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Download Lives in the Law (The Amherst Series in Law, Jurisprudence, by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, Martha Umphrey (eds) PDF

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By Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, Martha Umphrey (eds)

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Example text

I ended up feeling uncomfortable and sometimes ashamed of being Jewish. At that age, I wanted acceptance more than anything, so while I don’t recall ever attending synagogue, I sat through many church services . . [and] several of my sonnets . . ”37 As a young man, Kunstler was not interested in a legal career. After military service during World War II he planned to become a journalist. 38 Kunstler started his career as an attorney with a conventional practice of torts, trusts, and estates. He became bored and restless.

It depicted Kunstler and Abbie (and possibly most Jewish members of the protest movements at the time) as the savvy citizens of modern American civilization, where Jesus was secularized and could serve as a role model to all conscientious souls, Jews included. From this perspective the reference to Jesus reinforced the notion of a Judeo-Christian civilization and provided a glue that would bind Christian and Jewish members of the movement. Christians identified with the Jewish trauma of the Holocaust, while Jews recognized the universal greatness of Jesus, albeit in a secular and not a theological context.

From this perspective, this essay is a case study of the struggle between the politics of ethnic identity and national identity in the arena of the courtroom. Here are, in a nutshell, the particularly interesting aspects of the Chicago conspiracy trial from the perspective of American-Jewish identity. The trial has a judge (Julius Hoffman), three lawyers (prosecutor Richard Schultz14 and defense counsels William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass), and three defendants (Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Lee Weiner) representing different strands of AmericanJewish identity.

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