Category Archives: Constitutional issues

Khadr apology and settlement about violation of Charter rights, Trudeau says

Prologue 2014:

(Those who need a “reset” in terms of the issues in the “Alliance For The Defence of Canadian Sovereignty Lawsuit” should watch the complete video here.)

Canada in 2017:

The article referenced in the above tweet includes:

On Friday, the government confirmed a payment had been made to Khadr to settle a longstanding lawsuit. Khadr’s suit claimed Canada had violated his rights and was complicit with the United States when he was detained at the U.S. base in Cuba, denied access to a lawyer and tortured.

The Supreme Court of Canada in 2010 ruled Khadr’s rights had been violated.

The apology sparked fresh public debate about Khadr, but Trudeau says the settlement is not about the details of Khadr’s case but the fact his rights were violated.

Trudeau says the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects all Canadians, “even when it is uncomfortable.”

When the government violates any Canadian’s Charter rights, we all end up paying for it,” he said.

Trudeau says the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects all Canadians, “even when it is uncomfortable”

Pierre Trudeau would have believed that the Charter of Rights of protects all Canadians. Justin Trudeau doesn’t believe that. In theory constitutional (including Charter rights) are great things. In practice “rights” often make people feel uncomfortable.

The examples of Canadians with a “U.S. taint” and Mr. Khadr make people uncomfortable. That is perhaps why both really are “Charter of Rights” cases!

(Of course the Supreme Court of Canada has not (unlike in the case of Mr. Khadr) YET ruled that the rights of Canadians with a “U.S. taint” have been violated. Perhaps, that is the real difference.)

The treatment of expatriates by the Government of the United States often defies explanation – or does it?

The above tweet references a comment at the Isaac Brock Society which needs to be commemorated as a post.

The treatment of expatriates by the Government of the United States often defies explanation. It is burdensome, often frightening and usually threatening. It is also marked by confusion and lack of comprehension. In short, the attitude of some Americans toward the plight of expatriates is mystification, outright antipathy, or shoulder-shrugging “so what”–or all three. I am going to suggest that these things may be best understood by seeing it as analogous, at least, to behaviour which may be described as “religious.”

The U.S. effectively has what may be termed a “state religion.” Conor Cruise O’Brien calls it the “American Civil Religion” (following Rousseau). Its core is “Patriotism.” It has a deity (originally represented by “Lady Liberty”, but in more recent years by The Flag), tenets, rules and forms of worship. Its proponents behave very much like religious persons generally.

When I was a child of five, I began each school day with a little “religious” ritual. We would sing “America”, recite the Lord’s Prayer (King James’ version) and, of course, pledge allegiance to the Flag. Indeed, during my childhood years, the words of the pledge were altered to include the now controversial “under God”. This was a simple form of worship for a more simple time. Other simple forms included Memorial Day ceremonies at local town and village squares, local Independence Day celebrations and even boy and girl scout meetings. In time, however worship would encompass thousands of people in sports stadiums, enormous flags that would require troops of people to carry, celebrity singers of “America the Beautiful” and “To Anachreon in Heaven..”, oh sorry, “The Star Spangled Banner” (same tune), and military fly-overs.

This isn’t worship? Well, it’s a pretty good imitation. 50 or 60 thousand people with their hands over their hearts looks a lot like religious ritual–or would to an uninformed observer who didn’t know exactly what they was going on.

And of course there are the “saints”. “Land of the Pilgrims’ pride” celebrates the first real Americans, the first American “saints” (and indeed, the Pilgrims termed themselves “saints” in the traditional religious sense). Never considering, of course, that some descendants of these very “saints” would be driven out of their homes because they remained loyal to the Crown between 1775 and 1783.

But for sure there is “Saint Washington” (so sublime a saint that his monument has no graven image), “Saint Jefferson”, “The Sainted Father Abraham”, and so forth. All properly worshipped, each with his sacred shrine in Washington.

And there are the hymns. “America,” “America the Beautiful,” “Columbia Gem of the Ocean” …a particular 1991 recording of American patriotic hymns has a total of eighteen (but three would likely have to be discounted, because they are Confederate hymns). Even this collection does not include things like “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Over There..” I’ve been a Canadian for fifty years and, besides the national anthem, I can only think of two patriotic songs, “The Maple Leaf Forever,” and “Mon Pais…” (a third might be Stompin Tom Connors’ “The Hockey Song.”)

