My message to the Justices is simple: You can do better to end gender oppression, as well as voter suppression, and you can do the right thing NOW! No more gaslighting as Linda Greenfield of The NY Times noted!
Guess what, even though I have not practiced law since 1996 (or thereabouts), some of our paths have crossed, and most definitely, there has been (interactions) between me, or via some of your justices and some of my former professors at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.
A timeline that highlights our mutual) connections (Justice wise)!
1982: I, Rhonda Liebman, graduate from Northwestern College of Law (“Northwestern”) 1982; I passed the bar in the fall of 1982
1982: I marry a guy named Stern who graduated Order of the Coif at ; he gets a prime job at an internationally respected law firm!
1982-1987: I practice law at the law firm of Rosenthal and Schanfield to pay off my law school loans; my daughter is born in 1986; I leave the firm in 1987, because although the law firm was incredibly generous in terms of my leave–and the firm was comprised of TERRIFIC and thoughtful and kind people–I decide to quit and be a full-time mom for a few months.
Fall, 1988: I am hired by Chicago Kent College of Law as an adjunct professor of mediation. I hold that job as a young mom through 1996 (now I have two kids; my son was born in 1989!).
1991: Anita Hill raises Justice Clarence Thomas; (back then, I was teaching at Chicago Kent College of Law); my law students are OUTRAGED.
2000: I am hired by NSSD 112 as a gifted resource teacher. I start teaching about the climate crisis–students recognize that they need a platform on that subject, and the Highland Park Community wants to give students a platform (thanks to now HP Mayor Nancy Rotering). Many of my K-12 highly gifted students learn that in a former life, I was a litigator, and are interested in the law; I craft a SCOTUS class (taught to fifth grade gifted students started around 2001). Introducing students to Tinker v. Des Moines, I aim was to teach students that they don’t relinquish their First Amendment rights at the “schoolhouse” door!
2012: I begin making significant donations to Northwestern’s Center for Wrongful Convictions. My former NSSD 112 has learned about the case of a Serbian man who was wrongfully convicted (Nevada). The late Jane Raley (well known in the Midwest) takes the case. Jane’s husband was a former U.S. attorney in Chicago. Both of their children were former students!
2011-4 or 2015: I begin working as a CASA in IL. Our job is to work with families, as an arm of the juvenile court, to make sure kids are safe. Two of the kids (actually the only two on my caseload since Casa’s aim is to develop a longterm relationship with CASA kids and adoptive families) were abused; I had to call the IL hotline for abuse and after pushback from folks at DCFS, the local police intervene and the kids are removed from a scary household.
2013: In January of that year, I begin a doctoral program at DePaul University. DePaul is a Vincentian University and truly lives up to the Vincentian religious aims. In my fifties, I participate in my first, fully integrated class, and it is beyond enlightening. Nearly half of my cohort is comprised of persons of color, including a black playwright and a Chicago educator who grew up in the projects (also an administrator at Harper High who was around when Michelle Obama visited.. You can take a look at some of my most recent blogs to read about the outrageous behavior my classmates encountered at the mercy of less than human white folks.
2013: Shelby v. Holder was decided; see, 570 U.S. 529 (2013). More on that in the second part of this blog.
2015: Northwestern invites alum to meet Justice Elena Kagan. I am in seated in the first row because of my generosity to the CWC at Northwestern’s College of Law. My friend and I are invited to wine and cheese celebration (after Justice Kagan was interviewed by then Dean Daniel Rogriguez. My friend and I get a chance to talk to Justice Kagan; she might not remember, but it had a huge impact on us! See, https://wwws.law.northwestern.edu/about/news/newsdisplay.cfm?ID=689
Fall 2018: The Kavanaugh deliberation. See, https://stream.org/for-the-left-the-kavanaugh-brouhaha-is-not-about-kavanaugh/
November 2018: A message from Justice Steven’s on Justice Kavanaugh’s “unfitness” for the Court. See, https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/04/politics/supreme-court-justice-john-paul-stevens-kavanaugh/index.html
2019: I become Rhonda Stern, PhD! Very critical to my work with K-9 kids.
June, 2020: Sara Sommervold, an exceptional attorney at the CWC, obtains parole for the wrongfully convicted inmate (Nevada is one tough t state when it comes to exoneration) sponsored by myself, my former supervisor at NSSD 112, and the late, great Jane Raley.
Circa July 2020: ICE puts a hold on the (Nevada) exoneree’s release; over the summer, he is moved to an ICE detention facility. I don’t even think the person running ICE back then was confirmed by the Senate, but you know, a lot things slipped past the former, disgraced president.
Fall 2020: I teach a class on SCOTUS at a school supported by the Chicago Gifted Community Center. Of course, we read Tinker. But– on the eve of the esteemed Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death–I decide that we need to read Shelby v. Holder as well! Some amazing gaslighting in this decision, too!
