John Paul Stevens: justice and Jedi Master

(CNN)Justice John Paul Stevens was remarkable in so many ways that even his death at the age of 99 comes as a surprise. He had published only two months earlier his biography, teasingly titled “The Making of a Justice: My First 94 Years.” And for those of us who practiced before the Supreme Court, it did seem like he might well live forever. After all, he was still swimming in the ocean every day and regularly playing tennis and golf well into his nineties. He was a stalwart Cubs fan who attended the World Series game at Wrigley field when Babe Ruth famously called his own home run. He proudly hung in his chambers a scorecard from that game. And …

William Barr’s decision in Eric Garner’s case is a disgrace

(CNN)The Justice Department announced on Tuesday that it would not be pursuing federal charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer accused of fatally choking Eric Garner, who was approached by police for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. The decision was apparently made by Attorney General William Barr himself, after the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division favored an indictment while a competing faction in the New York office felt otherwise. Communities throughout the country continue to see black men brutalized at the hands of police — without consequence or recourse. This does nothing but further the racial divide and lead to ongoing mistrust between communities and law enforcement. The Justice Department’s decision makes this divide even deeper. No federal charges for NYPD officer …

I don’t wear high heels for anyone but me. Got that, boss?

(CNN)Nearly 20,000 people in Japan have signed a petition calling for an end to work dress codes which make wearing heels mandatory for women. The campaign is just one of several worldwide efforts over the last several years to undo arcane rules which require women to work in shoes which are uncomfortable, impede their performance at work, and can even be dangerous. A Japanese government minister went so far as to say Wednesday that heels are “occupationally necessary and appropriate.” In fairness, he appears to be doing a sub-par job without them. I have mixed feelings about heels at work. A decent metal spike under your feet can feel powerful, almost warrior-like. As a relatively short person (I’m 5 feet, …

Facebook handled Alex Jones just right

(CNN)Over the weekend, President Donald Trump unleashed a Twitter storm against Facebook for banishing seven high-profile figures from its platform, including conservative conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, right wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has frequently made anti-Semitic statements. We’ve already seen an example of the disastrous outcomes that can result from Facebook choosing not to stand up to unjustified allegations. As Jill Abramson explains in her new book “Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts,” when in the spring of 2016 it was revealed that Facebook used human editors to identify and summarize trending stories, the company was falsely accused of bias against conservatives. It responded by eliminating the …

Harris and Buttigieg showed why they could take on Trump

(CNN)Last night’s marathon series of CNN town halls offered five hours of conversation with five leaders vying for the Democratic presidential nomination — each intensely interesting, newsworthy, and rich with policy and personal detail. His town hall was an opportunity to add policy depth to his ideas, and to reassure voters he isn’t a flash in the pan. But what was clear in Harris and Buttigieg’s appearances, and the three others preceding them Monday night, is that everyone’s goal is to stand out as the most different and compelling alternative to Donald Trump. Both Harris and Buttigieg have strong claims to the title. Harris is the candidate who most aligns with the base of the Democratic Party and its most …