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December 01, 1989 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

OPINION

CONTENTS

Case For The Court:
A Jewish Justice

DR. HAROLD M. JACOBS

T

hrough most of the
20th century, from the
appointment of Louis
Brandeis to the Supreme
Court bench by President
Woodrow Wilson in 1916 un-
til the resignation of Justice
Abe Fortas in 1968, there had
always been at least one
Jewish member on the
highest court in the land. In-
deed, for some of those years,
two of the nine members of
the court had been Jewish —
Benjamin Cardozo and Louis
Brandeis served together
from 1932 until 1938.
A tradition of a "Jewish
seat" existed from Brandeis
and Cordozo to Felix
ankfurter, Arthur Goldberg
and Abe Fortas, giving the
Jewish community the feel-
ing of recognition by

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mainstream America as one
of the three major faiths on
the American scene with Pro-
testantism and Catholicism.
As Jews became. more ac-
cultured to American life,
Jewish representation was
symbolic of their acceptance.
The rise in the importance
of the Supreme Court as an
institution involved in the
daily lives of most Americans,
acting as a protective screen
for the powerless in society
and against government en-
croachment on the wall
separating church and state
influenced Jewish attitudes.
Likewise, many Jews
respected the courts' role as
final interpreter of the law as
being consistant with Jewish
tradition where the rabbinic
scholars of the law are the
authorities in halachic
matters.
For Jews and other
American minority groups,
the Supreme Court of the
United States has served as a

Dr. Jacobs is the President of
the National ouncil of
Young Israel.

bulwark against a "tyranny
of the majority" developing.
The founding fathers of our
constitutional system feared
that transient democratic ma-
jorities could enact legislation
harmful to political or ethnic
minorities. Those who attend-
ed the Constitutional Con-
vention in Philadelphia in
1787 designed a Federal
government with three
separate institutions sharing
power. Neither President nor
Congress was given enough
power to totally dominate the
other, with a 200-year tug of
war between the two the
result.
With the establishment of
judicial review as a guiding
principle of American govern-
ment, the Supreme Court
became the final arbitor of
the constitution. Having the
power to declare legislation or
executive decisions as un-
constitutional makes the
court the stronghold against
the development of a tyranny
of the majority.
In the 20th century, it has
been the Supreme Court
which has taken the lead in
preserving and even expan-
ding the rights of minority
groups. Through such land-
mark cases as Brown versus
Ibpeka Board of Education
which outlawed school
desegregation or Baker ver-
sus Carr which strengthened
the one-man one-vote tradi-
tion of U.S. democracy, the
Supreme Court has
demonstrated its ability to
check abuses of core
democratic principles and to
insure equal protection under
the law for all Americans —
black and white, Jew and
gentile.
For almost 20 years there
has been no Jewish represen-
tation on the Supreme Court.
The Jewish community
boasts of many legal scholars
and judges who are eminant-
ly qualified for an appoint-
ment to the highest court in
the land. Since the role of the
judicial branch of our govern-
ment is so important to Jews
and other minorities and the
important symbolism of the
"Jewish seat" on the court,
we urge that President Bush
act to restore the tradition of
a Jewish Supreme Court
justice.
The different religious and
ethnic groups that form the
American mosaic should look
to the court as a body
representing the great diver-
sity that is the United
States. ❑

CLOSE-UP

30

Secret
Identities

MICHAEL WEISS
The real-life faces behind
the comic book superheroes.

ISRAEL

48

Ethiopian Jews
And Ethnocentrism

ARLENE KUSHNER
The Beta Yisrael's customs
differ, but they are still Jews.

SPORTS

61

Just Plain Barry

30

RICHARD PEARL
The JCC's veteran basketball
coach is a very popular guy.

ENTERTAINMENT

Shooting Reality

A former Detroiter has taken
Hollywood's stars to film.

PEOPLE

Love Letters

HOPE EDELMAN
A much-needed outlet
is provided through the mail.

LIFESTYLES

Community Leader

61

102

CAfILA JEAN SCHWARTZ
Barbara Stollman has yet
to learn how to say 'No!'

TRENDS

Why Jews Intermarry

111

RUTH MASON
A study finds social contacts
have the greatest influence.

DEPARTMENTS

36
53
54
66
68

Inside Washington
Community
Synagogues
Education
Fine Arts

104
106
108
118
146

Engagements
Births
Single Life
Classified Ads
Obituaries

CANDLELIGHTING

102

Friday, December 1, 1989 4:43 p.m.
Sabbath ends Dec. 2 5:48 p.m.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

7

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