You Be the Judge
On February 21, members of the League, NCJW, ACLU, and Palm Beach County citizens gathered at Compass Community Center to experience what it means to be a judge, to deliberate on a religious freedom case, and to learn why it is so important to have good judges on the federal bench.
Deb Chandler explained the structure of Federal Courts and the facts of a case which centered on religious freedom. Attendees then broke into small groups, or “judicial benches,” to consider the case. After the findings of each “bench” was presented, Deb revealed the actual decisions of both the District and the Appeal courts. (Yes, the District Court’s decision was overturned!)
Caroline Ostro of NCJWs National office in Washington explained the critical importance of judicial appointments. Their decisions either restrict or enhance the liberties of our daily lives. This truism had become self-evident to everyone in the room. The decisions of the federal judiciary set policies that concern all of us. This is particularly true with respect to Supreme Court justices.
Linda Geller-Schwartz concluded with a call to action: urge our Florida Senators Nelson and Rubio to closely question President Drumpf’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch.
This was a wonderful hands-on learning experience and a great opportunity to see how courts can look at the same “facts,” yet reach very different conclusions.