Get Involved! Speak Up for (a) Justice
As you probably know (especially if you've been keeping up with Court Day on the RACblog!), Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced a few weeks ago that he'd be retiring from the court at the end of the term. For activists and advocates, this has meant a scramble to guess who President Obama will nominate and how we'll feel about the nominee.
Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the RAC, has an op-ed published in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency this week titled "Speak Up for (a) Justice." In it, he encourages the American Jewish community to become involved in the judicial nominations process, emphasizing how much the Supreme Court's decisions affect all the other issues that matter most to us as Jews.
With the exception of the advocacy of the Union for Reform Judaism and the National Council of Jewish Women, the debate about who will be chosen to fill the impending vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court -- a decision that will have tremendous implications -- is largely taking place without the American Jewish community.
Although virtually every one of the issues on our agenda is impacted by the federal courts, the Jewish community is largely silent in debates over judicial nominees.
Jessie Weiser, the RAC's Program Associate for Judicial Nominations, is hard at work coordinating the Reform Movement's involvement in the judicial nominations process. Here's a taste of what we've done so far:
- Last fall, the Reform Movement began dissemination of Rights in Peril: Why the American Jewish Community and Others Cannot Afford to Sit Out the Debate Over Judicial Nominations, a publication that issues a call to action for the Jewish and national religious communities to join us in creating formal processes for considering whether to oppose and support judicial nominees.
- In February, Rabbi Saperstein published "Our Rights in Peril: The Future of the Courts" on Huffington Post, which first called attention to the Jewish community's lack of involvement in judicial nominations.
- The Reform Movement has come out in strong support of Dawn Johnsen, President Obama's nominee for Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. Johnsen has yet to be confirmed; you can show your report by sending in this quick, pre-written letter to your Senators.
Stay tuned to RACblog for more information on the Reform Movement's involvement in the judicial nominations process, especially as the discussion surrounding Justice Souter's soon-to-be-empty seat on the bench heats up.