Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Politics of Justice

The political scientist Richard Fenno, after following Cleveland’s legendary Lou Stokes around our town, noted with astonishment the red-carpet treatment and near hero worship the retired Congressman received from his former constituents. Fenno, considered the dean of Congressional scholars, remarked that he had never seen anything like it.

There is no doubt that Lou Stokes is a walking, breathing political giant in our midst. Still, it does not detract one whit from his stature to wonder whether the adulation he — and to a lesser degree, his beloved successor, the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones — continues to receive, says as much or more about the peculiar makeup of identity politics in Cleveland than it does about him.

In any event, it remains our good fortune to have his continued presence on the scene. Today, he appears as the special guest on “It’s About Justice”, the public affairs radio show hosted by retired Cleveland educator and activist Meryl Johnson.

Stokes was an outstanding trial attorney who won landmark cases before the US Supreme Court before beginning his thirty-year political career in the late 1960s. He likely will share his legal and political perspective on this week’s decisions regarding the Court’s savaging of the Voting Rights Act as well as its latest decision on affirmative action. I hope Meryl finds time to ask him about the Court’s DOMA decision as well.

“It’s About Justice” airs on WRUW-FM/91.1 Saturday afternoons from 1:30-2:30PM. You can hear it online at
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Justice will remain the theme of the week on Mansfield Frazier’s radio show, “The Forum”, which airs tomorrow night from 7-10PM on WTAM-AM/1100.  The show will be dealing with addiction and our country’s phony but devastating “war on drugs”.

Guests will include Cleveland Municipal Court judges Anita Laster Mays and Marilyn B. Cassidy; Debora A. Rodriguez, president and CEO of Recovery Resources; and Peter Christ, co-founder of LEAP [Law Enforcement Against Prohibition]. LEAP’s website says the nonprofit organization is comprised of “criminal justice professionals who bear personal witness to the wasteful futility and harms of our current drug policies.”

“The Forum”, known colloquially to wags as “Negro Night on WTAM”, is a call-in show, so listeners can interact with the show’s host and guests.

The program is also streamed at
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Finally, in keeping with our justice theme, I came across this compelling audio recording of George Zimmerman’s interrogation by the police after he was brought in for questioning following his killing of Trayvon Martin. His attitude is chilling, and begs the question of why it took a national campaign to arrest this menace to society.

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