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Tag Archives: Jack L.B. Gohn

Jack L.B. Gohn: Two lawyers named Thomas

King Henry VIII of England and his intimates have recently been brought to televised life in The Tudors and revivified in Hilary Mantel’s trilogy of historical novels, now two-thirds complete, about Lord Chamberlain Thomas Cromwell. The books and the television show run us through all the same events and from a surprisingly similar perspective. A picture emerges.

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Jack L. B. Gohn: On same-sex marriage, reasonable minds may no longer differ

Last November, Maryland had a referendum on same-sex marriage. In the run-up to the election, the Catholic archbishop of Baltimore wrote a letter effectively ordering the faithful to vote against gays and lesbians marrying, and directed that it be read aloud in every pulpit. A friend of mine, from a venerable and distinguished Catholic family, was in church that Sunday with her two teen-aged daughters, both of whom attend Catholic schools. After Mass that day and hearing the letter read, they announced to their mother that they were finished going to church — and obviously, short of dragging them physically, the mother had no way of forcing them into the pew. So that was that: the Church had just lost two bright young members.

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Jack L.B. Gohn: An informed debate begins about drones

Those of us who have been urging disclosure of the legal reasoning behind the Administration’s drone killings policy have received nothing but vindication from the vital debate that ensued after the leakage last month of the Congressional Briefing, the so-called Department of Justice White Paper culled from Office of Legal Counsel memoranda. Even though this was surely but a sampling of the OLC memos that must exist, and even though nothing can diminish the inherent complexity of the subject, I sense a certain clarity emerging in the resulting discussion. And, so far as I can see, the disclosure came at zero cost in terms of the nation’s strategic and tactical options.

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Jack Gohn: The secret warriors’ secret law unveiled (kind of)

And why am I under arrest? Herr K asks in Kafka’s The Trial. That’s something we’re not allowed to tell you, the plainclothes arresting officer responds. This surprises K: K was living in a free country, after all, everywhere was at peace, all laws were decent and were upheld.

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Jack Gohn: Spring cleaning

Periodically, the moment known as spring cleaning arrives. We scour out closets and garages and attics, and rid ourselves of accumulated bric-a-brac, of objects that (rightly or wrongly) seemed like good ideas when we acquired them, but no longer do. Garage sales, passing things along to Goodwill, and just putting junk out on the curb for the sanitation workers — all these tactics are vital to our domestic success. If we didn’t cull and toss the accumulated flotsam now and then, it would eventually render our homes impassable and uninhabitable.

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Jack L.B. Gohn: A slap in the face? Really?

One standard knock on amnesty for illegal immigrants is that it would show disrespect to those who followed the rules when they entered and undermine the rule of law. I quote amnesty foe U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner: “This would be a slap in the face to all those who have followed the law and have come to America legally.”

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Jack L.B. Gohn: Lessons from the Mother Road about government

The Mother Road, John Steinbeck called it: U.S. Route 66, which once linked Lakeshore Drive in Chicago with the Santa Monica Pier, spanning eight states and three time zones in the process. They decommissioned it in 1977, but, like a glorious zombie, it lives a postmortem life, preserved with maps, books, road signage, and of course the song about getting your kicks on Route 66 popularized by Nat King Cole, still covered to this day.

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