NCJW/Essex enjoyed a full house at the 2016 Opening Event on November 3, 2016 at Brooklake Country Club featuring award-winning journalist and legal commentator Dahlia Lithwick as keynote speaker. In a timely address, Lithwick, a contributing editor at Newsweek and a senior editor at Slate, spoke about the Supreme Court and why it matters to an audience of several hundred people.
“The Supreme Court tries to be faithful to our Constitution while at the same time strives for justice,” said Lithwick, adding that paradoxically, it is also partisan and political. She referred to the Court as a precious institution and the “crown jewel of our democracy.” But, she explained that with the Senate blocking the appointment of nominee Merrick Garland for the seat previously held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court is stymied in a 4-4 tie. The vacancy on the bench is among the longest vacancies on the Supreme Court in U.S. history.
Lithwick writes the “Supreme Court Dispatches” and “Jurisprudence” columns for Slate. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Commentary, among others, and she has appeared as a frequent guest on CNN, ABC, The Colbert Report, The Rachel Maddow Show and National Public Radio. She won a 2013 National Magazine Award for her columns on the Affordable Care Act. She has twice been recognized with an Online Journalism Award for her legal commentary and was the first online journalist invited to be on the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press.
“The Supreme Court is boring and wonky, but also magical and mystifying, and it matters so very much,” remarked Lithwick who cautioned that we are getting perilously close to a constitutional crisis and warned that the Court is too important an institution to be delegitimized. “It is heartbreaking that we are breaking it.”
Also speaking at the program was Janine Garubo Austin, managing partner at the Anthony Garubo Salon in Maplewood, NJ, which has donated its time and talent to help empower clients of the Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women clients for the past three years. “We have the ability to transform someone with a pair of scissors and hair dye,” commented Garubo, “but we are just polishing the shell to let inner light shine a little brighter. These women are on a brave path of reinventing themselves and rebuilding confidence. Our staff has found that to give is to receive, and they are humbled and gratified to help.”
“The heartfelt and powerful messages from both of these women resonated at our Opening Event,” said Shari Harrison, president NCJW/Essex. “Our hope is that attendees recognize that whether it concerns the Supreme Court, a small business, or an individual client from our Center for Women, what we do matters. We encourage everyone to channel their interests and talents and get involved.”