Why Courts Matter: You Be The Judge report

By Nancy Cohen

60 League and National Council of Jewish Women members and friends formed six judicial panels and deliberated a timely reproductive rights case in this interactive workshop held on October 17 at the Delray Beach City Library.

Dr. Linda Geller-Schwartz


Dr. Linda Geller-Schwartz, Florida Advocacy Chair for the National Council of Jewish Women, introduced the case Standridge, et al. v. Union Pacific, and gave us background into reproductive rights cases.   Marci Ball Elordi, J.D. explained the Federal Court system, and gave us the law.

Pictured left: are presenters Dr. Linda Geller-Schwartz and Marci Ball Elordi, J.D.  


The panels deliberated.   Panel decisions were mixed but mostly were similar to the District Court decision in the actual case.  The case was later reversed on appeal by the Eighth Circuit Court.The exercise was a thought-provoking one on the workings of the courts and the importance of judges and their decisions.


Panel discussionPictured right: members of one group discuss the case presented.

Dr. Geller-Schwartz stressed the importance of maintaining a diverse judiciary of judges who reflect real world experience.  For that reason, the public needs to be concerned about new judicial appointments and weigh-in when the nominees to not meet those criteria.  She also cautioned that the practice of Senatorial consent in the nomination of judges (‘Blue slips’) is threatened.  Blue slips are an important check on Executive power.

She noted Florida currently has an atypical case of bipartisan action: Senators Nelson and Rubio have recommended confirmation of a number of jurists proposed under the Obama administration.

Linda also issued a call to action, giving us many ways  to “together make a difference.”


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