Stephen Gottlieb

Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Stephen Gottlieb: Dr. King’s Message Of Love

Yesterday we celebrated Martin Luther King Day. We are still much too far from a post-racial society. For the big victories of the Civil Rights Movement, we think of Brown v. Board, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which the Rehnquist Court did its best to chip away, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which the Roberts Court is doing its best to tear up. There was another victory that I’d like to talk about, just a few years after Martin Luther King shared his dream at the Lincoln Memorial.

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Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Stephen Gottlieb: Reactions To The Charlie Hebdo Shootings – Was It Just About France?

In what other country do world leaders march with arms linked against terrorism? Terrorism goes on in every continent but we mourn and gather in Europe. Terrorism happens in Haifa, Jerusalem and the West Bank – in both directions – but we mourn and gather in Europe. Do we stand for a principle or is France the principle – that France cannot be touched? Or that France is in danger? But other places are in danger. For all my criticisms of Israeli reactions, they are in considerable danger as the Palestinians have been able to use Israeli reactions to the devastation caused by their own terrorism to unite much of the world against Israel. Or is there good and bad terrorism? Were the Communists right, that’s it’s all about whose terrorists are freedom fighters?

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Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Stephen Gottlieb: Police Accountability

I’ve been reading a case decided in the European Court of Human Rights. It involved opposing libel suits arising out of claims of police brutality in Bergen, Norway.[1] The opinion of four judges, whose names I will not try to pronounce, struck me. The judges pointed out that the purpose of the libel suits brought by the police officers “was to suppress the debate on this issue....” But they pointed out that the government has “a monopoly over force” and that monopoly “also entails the danger of force being abused to the detriment of the very values it is meant to uphold.” Therefore “abuse of force by officials is not just one of many issues of broad general interest.” Instead, “it is ... a matter of primary concern in any society.” Keeping authorities in check is particularly important for a democracy. And the ability to hold the states’ use of force in check requires protecting those who raise the alarm.

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Commentary & Opinion
3:50 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Stephen Gottlieb: Yipes – Taxes For The New Year??? !!!

Some years ago I called Phil Shrag whom I knew from law school. He’d run the National Organization for the Rights of the Indigent for the NAACP and worked for the New York City Commissioner of Consumer Affairs. Phil was and is a very public spirited person. At the time he was teaching at Columbia. I don’t remember what I called him about but at some point in the conversation we made small talk. I asked him what he was teaching. Tax. That was a surprising answer since none of the things Phil had done suggested significant involvement with the tax code. But he pointed out that every public policy runs through the tax code. So it made a lot of sense.

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Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Stephen Gottlieb: Enhanced Interrogation

We've been hearing people talk about “enhanced interrogation” for quite a while. Then the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the CIA’s use of torture was released this week. And we got another dose of “enhanced interrogation.” We’ve been hearing it so much one stops noticing. That's the technique of the big lie – say it often enough and people accept it.

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Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Stephen Gottlieb: Killing Garner

Are we safer with or without the police around? When juries, grand juries and prosecutors regularly decide that plain, on camera, evidence doesn’t show murder, what protects people?

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Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Stephen Gottlieb: Libertarians On And Off The Court

Most Supreme Court justices are libertarians in some sense. But what kind and for whom varies widely.

We all believe we have rights to decide lots of things for ourselves. But what are the limits? The more “conservative” the justices and others are, the closer to the Tea Party, the only limits they recognize are force and fraud. Various conservative philosophers have been very plain about that. Regulations, almost all regulations, interfere with that freedom of action. 

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Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Stephen Gottlieb: Schwerner, Chaney, Goodman and the Voting Rights Act

Yesterday, President Obama posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, a Black Mississippian and two white New Yorkers, murdered fifty years ago, working to register Blacks to vote in Mississippi. They were among many who lost their lives in that struggle.

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Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Stephen Gottlieb: War On What - Crime Or The Poor?

Many of us realize that sending troops abroad can be counter-productive. Our boots on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan led many to take up arms against us. To them, we were the invaders.

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Commentary & Opinion
3:51 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Stephen Gottlieb: I Don’t Get It

I don’t get it. Political scientists tell us that the advantage of democracy is that the elected officials have to act for the benefit of most of the people. And if they don’t, they lose.

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