Forum Guests

FOLCS Remembers Jack Greenberg

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FOLCS Remembers Jack Greenberg FOLCS acknowledges the death of one of our former Film Series guests, the legendary civil rights attorney, Jack Greenberg, who passed away on October 12, 2016, at age 91. Greenberg argued 40 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including Brown v. Board of Education. Greenberg was born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 22, 1924. His Jewish parents had fled Europe because of anti-Semitism. During the Second World War, he entered the U.S. Navy and fought in Japan. Greenberg held a B.A. from Columbia College, and an LL.B and an LL.D from Columbia Law School. His strong commitment to the fight against injustice inspired him study the law, and later used it as a tool to advocate for civil rights. He joined the legal team created by Thurgood Marshall, the founding director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. There,


A Conversation with Mayor Ed Koch

Last night the Forum proudly welcomed former New York City Mayor Edward Koch. Throughout his conversation with Director Thane Rosenbaum, Mayor Koch, now 88 years old, proved that he had lost none of the charm and charisma that had made him one of the most popular mayors in the city’s history.


11 Angry Men and the Reasonable Man

By Graham Amodeo With the release of a Blu-Ray version of 12 Angry Men, it is worth revisiting this film, which was part of last year‘s Forum Film Festival. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor even said that this film had an incredible influence (click on the link and scroll down to her video) on her legal career. Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men presents an interesting example of the points at which the law and morality diverge. The divergence occurs in what one might think would be an unlikely location: a jury deliberation room. In the film 12 strangers, pressed into public service as jurors, attempt to decide the fate of a young man who is accused of murdering his father. In the process, a legally “correct” result (12 jurors agreeing as to guilt or innocence) nearly results in a moral travesty, until the morally righteous (and nameless, until the


The Death of Big Ideas

Neal Gabler, a guest at last year’s Forum Film Festival, recently wrote an interesting essay for The New York Times chronicling the death of big ideas. Give it a look and tell us what you think in our “comments” section.


A Prosecutor And A Journalist

By Ben Falk Both Preet Bhara and Samuel G. Freedman are looking for something. Mr. Bhara wants justice and Mr. Freedman wants the truth. Both have a professional duty to find what they’re looking for. And both, if they fail to conduct their search ethically, can hurt people. Bhara is the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Samuel Freedman is a journalist. Each has earned a reputation for doing their jobs very well. Bhara has earned plaudits (and more than a few critics) for his crackdown on insider trading and financial crimes. Freedman is an author, columnist and professor. Currently, he writes the “On Religion” column for The New York Times and is a professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism. His work, Small Victories, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1990; in 1991 his Jew vs. Jew won the National Jewish


Andrew Ross Sorkin and Too Big To Fail

By Erica Zaragoza The financial crisis created a special need for those who understand the intricacies of the market and basis for the collapse. New York Times Bestselling author Andrew Ross Sorkin is one of those people.  As an acclaimed financial reporter, Sorkin was at the forefront of exposing corruption in the financial system. Sorkin, an American author and journalist, is best known for his reporting on the financial sector. Well-versed in the dealings of Wall Street, Sorkin is co-host of CNBC’s Squawk Box, editor and founder of DealBook, a New York Times columnist, and author. Sorkin’s coverage of the controversial Wall Street bail out culminated in his first book: Too Big to Fail: How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System – and Themselves. Too Big to Fail is an in-depth account of the events that precipitated the stock market crash and the reactions that immediately


Clyde Haberman, "Daniel," and the Rosenbergs

By Ben Falk Clyde Haberman is a journalist. He seeks the truth. As a longtime reporter for The New York Post and The New York Times he has covered the Attica prison riots, served as a foreign correspondent in Tokyo, Jerusalem, and Rome, reported on the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, and the first Gulf War. This experience seeking and then explaining events cloaked in mystery, intrigue, and possibly, deception, makes him an ideal person to answer the question: did the Rosenbergs really do it? Did they spy for the Soviets? Does the movie “Daniel” accurately capture the sentiments of the time and the evidence for or against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg’s innocence or guilt? Now, it is unlikely he has a definitive answer, as the only people that do are either dead or forced to remain silent due to any number of confidentiality laws. However, he can explain


"Absence of Malice": Is Democracy Served?

By Ben Falk Sydney Pollack’s wonderful film, “Absence of Malice,” makes a good, if not slightly depressing, point. At the beginning of the film, The Miami Standard’s lawyer explains to Megan Carter (Sally Field), a reporter at the newspaper, that the subject of her article, Paul Newman’s Michael Gallagher, is unable to do the paper “harm.” “We have no knowledge the story is false, therefore we’re absent malice. We’ve been both reasonable and prudent, therefore we’re not negligent. We can say what we like about him; he can’t do us harm. Democracy is served.” Implicit in this monologue is the question: is this right? The answer, while demonstrated by the events that follow, is stated specifically at the film’s end, when Assistant U.S. Attorney General James Wells (Wilford Brimley) explains, “You know and I know that we [the law] can’t tell you [the press] what to print or what not