You need these hymns for the same reason you need the rituals, to keep people “in” the faith. The greater the emotional involvement, the more encompassing the faith.

And, of course, there are tenets of this religion. “The U.S. is the very cradle of freedom. “ ”The U.S. observes and upholds the rule of law.” “The U.S. is the exemplar of democracy.” And so forth. But above all, Patriotism holds that the United States is the greatest country that has ever existed. Ever. Sing it: “This is My Country, grandest on earth.”

Mystification.

And, having drunk this kool-aid from childhood, the average American cannot imagine why any person would not want to be an American. As proof of that particular pudding, there are the thousands upon thousands of “illegals” who would want nothing so much as the green card that will start them on the road to full U.S. citizenship, the most wonderful status available to any human being on the face of the earth. (And in addition, there are thousands more would-be illegals marshalling on the southern border of the United States).

All other citizenships pale by comparison. All are inferior to the glorious American nationality.

So why, in the name of all that is “holy”, would anyone ever consider giving up American nationality. This is what produces a reaction of “mystification” on the part of many, probably most, Americans. The United States is “My Country, grandest on earth,” so giving up its citizenship is beyond comprehension.

Antipathy and Punishment.

But there is another “religious”response. All religions are familiar with what can be called “heresy” or “apostasy”. And fully expatriating, divesting oneself of U.S. citizenship, aside from being incomprehensible, is clearly “heretical” and “apostastic.” What is more, it is very threatening to the true believers, especially if perpetrated by persons who were given the “kool-aid” at an early age and had the opportunity to drink it into their adult years. They must be extremely misguided at the least, deranged at the extreme. Because, in practice, expatriates have done what no reasonable believer could possibly have done: denied the tenets of the faith, denied that the U.S. is the “grandest” country on earth. What is more, they have advanced the heresy that other countries may be much better places in which to live.

For heretics, no punishment can be too great, no pain too exquisite. The medieval and renaissance Christians punished heretics by burning them at the stake, an absolutely horrifying punishment, employed because it was believed that fire purifies..

But justified.

So, if expatriate Americans suffer, no problem. It’s a punishment fully justified by their heretical denials of the greatness of the United States, that inherent belief attested to at every football game in America by thousands who keep the faith and know the truth. If those who want to leave are forced to jump through hoops, again, no problem. Like those heretics who were purified by fire, the apostatic expatriate may be purified by delay. Then he or she will hopefully return to seeing the light. (As it was believed the purification by fire might, at last, “save” the heretic).

No. No punishment is too great in the defence of the faith.

Dialling down the burden–the shrug..

There is one more dimension on which the American state religion sheds light and it is this. Many religions, in varying degrees, demand “service” to the deity. In some instances that demand is so extreme that “service” becomes “servitude”, and it seems to me that the American state religion demands something approaching “servitude”.

“Service” involves a wide degree of “choice” and personal freedom and integrity, “servitude” is a situation in which the deity may demand much of the “server,” up to and including the surrender of life, without allowing much in the way of choice. The United States has always seemed to me to be on that end of the scale. Now I will admit to a personal bias here, since I have always resented the fact that the U.S. thought that I should be “pursuing happiness” in places like Nha Trang or Da Nang. I was not entitled to plan my life, had no choice as to whether or not I wanted to pursue my happiness in a land war in Southeast Asia. Servitude, pure and simple.

I was fortunate. I was able to avoid that awful mess. Legally. But it bespeaks a mentality. The United States is the greatest nation on earth. Citizenship in such a nation is so incredibly valuable that absolutely anything can be demanded of the citizen. Hence the nonsense: “Ask not what your country can do for you…”

For this mentality, the subjection of citizens to “internal” taxation when they do not live within the borders of the United States makes perfect sense. In effect, the prize of citizenship in the greatest country that has ever been has to be paid for. The United States is not required to actually do anything in return for tax monies collected–“Ask not what your country can do for you…”–as one political thinker would have required. Servitude in worship of the deity makes perfect sense to those who have drunk the kool-aid.

The United States is not the greatest country on earth in any particular other than obscene wealth and military muscle. It regularly scores relatively low on “pursuit of happiness” scales. For the living of ordinary life, the U.S. is inferior to any number of other countries on the planet.

