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Stephen Gottlieb

  • There’s too much important news, but everything depends on elections working properly. And I felt sick listening to the hearings last Tuesday. Trump and his team publicly spread rumors about election workers and skipped any process, due or otherwise. Their rumors led to vicious threats.
  • In this period when prejudices are being revived even as we celebrated the announcement of freedom on Juneteenth, it may be useful or comforting to see how the Founding Fathers handled diversity.
  • I mentioned defunding the Supreme Court to a Princeton professor after he moderated a panel on the future of democracy in America. He just sneered. Of course that only made me look closer and double down.
  • The Israeli paper, Haaretz, reported that Israel had approved construction of some 4,000 units on the West Bank for Israeli settlement. The US State Department condemned the announcement. As University of Michigan Middle-East expert Juan Cole described it, Israel would take “land owned by Palestinian families and bring in squatters from Israel” to settle on their land. Now we learn that Israeli soldiers beat and kicked pall bearers at a reporter’s funeral.
  • Over this weekend I went to my college reunions – it was my class’s 60th. By tradition, we hold a parade. Starting with the Old Guard, we march, or ride in golf carts as we are able, from central campus down to the football stadium. Classes that haven’t started their march, line up along the parade route, cheering the older classes and, of course, we return the cheers to them. There’s a lot of hoopla and college spirit – but there’s more.
  • I remember my parents discussing, many decades ago, their perception of Catholic hospitals saving babies in preference to mothers, and Jewish hospitals as prioritizing saving the mother. I haven’t checked whether they were accurate, but the Court’s apparent position on abortion certainly does that. That’s a religious decision and it’s clearly in conflict with Jewish law, for which saving the mother is obligatory.
  • Some people talk about immigrants as if they’re threats.
  • Most people don’t realize that Roe v. Wade was the brainchild of two Nixon appointees, Justice Harry Blackmun and Chief Justice Warren Burger – the so-called Minnesota twins because they had grown up together in Minnesota. Blackmun had been counsel to the Mayo Clinic and he and Burger had corresponded about abortion rights well before Roe v. Wade came to the Court. So they were ready and waiting for it.
  • I want to raise an important issue that’s been crowded out by the headlines.
  • During the hearings over the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the US Supreme Court, there were lots of questions and comments about whether “court packing” would be a good idea. The principal objection was that packing the Court would destroy its “legitimacy” as a legal, rather than partisan institution.