A recent Supreme Court (SCOTUS) case, Yovino v. Rizo (18–272, decided February 25, 2019 Per Curiam), took up the matter of a judge that had authored the majority opinion but died before the opinion was "filed".

I had the idea of posting a question asking - for the sake of discussion - what the halachic view of the issue would be. I did not end up making the post, apprehensive that the question was not a good match for this site. However, I'd like to hear opinions:

Do questions asking for the Jewish (normative halachic) viewpoint on questions raised in the Supreme Court, or perhaps lower, state, or foreign courts, have a place on this site? Would such questions gather interest, or are they more likely to be (zealously) labeled "off topic"? Should there be a specific tag for such questions?


  • Do you mean a question like: if a beit din found itself in this situation (describe SCOTUS etc situation), how would the case they were hearing be resolved? Something like that? Jul 10, 2019 at 0:38
  • @MonicaCellio Exactly. In this particular case, I came across Sanhedrin 43a today, which seems to touch on a similar question: What to do if a student judge says he has a לימוד זכות in a capital case but dies before he can express it.
    – Menachem
    Jul 10, 2019 at 0:49
  • 2
    Consider the entire current-events tag. This seems like a great question.
    – DonielF
    Jul 10, 2019 at 18:22
  • @DonielF I'll use it in the meantime, but it's not specific enough. Not for a series of questions with a similar basis. I suppose if it becomes a habit, there can be a dedicated tag.
    – Menachem
    Jul 10, 2019 at 20:37
  • 1
    @Menachem I think what DonielF is saying is that we already have a tag with a bunch of questions inspired by current events, so there's ample precedent. Jul 10, 2019 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


One of the characteristics of Judaism that really stands out for me is that thoughtful, well-asked questions that seek to clarify an underlying principle, even if hypothetical, are taken seriously -- in the study hall, in the discussions in the g'mara, in modern rabbinic writings. They should be welcome on Mi Yodeya too.

If a question is about Judaism, I don't much care whether the motivation is a text, some practice you saw or heard about, a similar case from outside of Judaism, speculative fiction, or pure curiosity. (Disclosure: I've asked a few questions that had their genesis in "outside" contexts.) Questions about how a beit din would handle a situation that could come up, and that did come up in some other court, fit into that.

Now the caveats: like all other questions here, the question needs to be about Judaism and contain all the necessary details. For cases that arise from current events, it's even more important to provide details and durable links -- that news story you link to today will probably be gone when somebody comes across your question in two years. A good question presents a Jewish question or problem; what led you to ask it is secondary, so long as you're not looking for p'sak which we do not give here.

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