Historian Tony Judt dies aged 62

Tony Judt
Tony Judt: ‘I was raised on words.’ Photograph: Eamonn Mccabe for the Observer
  • Historian Tony Judt dies aged 62 Author of Postwar and New York University professor dies after two-year fight with motor neurone disease:
    Tony Judt, the British writer, historian and professor who was recently described as having the “liveliest mind in New York”, has died after a two-year struggle with motor neurone disease. Considered by many to be a giant in the intellectual world, Judt chronicled his illness in unsparing detail in public lectures and essays – giving an extraordinary account that won him almost as much respect as his voluminous historical and political work, for which he was feted on both sides of the Atlantic.
    Judt was born in 1948 and grew up in south London. His mother’s parents had emigrated from Russia; his father was Belgian, descended from a line of Lithuanian rabbis.
    His academic career began with a history degree and PhD at Cambridge and took him eventually to New York University, where he was the Erich Maria Remarque professor in European studies, director of the Remarque Institute and a renowned teacher.
    His finest work was widely thought to be Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945, published in 2005 and an enormous critical success. It was described by the Yale historian Timothy Snyder as “the best book on its subject that will ever be written by anyone”. – guardian.co.uk, 8-7-10
  • Tony Judt dies at 62; leading historian of postwar Europe: The New York University history professor’s career reached its zenith with the publication of ‘Postwar’ in 2005. He also wrote movingly about his struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease…. – LAT, 8-7-10
  • Tony Judt: A Public Intellectual Remembered: Tony Judt was a historian of the very first order, a public intellectual of an old-fashioned kind and — in more ways than one — a very brave man.
    A professor at New York University and director of the Remarque Institute on European studies there, for the last two years Judt had been living with a degenerative motor neuron disease and wrote movingly and without a touch of self-pity of the impact that it had on his body. Thankfully and remarkably, he continued writing throughout his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, with a verve and feeling that added color to what had always been an astonishing breadth of intellectual understanding. His last book, the short polemic Ill Fares the Land — adapted from articles written for the New York Review of Books, long Judt’s home outside the academy — was a cri de coeur for the virtues of social democracy, the political philosophy that had shaped the thinking of so many western Europeans, born and raised, like Judt, in the post-war period. (Read TIME’s review of Judt’s book Postwar)
    Judt was born to a Jewish family in England in 1948, and spent time on a kibbutz in Israel before going up to Cambridge, volunteering as a driver in the Six-Day War of 1967. (He later studied in France, and a fascination with modern French politics and society ran through all his work.) A secular, social-democratic European Jew, his criticisms of Israel in later life — and by extension, of what he considered to be a narrow defensiveness on the part of mainstream American Jewish institutions — made him many intellectual opponents in the US. He stuck to his guns…. – Time, 8-7-10

Political Buzz: Kagan Confirmed and Sworn-in as the 112th Supreme Court Justice

KAGAN CONFIRMED AND SWORN IN AS THE 112TH JUSTICE

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

http://bonniekaryn.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/kaganceremony.jpg?w=501&h=269

AP Elena Kagan is sworn in Saturday as the Supreme Court’s newest member as Chief Justice John Roberts, right, administers the judicial oath. More photos

