Letters to the Editor: July 18, 2018

Predicting Supreme Court Justices 

I respectfully dissent from Robert Cohn’s “historical perspective” that “Predicting new Supreme Court justice’s rulings is uncertain art,” in the July 4 edition. We now know that Brett Kavanaugh is Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Anthony Kennedy, and he was clearly the front runner on a list created by the right wing Federalist Society.  His judicial and ideological views are well known, and there is no question that he will firmly align himself with the other Republican appointees to create a reliable and durable majority on the Supreme Court, perhaps for decades to come. 

As a student of the Supreme Court for over 50 years, and a lawyer for over 40, I acknowledge that the Justices Cohn discusses—Earl Warren, Felix Frankfurter, Hugo Black and Harry Blackmun—adopted judicial philosophies different from what might have been expected when they were chosen. Many other historical examples could have been included — William Brennan, Byron White and David Souter, to name but a few. But all of them were nominated and confirmed more than 30 years ago. 

Times have changed since then. Today the selection of Supreme Court nominees has become as intensely partisan, polarized and predictable. Prospective nominees are minutely scrutinized and vetted in advance to ensure their faithful devotion to political goals and ideology. Beginning with Clarence Thomas in 1991, no justice has failed to adhere closely to the political philosophy of the President who made the nomination.  

The Rep - advertisement

There is no doubt that Kavanaugh will be confirmed, will join the Court this fall, and will thereafter join his ideological brethren on the right as intended. One may think that good or bad, but the prediction can be made with a high degree of confidence.  

Alan B. Hoffman, Kirkwood

Poland’s Holocaust law is unacceptable

The Board of Directors of the Association of Holocaust Organizations has called upon the government of Poland to revoke its controversial law regarding Holocaust research and stated that amending the law to remove criminal prosecution while leaving open the possibility of civil procedures is not sufficient. The law continues to place the burden of proof on Holocaust survivors, scholars and educators. 

This is not an acceptable solution and any attempt to inhibit historical research or threaten open expression on the Holocaust in Poland must be rejected. Therefore the Board shares the concerns raised by institutions such as Yad Vashem, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, as well as experts such as Professor Yehuda Bauer who have all pointed out that historical facts cannot be legislated. 

The AHO Board also urges Poland’s government to take immediate steps to counter the anti-Semitism that has erupted in the wake of the controversy surrounding the law. The Association of Holocaust Organizations is an international network of over 370 organizations and individuals working for the advancement of Holocaust education, remembrance and research.

Jean Cavender, Director of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center; A Member of the Association of Holocaust Organizations 

Protest to Light’s front page ‘Nominee Protest’ 

The front page of the Light’s July 11 edition supports the position of the Democratic Party by devoting 40 percent of that page to the National Council of Jewish Women’s condemnation of President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. The NCJW does not speak for, or represent the views of all Jewish women.    

No mention of the nominee’s positions or previous decisions are discussed, rather the Light sticks to the Democrat Party’s talking points, going so far as listing many of the advocacy groups that detest Trump and his nominees. 

Many Jews share liberal views on issues.  Guess what, many Jews take a centrist or conservative view of candidates, issues and political stances. Both positions on the political spectrum have merit, and both groups support the Jewish Light. If the Light wants to proselytize a political view, the vehicle for doing that is your editorial and not the front page.   

It is a shame that the mission of the Light has shifted from issues impacting Jewish life to ones supported by the Democrat Party. The Light and the NCJW are advocacy groups, plain and simple, they do not represent a monolithic position of American Jewry.  

Stu Katz, Chesterfield