When I was eighteen, I entered one of those countries (Canada) as a student. I very quickly realized that I was in a better place, a kinder, gentler, caring place. My fellow students were able to start planning their lives without having to think about giving up a minimum of two years to the great god (or goddess) of the state. By the time I had entered my second year of “university,” I knew where it was that I wanted to live and it was not the U.S.

I have been a Canadian in my mind ever since, and in reality for nearly 50 years. The United States is an alien government as far as I am concerned, and were it not a thug and a bully, it would actually observe the rule of law that it gives mere lip service to. One of the rules of that rule of law is that you do not get to create legislation which, (by any expedient pretext) allows you to reach across your territorial border and touch people and things in other countries. Instead the American thug visits upon me unlawful taxation requirements and the possibility of crippling penalties. And this is completely justified–in American eyes–because “servitude” requires that the “server” provide whatever is demanded.

Those Homeland Americans who have drunk deeply of the kool-aid will not care that this “servitude” is something they do not have to share. After all, not everyone was drafted. But the accepting of burdens, any burden at all regardless of whether or not it is shared, is a perfectly legitimate demand made by a state which is god.

Understanding of the clear wrongness of all of this is beyond those who worship at the shrines of Lady Liberty and The Flag. They don’t even recognize their military defeats, so how likely is it that they will admit to international wrongdoing.

Rather than being surprised by it, we should expect confusion and mystification when we want to leave. Rather than imagining that we will avoid it, we should expect punishment. Rather than hoping Americans will see how wrong they are, we should expect that they will shrug their shoulders and return to worshipping the Flag.

It’s their Faith. And faith, according to St. Augustine, is irrational. By definition.

Thoreau vs. Lincoln: Two great Americans with conflicting views of how one should respond to unjust laws

What follows is my comment (final thought to 2014) to the post referenced in the above tweet. I believe that it is becoming more and more relevant.

Continue reading

Looks like the Revolution of #Americansabroad is almost here!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmericanExpatriates/permalink/474144512751626

The comments are simply amazing. A revolution is clearly coming! It’s amazing to me that there are still people who see this as a partisan issue.

 

 

 

Cook v. Tait 24: The protection of political minorities in the political process

 

Introduction And Purpose:

This post is to “tie together” three comments/posts that discuss the problem of “political powerlessness” in the political process. This poses obvious problems in the area of “citizenship taxation”. It is important to note that what some refer to as “expatriate tax legislation” seems to always appear as a “revenue offset provision”. In other words, “Let’s put the cost on those whose votes don’t matter”. This point was made in one of the recent submissions to the Senate Finance Committee.

What should be the basis for the right to vote?

That said, maybe “Americans abroad” are lucky to be able to vote at all. There is NOTHING about citizenship per se (as the Canada experience suggests),  that guarantees a “right to vote” for those who live abroad. In fact a recent comment from  Lucy Stensland Laederich includes:

Both AARO and FAWCO have progress to their credit in terms of citizenship and election reforms – in each case, we followed the legislative path and worked with allies. It is true we do not have a history of “rocking the boat” but we do have one of sometimes major successes: when we inundated Washington with tea bags in the mid-Seventies (a campaign that started in AARO), we got the vote for overseas Americans!

The 1970s “Tea Bag” campaign is interesting. It should also give hope to those who think that change in Washington is impossible.

I strongly recommend reading the “AARO Account of how achieved in an increased capacity to vote“. It includes:

But opposition by the Justice Department continued, still led by Antonin Scalia, who had persuaded the Attorney General to oppose the President’s signature. The representative of the bipartisan committee, Gene Marans, decided to go over the head of the Justice Department. He asked Sen. Barry Goldwater to call the legal counsel of President Gerald Ford.

Senator Goldwater’s message to the White House was: “Listen you ___ fools! There are more Republicans in Paris than there are in Detroit! And Ford doesn’t want to be the first President to veto a voting rights bill since the Reconstruction.”

The bill was signed by the President on January 2, 1976. Direct political life had begun for Americans living overseas.

Note that Antonin Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States. He continues to serve on the court today. Note that he wrote a dissenting decision in the May 18, 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision described below. In other words, Justice Scalia appears to have opposed the rights of Americans abroad to vote, BUT upheld the right to Maryland to impose taxes on the “politically powerlessness”.

Part 1 – Discrete and Insular Minorities In The Political Process – Do Americans Abroad Have REAL Political Representation?

Continue reading

Are #Americansabroad “members” of Club USA or “owned” by Club USA?

