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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 Dec. 17, 2007 / 8 Teves 5768

Here Dumbs the Judge: Sen. Jon Kyl joins a left-wing effort to censor seminars for federal judges

By John H. Fund


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Senate has failed to fill a slew of judicial vacancies, including 17 that have been declared "emergencies" by the Judicial Conference of the United States. Not satisfied with that, some senators are now trying to restrict the ways judges receive continuing legal education and how often they can visit private law schools such as Tulane or Emory. For all their talk about being in favor of education, it looks as if some senators want to dumb down the judiciary.


Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold has teamed up with Arizona Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona, the new Senate minority whip, on an amendment to a judicial pay raise bill scheduled for a Senate vote this week. The bill itself aims to make federal judicial service more attractive to the best lawyers: Federal judges haven't had a pay increase beyond inflation in more than two decades, and soaring private-sector legal salaries make it increasingly difficult to attract the best talent for the federal bench.


But the Feingold-Kyl amendment would make it more difficult for sitting judges to attend seminars that would update them on new areas of legal analysis. It would flatly ban federal judges from attending anything other than a government-sponsored program. It appears to be a clever way for liberals to rewrite the rules so they can hobble distinguished legal programs for federal judges offered by Virginia's George Mason University and the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, which partners with Montana State University in putting on its programs.


The two programs could argue that their affiliation with public universities means they shouldn't be covered by the new restrictions. Even though it receives private funding, George Mason's status as a state school gives it a stronger argument for being exempt than FREE has, but no doubt the issue would wind up in court for years. In the meantime, the ban would have a chilling effect on judges accepting invitations to their programs.


George Mason's program, who faculty has included eight Nobel laureates is the best known, having trained over 4,000 judges. Five federal appellate courts and 20 state court systems have enlisted GMU to provide the academic content of their own annual conferences. GMU seminars feature some of the best scholars in the country on such subjects as the Founders and the work of John Stuart Mill. But because GMU also teaches judges how to apply economic and scientific analysis in the courtroom, liberal groups have long railed against the seminars, calling them "a way for corporations to reach out to judges" and taint their rulings. Mr. Feingold has long crusaded against what he calls "privately funded judicial education with an ideological agenda."


In truth, corporate sponsors account for less than 10% of the budget for George Mason's seminars. Judges must publicly disclose their participation, and George Mason doesn't sponsor any entertainment or recreation at the seminars. Judges are expected to absorb 500 to 600 pages of readings and attend 21 hours of seminars, spread over five days. Lecturers at the GMU conferences address only general principles of how the law intersects with economics; they do not discuss red-hot topics such as tobacco, asbestos litigation, abortion and racial preferences. Similar guidelines apply at the FREE seminars in Montana, whose lecturers have included former solicitor general Charles Fried and Nobel laureate Thomas Schelling, a co-founder of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


Judges of all persuasions agree on the value of the seminars. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote after participating in two of George Mason's programs: "For lifting the veil on such mysteries as regression analysis, and for advancing both learning and collegial relationships among federal judges, my enduring appreciation."


Justice Ginsburg and other jurists know that the issues confronting them are becoming more complex and often involve sorting out competing claims about scientific evidence as well as issues that go beyond traditional legal maxims. They understand the value and importance of keeping up with changes in the law, and a wide variety of groups representing all persuasions offer such training. It's just that George Mason and FREE do a better job than most at it, and that has attracted envy and enemies.


Critics of judges learning economic principles have been trying to shut down the programs for years. In 2000, Sen. John Kerry joined with Mr Feingold to push a bill that would have allowed universities to hold such seminars but only if they were approved by career bureaucrats at the Federal Judicial Center. The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist opposed the Kerry bill, saying it smacked of government censorship and would "dramatically" restrict the information flow available to judges. "The notion that judges should not attend private seminars unless they have been vetted and approved by a government board is a bad idea," he wrote.


James Q. Wilson, a well-regarded scholar at Pepperdine University who has taught at the George Mason seminars, notes that attempts to shut down it and similar legal education seminars have been inspired by the Community Rights Counsel, an environmental group that receives significant funding from left-wing financier George Soros. Mr. Wilson notes that the CRC is primarily concerned with helping governments enact environmental regulations "without worrying about the takings clause of the federal Constitution." In 2005, the CRC raised questions about the qualifications of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to serve on the Supreme Court, notwithstanding that both won top ratings from the American Bar Association.


The proposed amendment would also bar any federal judge from accepting more than $1,500 in food, lodging or other reimbursement for any travel event not sponsored by a government, and more than $5,000 in total a year. Many might not mourn the fact that Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer couldn't attend subsidized conferences in Europe anymore. But such a limit would also discriminate against less well-known but respected judges who are asked most frequently to participate in academic conferences and moot courts at private law schools. Harvard Law will always attract top-flight judges, but Pepperdine or Boston University might have a hard time persuading them to come on their own dime. The overall limit of $5,000 would be quickly reached for the best-regarded judges, who are just the kind that moot court organizers want to attract. The travel limits would also be especially hard on judges who live away from major airline hubs, not to mention those from Alaska and Hawaii.


Given the origin of the opposition to legal education seminars that aren't sponsored by governments, it's a surprise to see Mr. Kyl, a staunch conservative, sign on to Mr. Feingold's amendment. If senators approve the amendment, they may think they're striking a blow for greater judicial integrity. But the effort to "insulate" federal judges from intellectual influences is foolish. Federal judges are supposed to be some of the most thoughtful and knowledgeable men and women in the country. The notion that they are in danger of having their thoughts corrupted by other people's opinions is absurd.


When the Constitution was adopted, lots of people worried that the federal judiciary would over time become aloof and removed from the everyday thoughts and concerns of the people. Putting federal judges in an intellectual straitjacket would only make the judiciary more aloof and less informed.

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JWR contributor John H. Fund is author, most recently, of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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