Justice Elena Kagan, according to the transcript, posed this question to Abercrombie lawyer Shay Dvoretzky.
“Now, Mr. Dvoretzky, suppose an employer just doesn’t want to hire any Jews, and somebody walks in and his name is Mel Goldberg, and he looks kind of Jewish and the employer doesn’t know he’s Jewish. No absolute certainty and certainly Mr. Goldberg doesn’t say anything about being Jewish, but the employer just operates [on] an assumption that he’s Jewish, so no, he doesn’t get the job. Is that a violation?”
There was, it seems, an important error, the court said. It was the wrong hypothetical Goldberg.
“Attached is a further revised transcript,” the court said, “with the following change: On p. 35, line 8, Mel Goldberg is replaced with Noah Goldberg.”
Did Mel call to complain? Was Noah upset? But wait a minute. Mel is a fictitious person, made up for purposes of argument. Granted, the name Melvin is somewhat dated, and Noah is hipper, but. . . .
So we asked court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg what happened.
“The early version of the transcript yesterday said ‘Mel,’” she e-mailed back. Seems some reporters at the argument had said “they were pretty sure the Justice said ‘Noah.’ So the Marshal’s Office checked the audio, confirmed Justice Kagan said ‘Noah,’ and had the reporting service correct the transcript.”
Well, the Goldbergs will be happy that’s taken care of.