April 11, 2016

I will be speaking about Unfit for Democracy: The Roberts Court and the Breakdown of American Politics (NYU Press 2016, available in book stores, online and on Kindle) and related topics on the dates and times below:

Monday, April 18, 2016, recording of video discussion for I-Con, the International Society of Public Law, with Richard Albert, Dana Schmalz and Peter Quint

May 11, 2016, New York Democratic Lawyers Council, Voting Rights Panel, Husted Amphitheater (Room 106A), Husted Hall, University at Albany Downtown Campus

May 17, 2016 Book Talk at Albany Public Library

May 24-25, 2016, Demos Money in Politics Legal Convening at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

June 11, 2016 Discussion, Judging the Roberts Court, with myself and Judge Robert Smith

PLEASE get in touch with me if you are interested in arranging an event.


Interview by Susan Arbetter, on Capitol Pressroom, WCNY and syndicated, recorded February 12, 2016 and broadcast February 15, 2016, available as a podcast

Interview by Alan Chartock on WAMC “In Conversation with …,” broadcast February 11, 2016, at 1 p.m., taped before a live audience at Albany Law School, Jan. 26, 2016, available as a podcast at http://wamc.org/post/wamc-s-alan-chartock-conversation-stephen-gottlieb-1#stream/0

Interview by Joe Donahue on the WAMC Roundtable, Jan. 25, 2016 at 11:10 a.m., available as a podcast.

Also available, Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle [CLSC], August 16, 2001, talk at the Hall of Philosophy, Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY, on Morality imposed: The Rehnquist Court and Liberty in America.  Broadcast by C-Span on their America and the Courts series, October 20, 2001, podcast at http://www.c-span.org/video/?165692-1/book-discussion-morality-imposed-rehnquist-court

All good wishes,


Excellent post on countering terrorism

March 27, 2016

Juan Cole nails it again. In his own words, http://www.juancole.com/2016/03/what-would-effective-counter-terrorism-look-like-after-brussels.html

Muslim political attitudes

March 20, 2016

Juan Cole posted the results of a very interesting survey of political attitudes by religion, under the heading

“More US Muslims favor Bernie Sanders than do US Jews.” Cole added “One important finding is that mosque attendance is associated with strong identification as an American and strong civic participation as well as with opposition to violence toward civilians, whether committed by the state or by non-state actors.”

The Code of Silence and the Stereotype of Bravery

March 8, 2016

It’s hard to explain to most people how serious the problems with the police are. Ideology makes people choose sides and blink reality. Urging change is treated by police as pure hostility. There are many good policemen doing everything they can to protect all of us. Equally clearly there are policemen who are there for the power trip from the uniform or from their weapons.

But their solidarity and their code of silence make it a much more serious problem, making all criticism out of bounds and protecting policemen who commit serious crimes or abuses.

Sometimes victim’s families win civil suits but the city pays, which means you and me pay, while the officers will be indemnified. That’s not nearly good enough.

Some police were so brave that they were terrified by a man reaching for his front door key and pulverized him with 41 shots. So brave that a Black man in a winter coat, walking like he had a bad knee, a limp or a package – suggests a gun to them and the encounter ends with his death. Or they decide to take what they think the law is into their own hands in a deliberately rough a ride before considering a trip to the hospital, recently ending one victim’s life in Baltimore. I don’t buy stereotypes, including stereotypes of the police. My blood curdles when officers who should be brave and careful shoot unarmed and law-abiding Black men in the back saying they were scared.

Of course it’s now legal to carry guns. But not for African-American men. It’s not even legal for African-American men to look like they might be carrying a gun because it scares our policemen and someone often dies. Of course the rest of us are not supposed to react that way – we’d be charged with murder.

We call the police the finest – but many can’t deal with any but instantaneous obedience and agreement. Objections are often met with charges of resisting arrest or interfering with a police officer. My advice to anyone stopped by the police is to sound apologetic and compliant but say absolutely nothing except your desire to talk to an attorney – politely. It’s my advice to stay alive. But too many don’t get the message. They’re Americans who “know their rights” and they’re angry when they’re stopped for no good reason. They don’t respect people who fly off the handle at the first sign of disagreement, using their weapons to get “respect” for the cops.

Boy I’d love to have unqualified confidence in cops and troopers, to respect their bravery, good sense and commitment to police themselves. But fairness, accuracy and justice are far from consistent results of policing. Cops have told me they’d never rat on a brother and would deny what they knew to be true. I’ve had policemen tell me they change the facts to make people guilty of crimes – like convicting Black or young men in the wrong attire of carrying concealed weapons – including hunting rifles in plain view. Judges have told me they believe the police about half the time – they just don’t know which half.

There have been many exposes of police corruption. But when someone tries to stop it, they are ostracized, forced out or worse. Police unions protect police records so that no one, including the press, can get the facts.

That’s the force we have – one that condones bad behavior over codes of decent conduct. That’s not what our Founders dreamed of or what we deserve. It’s not about rogue officers. It’s about the misplaced loyalty that protects bad behavior. I’d lock their guns in the armory until they learned to police themselves and protect us all.

— This commentary was broadcast on WAMC Northeast Report, March 8, 2016.


March 2, 2016

In The Death of Dontay Ivy and “Walking While Black”, posted on March 1, I incorrectly said the officers approached Dontay Ivy on a set of steps. In fact the District Attorney’s letter to Mayor Sheehan said the officers who later stopped Ivy, began their shift by approaching an unidentified man sitting on a set of front steps. The incident is relevant in describing the behavior of the officers but not in describing Dontay’s experiences on his last night alive. Thank you to Mark Mishler for spotting my mistake.

Juan Cole on Donald Trump

February 24, 2016

I think Juan Cole takes the measure of Donald Trump’s supporters and recommend his latest post. Beyond all the ridicule properly aimed at Trump, Cole focuses on the cause for concern stemming from Trump’s supporters.


Milestones Update, February 8, 2016:

February 8, 2016

Unfit for Democracy is now available in book stores, online and on Kindle.


Rescheduled for Friday, February 12, 2016, interview by Susan Arbetter for broadcast at a later date on WCNY’s Capitol Bureau

Added: Thursday, February 25, 2016, at 3:30, talk at the University at Albany, location to be announced


Thursday, February 11, 2016, at 1 p.m. on WAMC, broadcast on “In Conversation with …” of the interview by Alan Chartock, CEO of WAMC, before a live audience at Albany Law School, on Jan. 26, 2016

Rescheduled for Friday, February 12, 2016, interview by Susan Arbetter for broadcast at a later date on WCNY’s Capitol Bureau

Thursday, February 25, 2016, at 3:30, talk at the University at Albany, location to be announced

Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, 2016 at “The Schmooze,” a meeting at the University of Maryland School of Law, on Constitutionalism and Democracy

Wed., March 23, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at the Humanities Institute for Lifelong Learning, at the Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Avenue, Delmar, N.Y. This is listed as members only but may open up later.

March 24, 2016 at 7 p.m., book party at the Book House at Stuyvesant Plaza, open to the public

March 29, 2016, address at the Annual Meeting of the Westchester Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union

Tuesday, May 17, at noon, Book Talk, Albany Public Library, open to the public

Tuesday and Wednesday, May 24-25, 2016, at the Demos Convening at the University of Pennsylvania


Joe Donahue’s interview of me on the WAMC Roundtable, Jan. 25, 2016 at 11:10 a.m., is currently available as a podcast.

PLEASE get in touch with me if you are interested in arranging an event.

All good wishes,




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 368 other followers

%d bloggers like this: