New Haven, Conn., firefighters who had qualified for it by passing the requisite tests. It seems not enough black Americans had scored high enough on the tests to qualify for better jobs, or maybe too many white Americans had. Thereupon the authorities in New Haven decided to ignore the tests they had once required.


The usual result ensued: Lawsuits were threatened and/or pursued. For the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination against an individual on account of race but another statute, passed in 1991, bans tests that affect whole groups of applicants differently, or have a "disparate impact." Judge Sotomayor summarily ruled against the white firefighters even though one of her colleagues on the three-judge panel warned her that the issue was much more complicated than her cavalier treatment of it indicated. He wanted to refer the issue to the whole appellate court. She ignored him, just as New Haven had ignored the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and was reversed by the Supreme Court.


Judge Sotomayor explained that she didn't ignore the law, but rather the Supreme Court changed it on her. That's her story and she's sticking with it — even though the conflict between the two legal doctrines has been debated in detail for years. Her cursory decision in this case is not a good omen for the kind of Supreme Court justice she would make: wrong but stubborn about it. And dismissive of full discussion when her preconceptions, or just plain prejudices, are challenged. What we have here is an example not of a judicial temperament but a litigator's.


Judge Sotomayor will surely be the next associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, but her stance on this question indicates she won't be a great one.

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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. Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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