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How the Death of Judy's Father Made America More Secretive

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True_Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 06:51 PM
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How the Death of Judy's Father Made America More Secretive
In a box delivered by rolling handcart on the morning of Feb. 26, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court received 40 copies of a petition so unusual a clerk decided he couldn't accept it for filing. First, though, he turned through its pages.

In a preliminary statement, he read these words: Three widows stood before this court in 1952. Their husbands had died in the crash of an Air Force plane. The lower courts had awarded them compensation. But the United States was bent on overturning their judgments, and to accomplish this it committed a fraud not only upon the widows but upon this Court.

Filed by a prominent Philadelphia law firm, this petition asked for an exceedingly rare writ of error coram nobis an error committed in proceedings "before us." The petition's true author at least in spirit was a middle-aged woman from Bolton, Mass., named Judy Palya Loether. Her father had perished on that doomed Air Force plane when she was 7 weeks old. For most of her life, he'd been a mystery. She felt certain he would have had an effect, would have contributed to shaping a different Judy, perhaps a better Judy. Instead, she'd had a stepfather who seemed to withhold love. She'd raised a family and served her community, but she'd never lost her sense of wonder about her father, her desire to know him. In time, this impulse drew her into the past. What Judy Palya Loether wanted the Supreme Court to do was fix that past to fix its own 50-year-old error.
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