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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 May 30, 2008 / 25 Iyar 5768

Picking Judges

By Linda Chavez


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If you ask Americans what issues matter most to them in choosing a president, the candidate's judicial philosophy is not likely to make it into the top 10. But a president's power to nominate judges is, in fact, one of his most powerful tools — and often leaves a legacy that lasts far longer than any policy initiative.


President Dwight Eisenhower was no liberal activist, but his appointment of Earl Warren as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court dramatically shifted the nation leftward for decades on everything from criminal justice to separation of church and state to legislative reapportionment. Similarly, President Ronald Reagan was far more successful in reshaping the courts than in reducing the size of government. So it's important to know how each of the current candidates will go about picking judges when one of them becomes president.


Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are graduates of Ivy League law schools, Harvard and Yale respectively, and Obama taught constitutional law for a decade. Both approach the Constitution as a "living document," which they believe must constantly be interpreted anew depending on changing circumstances, mores, and values. The literal meaning of the words themselves are no more important in their eyes than the judge's interpretation of what is right and just. Thus, the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law without regard to race or color can be interpreted to permit discrimination against whites if it benefits blacks or Hispanics because, as a group, the latter have faced discrimination in the past and remain, on average, economically disadvantaged.


Given this philosophy it's no wonder that Barack Obama set out his criteria for picking judges this way. "We need somebody who's got the heart the empathy to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old. And that's going to be the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges." When Obama voted against Justice Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, he said it was because Alito's record showed "extraordinarily consistent support for the powerful against the powerless." In other words, a judge's role should be to decide which party should prevail on the basis of some abstract notion of fairness.


Now, this might strike some people as a good thing — though I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone should have to go to law school or have any familiarity with legal principles and precedents in order to become a judge if compassion is the chief criterion on which cases should be decided.


Hillary Clinton's list was a little more substantive than Obama's. She told attendees to a 2007 Planned Parenthood convention that she would pick judges who "understand the role of precedent," by which she meant Roe v. Wade — though, apparently, no decision after it that rolled back an unlimited right to abortion. But she also threw in the phrase "well-qualified judges," which, at least, acknowledged that she would require something more than a kind heart in making her selections.


Ironically, the only candidate whose primary concern is the law is the one candidate who isn't a lawyer: John McCain. He says he wants "jurists of the highest caliber, who know their own minds, and know the law, and know the difference." Perhaps it takes the humility of one who hasn't gone to law school to hold the law in such high esteem. More likely, it's respect for the democratic process by which the people choose lawmakers. In McCain's view, it's the role of the Legislature — made up of the people's elected representatives — to write laws. If the people don't like the laws their representatives make, they can pick new legislators, but neither the people nor legislators should rely on judges to rewrite those laws for them.


It's impossible to predict a future president's judicial picks, but it's an almost certain bet that a President Obama (or Clinton) would choose judges who share their expansive view of judicial power while a President McCain would choose more humble judges who understand the limits of that power. What remains is for the voters to decide how much power they are willing to turn over to unelected men and women with lifetime tenure — and pick their president accordingly.

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JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate

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