  • Kagan sworn in as fourth woman on Supreme Court: Elena Kagan was sworn in Saturday as the 112th justice and fourth woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath to Kagan in a brief private ceremony at the court. Kagan, joined by family and friends, pledged to faithfully and impartially uphold the law. Afterward, she smiled broadly as a crowd of onlookers stood and applauded. “We look forward to serving with you,” Roberts said…. – AP, 8-7-10
  • Elena Kagan sworn in as Supreme Court justice: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administers the oath two days after her confirmation by the Senate. She is not expected to dramatically alter the ideological makeup of the court…. – LAT, 8-7-10
  • Brewing legal disputes could define Kagan’s early tenure: Reporting from Washington– This summer, as Elena Kagan quietly moved toward confirmation to the Supreme Court, three major legal disputes took shape that could define her early years. The justices soon will be called upon to decide whether states like Arizona can enforce immigration laws, whether same-sex couples have a right to marry and whether Americans can be required to buy health insurance. Kagan’s record strongly suggests she will vote in favor of federal regulation of immigration and health insurance and vote to oppose discrimination against gays and lesbians. What is less clear is whether she will be voting with a center-left majority that includes Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, or as liberal dissenter on a court whose five Republican appointees outvote the four Democratic appointees…. – LAT, 8-8-10
  • Kagan celebrates with Obama, to be sworn Saturday: A beaming Elena Kagan and President Barack Obama on Friday celebrated her imminent ascension to the Supreme Court with jokes and references to the irreverent sense of humor she put on display during her Senate confirmation hearing.
    An audience in the East Room of the White House, filled with Kagan’s friends and extended family, along with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, screamed with joy and applauded as Obama introduced “Justice Elena Kagan.” Kagan, 50, holds the title of U.S. solicitor general for one more day.
    “While she may be feeling a twinge of sadness about giving up the title of general — a cool title — I think we can agree that Justice Elena Kagan has a pretty nice ring to it,” Obama said of his second successful appointment to the court…. – AP, 8-6-10
  • Obama on Kagan: ‘This is a good day’: After receiving some so-so news on unemployment this morning, President Obama got to kick back today and celebrate the elevation of his second Supreme Court justice. “This is a good day,” Obama said in a ceremony for Elena Kagan, who on Saturday will be sworn in as the high court’s 112th justice. Noting that he appointed Kagan as U.S. solicitor general two years ago, Obama said: “While she may be feeling a twinge of sadness about giving up the title of general — a cool title — I think we can all agree that Justice Elena Kagan has a pretty nice ring to it.”… – USA Today, 8-6-10
  • Senate confirms Kagan as 112th justice: The Senate confirmed Elena Kagan Thursday as the Supreme Court’s 112th justice and the fourth woman in its history, granting a lifetime term to a lawyer and academic with a reputation for brilliance, a dry sense of humor and a liberal bent.
    The vote was 63-37 for President Barack Obama’s nominee to succeed retired Justice John Paul Stevens.
    Five Republicans joined all but one Democrat and the Senate’s two independents to support Kagan. In a rarely practiced ritual reserved for the most historic votes, senators sat at their desks and stood to cast their votes with “ayes” and “nays.”
    Kagan watched the vote with her Justice Department colleagues in the solicitor general’s conference room, the White House said. Obama, traveling in Chicago, said her confirmation was an affirmation of her character and judicial temperament, and called the addition of another woman to the court a sign of progress for the country…. – AP, 8-5-10
The President honors Elena Kagan
White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 8/6/10
  • Honoring Elena Kagan: Remarks by the President and Elena Kagan at Reception Honoring Her Confirmation: These folks may not agree on much, but they’ve all been impressed, as I have, by Elena’s formidable intellect and path-breaking career — as an acclaimed scholar and presidential advisor, as the first woman to serve as Dean of the Harvard Law School, and most recently as Solicitor General. They admire how, while she could easily have settled into a comfortable practice in corporate law, she chose instead to devote her life to public service. They appreciate her even-handedness and open-mindedness, and her excellent — and often irreverent — sense of humor.
    These are traits that she happens to share with the last Solicitor General who went on to become a Supreme Court Justice — one for whom Elena clerked, and whom she considers one of her heroes — Justice Thurgood Marshall. And we are very proud to have Justice Marshall’s widow here today joining us. (Applause.)
    In a tribute she wrote after Justice Marshall’s death, Elena recalled how she and her fellow clerks took turns standing guard when his casket lay in state at the Supreme Court — and how 20,000 people stood in a line that stretched around the block to pay their respects. They were people from every background and every walk of life: black, white, rich and poor, young and old. Many brought their children, hoping to impress upon them the lessons of Justice Marshall’s extraordinary life. Some left notes, some left flowers. One mourner left a worn slip opinion of Brown v. Board of Education.
    It is, to this day, a moving reminder that the work of our highest Court shapes not just the character of our democracy, but the most fundamental aspects of our daily lives — how we work, how we worship, whether we can speak freely and live fully, whether those words put to paper more than two centuries ago will truly mean something for each of us in our time. – WH, 8-6-10
  • Honoring Elena Kagan: Remarks by Elena Kagan at Reception Honoring Her Confirmation: Finally, I want to thank my family and friends. I have a lot of family here today — my brothers and sister-in- law, a nephew, a niece, aunts, uncles, cousins — and I have a great many friends here as well. You came from all over the country as soon as you heard the Senate had approved my nomination. And I’m moved and deeply grateful for your support.
    And all around me in this room, I feel the presence of my parents. I wouldn’t be standing here today if not for their love and sacrifice and devotion. And although my parents didn’t live to see this day, what I can almost hear them saying — and I think I can hear Justice Marshall saying this to me right now as well — is that this appointment is not just an honor. Much more importantly, it is an obligation — an obligation to protect and preserve the rule of law in this country; an obligation to uphold the rights and liberties afforded by our remarkable Constitution; and an obligation to provide what the inscription on the Supreme Court building promises: equal justice under law.
    Tomorrow, I will take two oaths to uphold this solemn obligation: one, to support and defend the Constitution; and the other, to administer justice without respect to persons, to the rich and poor alike.
    Today, Mr. President, I will simply say to you and to everyone here and across the nation that I will work my hardest and try my best to fulfill these commitments and to serve this country I love as well as I am able. – WH, 8-6-10
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