Fall 2021: ICE deports the exoneree in spite of the efforts of immigration counsel and the Serbian Church. Fortunately, the exoneree later gets deported to a Serbian enclave in Bosnia. Unfortunately, the exoneree does not get to see his mother who is ill with cancer or the rest of his family. But, if you are interested, I can send a video of him singing now that he is truly free in Bosnia. Credit Sara Sommervold’s persistence (Sara works at Northwestern; she is a law professor in the Bluhm Legal Clinic)
Now, if it may please the Court (second half of Stern blog), I, Rhonda Stern, PhD and JD, have a few questions for the originalists on the Court:
To Justice Amy Coney Barrett? Have you ever worked as a CASA? Ever seen any evidence about the work CASA does? I will ask CASA administrators if I can send you a picture (that I was allowed to keep) because one is unable to recognize the ABUSED elementary and preschool kids. That picture sits on my desk. If you come to Chicago, I bet I can get permission to share?
And I would be happy to reread the First Amendment to you as well (not the whole thing; just the part that deals with separation between Church and State), and if you have time, I can introduce you to some Con Law profs.
Final issue: do you plan to honor the legacy of RBG (remember you took her place on the Court)? See, for example, the makeup of the Court just before our disgraced former president nominated you: https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/09/politics/supreme-court-justice-minorities-trnd/index.html
Just saying: kind of filled with aging white men (no science experiment here; just the observation of an aging white woman, moi!).
To Justice Brett Kavanaugh: I really don’t have a question; I just want to remind you that the late, great Justice Stevens (also an alum at Northwestern) recommended that you not be approved, but he was less than convincing in his 90s. Oh, well! And in my humble opinion, Justice K, methinks you should read the article I recommended to Justice ACB!
On a final note, I believe Dr. Ford (and even some Republicans still do!)
To Justice Roberts, our esteemed Chief Justice: You really CAN do better on the abortion issue; for starters, reread RBG’s dissent in Shelby. RBG makes a lot of terrific points, many of which are based on EVIDENCE to counter the majority opinion composed by you in Shelby v. Holder! OUCH! All I can say is glad I read both the dissent and majority opinions in Shelby. One more thing, I am kind of fond of Eric Holder!
Below is a snippet of what Justice Roberts had to say about the need to support persons of color and their voting rights:
There is no denying, however, that the conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions. By 2009, “the racial gap in voter registration and turnout [was] lower in the States originally covered by §5 than it [was] nationwide.” Northwest Austin Municipal Util. Dist. No. One v. Holder, 557 U. S. 193 –204 (2009). Since that time, Census Bureau data indicate that African-American voter turnout has come to exceed white voter turnout in five of the six States originally covered by §5, with a gap in the sixth State of less than one half of one percent. See Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau, Re-ported Voting and Registration, by Sex, Race and His-panic Origin, for States (Nov. 2012) (Table 4b).
To Justice Neil Gorsuch: I am sort of flummoxed on how you will vote. I am very impressed by your opinions supporting indigenous people, but I got kind of concerned when I read the article below: https://apnews.com/article/abortion-us-supreme-court-health-voting-rights-john-roberts-32d2ff1e016c8f72012c49a4ed2bf2e1. Overall, I suspect you will do the right “procedural” thing, and I am grateful for that!
To Justice Breyer: Great work educating my SCOTUS class on the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education! They watched the entire clip for homework; that class was a cross-grade class of gifted students, grades 3-10. Thanks for supporting inquiry for the next generation.
So grateful for all that you have done!!
To Justice Kagan: It was so much fun to chat with you about legal career options for students at secondary schools at the Wigmore celebration, circa 2015, 2016! And it was fun to learn about your hunting experiences (as you chatted with Dean Rodriguez) with Justice Scalia. And in terms of this week’s oral argument, I thought you rocked it, too! See, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/mississippi-abortion-case-supreme-court/2021/12/01/367004a6-52b4-11ec-9267-17ae3bde2f26_story.html
To Justice Sotomayor: thank you for cutting to the bone on the real issue in terms of the politicized Roberts’ Court: see, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/sotomayor-suggests-supreme-court-won-t-survive-stench-overturning-roe-n1285166
To Justice Alito: End your political hack job or surrender your robe!
To Justice Thomas: Methinks you should read about a few noted individuals who are disgraceful and have exhibit behaviors similar to yours! (and I believe Anita)–take a look at articles about Harvey Weinstein, Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton (some aging white males hate to miss having a good time, kinda like you!). Maybe it’s time for you to turn in your robe as well! Just some advice from a school teacher!
Sorry for the length of this blog! That’s why I organized it by Justices (take a look at the ones who deserve a reckoning).
One thing I know for sure: kids are watching the Supreme Court. So are suburban woman, and those impacted most by the Mississippi law– do any of you know impoverished folks? Might be a good time to engage!
Wishing you joyous deliberations—N. B.: gaslighting may kill folks, too!)
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