U.S. citizens abroad are now entering the fifth year of what some have called “the U.S. citizenship nightmare”. Since 2011 thousands of blog posts, comments and tweets have: deliberated, sought comfort, agonized, theorized and suffered persecution at the hands of the U.S. government. This can be understood only by those affected. Homelanders cannot understand how those who moved from American have suffered and continue to suffer.

Americans abroad have (with justification) felt betrayed. At a minimum they have learned that U.S “citizenship” is like no other “citizenship”. Stay in the Homeland and will be fine (maybe). But, if you leave you will be subjected to a slow and painful death by a “thousand cuts”. Each cut inflicted by an incomprehensible law, threat or penalty from the U.S. government, the cross-border professionals or the media.

How could it a country treat its “citizens” this way? I suppose the answer depends on how the U.S. views its citizens. What is the relationship between the U.S. government and its citizens?

What follows are two lengthy comments at the Isaac Brock Society. They are from two unrelated posts.  Each in its own way explores the “nature of U.S. citizenship.

The first comment is directed towards the theoretical nature of U.S. citizenship. U.S. citizens claim they have “rights”. Is that the case? Can something be a “right” if it is granted by a Government? Can something be a “right” if it is limited by the government? This comment suggests that the rights of U.S. citizens are quite limited. They are less of a “right” and more of an “indulgence” from the U.S. Government.

The above tweet references the following comment at the Isaac Brock Society:

@George and @Mettleman

George: Your comment includes:

@Mettlemen, let me rephrase your last comment;

“after the meeting as a canadian citizen resident in canada, i was able to work to come to peace with my self and mine and mine alone decision to preform an act of civil disobience and not comply with an unjust foreign law of a foreign government.”

Interesting thought

In an essay he wrote about the Afroyim case, Professor Peter Spiro suggested that “rights” are contingent on “personhood” and NOT on “nationality”

“… in the wake of the human rights revolution, under which rights are contingent on personhood rather than nationality”

This distinction may have some applicability here.

There are at least two ways of looking at this.

1. Is this “non-compliance” a recognition that a U.S. law cannot apply to someone who is a Canadian citizen residing in Canada?

Under this interpretation, one is saying that he is a free person who is NOT the property of any country but agrees to obey the laws of the country where he is present. He is saying: Sorry but U.S. law ends a the U.S. border. This U.S. law simply cannot apply to me.

Under this scenario he is NOT saying:

“I will NOT comply with an unjust law.”

He is saying the law simply doesn’t apply to me because I am a Canadian citizen living in Canada.

Note that under this scenario, he (while accepting the requirement to obey the laws where he chooses to live) he is really saying:

“My rights come from my status as a being human” – my “personhood”. Because I am “human” I have rights that are NOT dependent on the permission of any Government. I believe in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights which recognizes that I have rights because I am a human being. I do NOT and am NOT dependent on the United States of America for my rights. U.S. governments will come and go, but “my personhood” is eternal. My tombstone will NOT say that my rights come from my nationality. My tombstone will say that I was a good person “Husband, father, friend ..”.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is worth reading:

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

The Preamble includes:

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

(Notice there is no reference to citizenship or nationality.)

Because I am a “person” and NOT “property” I recognize that U.S. law ends at the U.S. border.

2. Is this “non-compliance” based on an acceptance that U.S. law DOES apply to a Canadian citizen residing in Canada, but is a conscious decision to NOT comply with an “unjust law” – making the “non-compliance” an act of “civil disobedience?

In this case the “non-compliance” assumes that the U.S. law does apply to a Canadian citizen residing in Canada. This necessarily assumes an acceptance that he is NOT a free person but U.S. property. (This is the view of the Government of Canada. NEVER FORGET that the Government of Canada believes that, because you were born in the U.S., you are the property of the U.S., and that you have only the rights that the U.S. government allows. That’s what the FATCA IGA is about.)

In contrast to the model where one has rights by virtue of being human, this model assumes (perhaps unconsciously that one’s rights come NOT from being a “Human Being” but rather from citizenship in a country. In other words, as a U.S. citizen, I don’t get my rights because I am a “Human Being” I get my rights because I am a U.S. citizen. (Think of American T.V. – Have you ever heard:

“I’m a U.S. citizen, I have rights.”

Furthermore, since my rights are NOT based on my status as a “Human” but on my status as a “U.S. citizen” I fully gratefully and graciously accept that my rights can be limited by the United States regardless of where I may be and regardless of my status as a “Human”.

