In this issue
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 15, 2008 / 10 Iyar 5768

McCain's Supreme wrongheadedness

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | IN A SPEECH on the federal judiciary last week, John McCain sounded the familiar conservative call for judges who know their place. "My nominees," he promised, "will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power, and clear limits to the scope of federal power." The judiciary's moral authority depends on self-restraint, said McCain, and "this authority quickly vanishes when a court presumes to make law instead of apply it."

The senator emphasized the importance of judicial modesty and deference to the elected branches of government, lamenting that "federal judges today issue rulings and opinions on policy questions that should be decided democratically." He criticized Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for not being concerned "when fundamental questions of social policy are preemptively decided by judges instead of by the people and their elected representatives."

But is it really the proper function of the courts to simply rubber-stamp laws passed by Congress and state legislatures? Is a law presumed constitutional merely because elected officials enacted it? "If my fellow citizens want to go to Hell," declared Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, a staunch advocate of judicial restraint, "I will help them. It's my job."

It was a clever remark - but a poor recipe for sustaining the Framers' system of checks and balances, or defending important liberty interests against political encroachment. Quite the contrary: Judicial deference to the political branches has led to some of the worst judicial decisions in American history. Think of Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 case upholding a Louisiana statute that mandated racial segregation in public accommodations. The Supreme Court certainly deferred to the elected lawmakers who wrote that statute. It also helped lock Jim Crow in place for the next 60 years.

You don't have to go back to 1896 for examples of how liberty suffers when commendable judicial restraint deteriorates into unfortunate judicial passivism.

In a lucid new book - "The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom" - legal scholars Robert Levy and William Mellor offer a mournful litany of high-court blunders in the modern era. The cases involve subjects as diverse as campaign finance, gun control, and the right to pursue an occupation; each, the authors write, had a "destructive effect on law and public policy" - either by enlarging government powers beyond their constitutional bounds or by undermining individual liberties that the Constitution protects. As often as not, the court failed not by being too activist, but by not being activist enough: by allowing the legislative and executive branches to do as they wished, instead of compelling them to stay within constitutional constraints.

The most notorious of the Dirty Dozen is Korematsu v. United States (1944), in which the court gave its sanction to the Roosevelt administration's World War II internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans, none of whom had been accused of disloyalty or sabotage.

In Wickard v. Filburn (1942), the court upheld the government's power to impose quotas for wheat even on a small farmer who used what he grew right on his farm and sold none of it across state lines. The court should have struck the law down as a blatant violation of the Commerce Clause, which limits Congress to the regulation of interstate commerce - something Farmer Filburn clearly wasn't engaged in. Instead the court allowed it, throwing open the door to a vast expansion of federal control.

Kelo v. New London (2005) allowed private homes to be seized by eminent domain and turned over to other private owners - not for "public use," as the Fifth Amendment requires, but merely because the new owners can be expected to generate more jobs or taxes than the owners who were dispossessed.

Time and again the Supreme Court has abetted the aggrandizement of government power at the expense of freedom and (in the Ninth Amendment's words) the "rights . . . retained by the people." To be sure, liberal judicial activism untethered to constitutional limits has been a serious blight on the legal landscape. But judicial passivism has wrought grave harm too. If elected, Senator McCain says he will "restore the standards and spirit" the Framers intended for the judiciary. He can begin preparing for that task by reading "The Dirty Dozen."

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Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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