Court Stabs Integration in Ricci v. DeStefano

June 30, 2009

The Supreme Court has decided that New Haven could not throw out the firemen’s exam because no African-American and only two Hispanic-American test takers passed the test. According to the Court it wasn’t discriminatory because the test wasn’t intended to be discriminatory.

Unfortunately it is easy to whitewash real discrimination by saying “he didn’t mean it” – a formula we all learned as kids. Read the rest of this entry »


Sotomayor’s Resignation from a Women’s Club

June 23, 2009

Judge Sotomayor’s resignation from a women’s club is the result of the typical conservative failure either to understand or support the fight against discrimination. Saying that women or blacks cannot get together to support each other because we have insisted that whites and men admit women and blacks is like saying that with the score 89-0 we’ll all play fair from now on. Read the rest of this entry »


Hillel and the NY Senate

June 18, 2009

Around two thousand years ago a great Jewish Rabbi said: “If I am only for myself / Who am I? / If I am not for myself /Who will be for me?” Looking at what has been happening at the New York State Senate through the lens of Hillel’s words leads me to a somewhat more nuanced and tolerant reaction to what has been going on. Read the rest of this entry »


The Iranian Election

June 18, 2009

The struggle over what is obviously a stolen election in Iran reminds me of a conversation I had with an Iranian student in Shiraz in the mid-1960s. Shiraz is in the province of Pars, and only about 25 miles from the ancient capital of Persepolis, the center of the ancient Persian empire. This student was telling me that the Shah’s father had his own grandfather killed. And he immediately assured me that he would have done the same thing because his grandfather was an enemy of the Shah. Read the rest of this entry »


What the Perspective of a Judge can Add

June 10, 2009

We’ve been listening to a lot of discussion of whether it is appropriate for a candidate for the Supreme Court to benefit from her experience as a Puerto Rican-American woman. Some claim, as Justice O’Connor once did, that a good woman judge and a good male judge should be judicially identical, and decide the same way. Or as one critic recently said, “Giving vent to the bias of one’s own experiences would lead to a wrong result, not a proper one”. Read the rest of this entry »


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