Since I recognize that my rights come from my U.S. citizenship, my “non-compliance “really IS an act of “civil disobedience”.

Conclusion

If you believe you are a “person” and that your rights come from your “personhood” there is no civil disobedience.

If you believe that your rights (or limitations) come from your status as a U.S. citizen, then you clearly are committing an act of “civil disobedience”.

So, as the Spiro observation implies, the question that people must ask is:

Am I a person who has rights because of my “personhood” or am I the property of a country where I don’t live and don’t choose to live?

The next tweet references a second comment at the Isaac Brock Society:

The second comment argues in a less theoretical but more practical way that U.S. citizenship is not like a club membership where you are free to leave. Through example, it implies that the relation of a a U.S. citizen to the U.S. Government is more like the relationship between a “master” and “servant”.

The comment, which addresses the question of whether U.S. citizenship is a “membership” or an incident of  “U.S. Government ownership” includes:

@Medea,
re;
“….but refuses to man up and give the citizenship up. If he [Boris] wants to continue to be American – which recently renewing his passport suggests he does – then he’ll have to do as thousands of others do and get his tax affairs in order – even if it bankrupts him as it has others. He’s not the only one who’s been through this and I suspect he could weather the cost much better than most…”…

Forgetting about this example being about Boris specifically.

Extrapolating:

Is the fair price of US citizenship – or any citizenship “…even if it bankrupts… as it has others…”? Should citizenship have a price, or a price so high that it “bankrupts”? Or is it a right conferred on us regardless of our assets and net worth? Rights by definition are something immutable that are not dependent on the ability to pay – or subject to market or other forces.

I and others were FORCED to get a US passport because of the US control of our travel – due to the changes in border crossing rules after 9/11 we had to obtain one – many not until very late in life – if we wanted to see a family member on their deathbed, attend a funeral, care for them in need or emergency. What ‘choice’ is that? Is possible bankruptcy, or going into debt to pay lawyers and accountants and possibly part of the price of our family home outside the US a reasonable price for a birthright?

Is bankruptcy a fair, ethical and just cost that US citizens abroad must all potentially incur in order to “continue to be American”, and to travel to the US if we ever want to see our family again? Or even just to travel to another destination – where most of the travel options go over or through the US in a virtual monopoly? Particularly if we did not choose to be an American, but only inherited it by accident of where our mother happened to be when she gave birth to us? Or, we had a US parent, but were born outside the US?

Is that in the US constitution?

Are FBARs in the US constitution? Is FATCA? Is the punishment of all local non-US mutual funds, savings plans and other legal local banking in the constitution? Is double taxation? How does that accord with the founding values and the ‘rights of man’?

Is American citizenship, or any citizenship a commodity to be bought and sold? Is it a membership fee – as in an exclusive country club where only some can belong – if they can afford to pay whatever is charged?

Does/should US law rule millions outside its boundaries no matter the consequences (and non-US persons and taxpayers and families pay the price too)? Should our US family members be deprived of our assistance and visits because the US is attempting to blackmail them and us by tying the US passport to acceptance and resignation to complex and unfair tax and financial control/oppression over those abroad?

In the current circumstances, there are aprox. 6 million or more living outside the US who it deems to be ‘US taxable persons’. Many are only ordinary people and families, who can neither afford to keep US citizenship, NOR to give it up (an average family of four renouncing would incur almost 10,000. USD just in State Dept. fees, plus the untold thousands in accounting and legal fees, plus whatever interest and penalties the IRS could apply depending on their circumstances – for example, US taxes imposed on their retirement, education and disability savings and their family home). I don’t know about you, but 10,000. is an astronomical amount for my family.

Many are being forced to pay in order to give up the US citizenship because they could not afford to keep it. Especially if they did so using the methods that the IRS and US Treasury demand. A part-time worker or caregiver who makes barely enough to be taxable in either Canada or the US may have almost no income at all and may not even have met the US filing threshold and owe no US taxes. They may have no US economic connection or income, have lived outside the US for more than 50 years, never worked there. Canadian taxpayers, their family and their community and they themselves have paid for their education, healthcare and any other social and economic benefits enjoyed. US hospital fees at birth were paid in full by parents paying directly fee for service, and any other costs came from the taxes paid as US residents at the time incurred. In that scenario, they do not qualify for US social security, or healthcare, and many/most have no intention of ever living in the US. Often, the NON-US/Canadian spouse is the breadwinner. So, the NON-US / Canadian family pays the cost of one or more members retaining their birthright US citizenship – incurred through an accident of fate many decades ago. Should individuals and families outside the US shoulder the compliance burden forever? We are prevented from taking on community work due to the FBAR obligations to report even non-personal co-signatory roles. Prevented from being a co-signatory on RESPs, prevented from being a potential executor or co-signatory on family accounts.

