Monday, September 25, 2023
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How Do You Talk to Children About Politics These Days? Try These Books.

Then again, I’m not sure if a nonpartisan book about Trump could grow out of the current climate. I found all of this and more in several immersive picture books about women leaders. All the way, Jordan’s distinct “big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice” guides us. Barbara believed politics could change that,” Barton writes. “Her voice had made a difference.” Image In TURNING PAGES: My Life Story (Philomel, 40 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8), Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivers an ode to books under the guise of recounting her life story. “She lived in a big house on a tree-lined street and partnered with her dad, a successful lawyer, to solve crimes.” Justice Sotomayor credits “Lord of the Flies” with teaching her why “we need laws and rules to feel safe.” Her story skips a beat (or 12) when young Sonia suddenly ends up at Princeton, followed by a successful legal career and a seat on the Supreme Court. Image I might have found ELIZABETH WARREN: Nevertheless She Persisted (Abrams, 48 pp., $18.99; ages 6 to 9), a biography of the Massachusetts senator by Susan Wood with peppy, absorbing illustrations by Sarah Green, equally charming were it not for Warren’s obvious 2020 ambitions. It was only in the first few pages, when Gillibrand relays the story of the strong women in her own family, that I wondered whether she wrote this book to educate children or to woo their parents (or babysitters of voting age). I want my son (and other little boys) to know about the women featured in these books, but “Bold & Brave” doesn’t seem to invite boys in. But if we’re truly going to teach our children about this political moment, then boys and girls both should heed the stories of Barbara Jordan, Justice Sotomayor and Susan B. Anthony.

Kagan, Sotomayor say Supreme Court must steer clear of politics to protect legitimacy

On the eve of a Senate vote likely to result in the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, two of the three sitting female justices said the court must guard its own reputation for being impartial, neutral and fair. Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor shared concerns that widespread polarization in the country's political environment could affect public perceptions of the court's legitimacy. Speaking at a question-and-answer session during a conference at Princeton University dedicated to celebrating women, Kagan and Sotomayor did not directly address the prospect of Kavanaugh's confirmation but said there was value to maintaining a "middle position" on the court's bench. "This is a really divided time," Kagan said. "Part of the court's strength and part of the court's legitimacy depends on people not seeing the court the way they see the rest of the governing structures of the country now." Their pre-scheduled appearance at the "She Roars" conference came just hours after Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-Virginia, announced they would support Kavanaugh's nomination. Sotomayor said she sought out "the good" in her colleagues and that the court's members had a practice of maintaining collegial relationships even in times of disagreement. "If you start from the proposition that there's something good in everyone it's a lot easier to get along with them," she said. "It's just the nine of us," Kagan added. The two justices, both Princeton graduates, were interviewed before an audience of more than 3,000 by another alumna, Heather Gerken, who currently serves as the Dean of Kavanaugh's alma mater, Yale Law School.

Supreme Court strikes down political dress code at polls in latest decision involving voting

WASHINGTON — Overly broad state laws that ban wearing political messages inside polling places are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday. During oral argument in February, state officials said the law had not been challenged until now. Chief Justice John Roberts issued the court's opinion, calling the state's effort to make polling places less clamorous admirable. Sotomayor had expressed support for the state law during oral argument in February, noting some people viewed "Please I.D. All 50 states regulate campaign advocacy in and around polling places for reasons most of the justices readily defended during oral argument. Federal district and appeals courts dismissed the complaints from Andrew Cilek and the Minnesota Voters Alliance, but the Supreme Court has been protective of free speech rights even when it disagrees with the message. The problem, Roberts said, is that Minnesota's prohibition doesn't specify what's allowed and what isn't, leaving too much up to the whim of temporary polling place officials. The case was one of several before the court this term that affect voting, which the justices have quarreled over for years following their landmark 5-4 decision in 2013 striking down a key section of the Voting Rights Act. Can a state prohibit voters from wearing a "Make America Great Again" or "#MeToo" T-shirt? And why would it be OK to herald First Amendment freedom of speech rights across one's chest, but not Second Amendment rights affecting firearms -- a differentiation Minnesota allowed?