Is that the cost of US citizenship that is just, moral, reasonable and ethical?

I feel that I was the victim of extortion by the US. If I had decided not to burden my Canadian family with the fees to become ‘compliant’ in the manner prescribed by the IRS and US Treasury, and had not renounced, would you advise that I should have ‘manned up’ too? I and my family paid too high a price for ‘compliance’ – a state almost impossible to achieve if done in the manner the US prescribed in 2011, and almost impossible to achieve for anyone with local legal accounts, a home, retirement savings, mutual funds, etc. due to the ways in which we are punished for living, earning, banking and saving outside the US.

Do US residents – those who are merely permanent residents, as well as those who were born with US citizenship have to bear the same burden that those residing outside the US bear? The Taxpayer Advocate says not.

The US is the ONLY country in the world to do this other than Eritrea.

Funny that of all the so-called ‘developed’ nations in the world, only one forces people to entertain bankruptcy in order to maintain a passport or citizenship.

 

 

 

 

Nanette Dembitz, Glenn Beck and Clive Cussler

https://twitter.com/USCitizenAbroad/status/548679501354242049

The 1967 case of Afroyim v. Rusk is playing a major role in the life of “Americans abroad”. (This is the Supreme Court decision that establishes that Congress cannot simple “strip people of U.S. citizenship” without their consent. I wrote about the possible impact of Afroyim on the treatment of Americans abroad in an earlier post. There is a strong consensus that Americans abroad are being forced to renounce their citizenship. Yet, in Afroyim, Justice Black reminds us that:

Citizenship is no light trifle 268*268 to be jeopardized any moment Congress decides to do so under the name of one of its general or implied grants of power. In some instances, loss of citizenship can mean that a man is left without the protection of citizenship in any country in the world—as a man without a country. Citizenship in this Nation is a part of a co-operative affair. Its citizenry is the country and the country is its citizenry. The very nature of our free government makes it completely incongruous to have a rule of law under which a group of citizens temporarily in office can deprive another group of citizens of their citizenship. We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment was designed to, and does, protect every citizen of this Nation against a congressional forcible destruction of his citizenship, whatever his creed, color, or race. Our holding does no more than to give to this citizen that which is his own, a constitutional right to remain a citizen in a free country unless he voluntarily relinquishes that citizenship.

As of late there there has been some discussion of a legal challenge to  citizenship-based taxation (or at least aspects of it) by using the 14th amendment arguments. I suggest that the above quote from Justice Black’s decision should be a leading part of the that challenge.

The argument would be:

1. Maybe citizenship-based taxation is NOT unconstitutional per se; but

2. The rules that U.S. government is imposing (under the guise of citizenship-based taxation) are forcing people to renounce U.S. citizenship and are therefore unconstitutional.

The lawyer representing Afroyim (at least in the early stages was Nanette Dembitz. Nanette Dembitz was a niece of Justice Louis Brandeis.  Interestingly the impact of Justice Brandeis and people like Nanette Dembitz – who recognized the importance of the individual – carry on today.

Brandeis and Harlan Watch

There doesn’t appear to have been research done of Brandeis lately, but I have found 3 Brandeis-related items worth relating.

Another Brandeis relative on the bench

My colleague Kurt Metzmeier is a collector of, among other things, political campaign buttons, and as a result found this button on eBay:

"Yes Yes Nanette Dembitz" campaign button

Nanette Dembitz was the daughter of Abraham Lincoln Dembitz, who was the son of Louis D. Brandeis’ beloved uncle Lewis Dembitz. This would have made her Brandeis’ second cousin (according to the New York Times anyway–genealogy is completely beyond me.) Like Brandeis and his daughter Susan, Nanette also went to law school, graduating from Columbia in 1938. Like many other women law school graduates of the time, she had difficulty finding a job at first, but she persevered, eventually becoming a judge in the Family Court in Manhattan, where she became known for her outspoken and sometimes very liberal views. The…

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