- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 12, 2001

Is anyone enthusiastic about nuclear reactors?

Steven Milloy likes to nail cases of "junk science," as his Commentary column and Web address indicate ("Nuclear power, Capitol radiation," May 8). Unfortunately, when it comes to interpreting polling data about public opinion on nuclear power, it is Mr. Milloy who is guilty of junk science.

Mr. Milloy cites an Associated Press poll as a basis for his statement that "support for nuclear power is rising." Only 29 percent of AP´s total adult poll respondents (290 out of 1,002) said they "wouldn´t mind a nuclear plant within 10 miles of their own home." What´s more interesting, and Mr. Milloy didn´t disclose, is that 44 percent of the AP poll´s self-stated supporters of nuclear power (228 out of 518 "supporters") would not want to live within 10 miles of a reactor. So much for the conviction of Mr. Milloy´s nuclear power "supporters."

With all polls, unambiguous, unbiased and straightforward questions generally are considered more reliable. In this case, such a question is, "Would you support or oppose the building of more nuclear power plants?"

This was asked by ABC News and The Washington Post of 1,350 adult respondents on the same weekend as the AP poll. The answer: Sixty percent opposes building more reactors, and 37 percent supports the concept. In June 1982, the Harris Poll asked the same question and got the exact same results.

Let´s not get resold on nuclear power hype and hysteria, we can´t pay the price. Energy efficiency and renewable resources create an energy system our parents can afford and our children can live with.


Executive Director

Safe Energy Communication Council


Don't forget Kerrey's role in overseas ballot fiasco

With reference to "Stiffing the troops serving overseas," the May 8 excerpt from Bill Sammons book, "At Any Cost," lets not forget that it was Medal of Honor and Bronze Star winner Bob Kerrey who lambasted the troops overseas and made it look like it was their fault that their votes werent counted in the 2000 election. Mr. "holier-than-thou" Kerrey seems to be able to cast blame on others for anything but too timid to accept blame for his own actions.

If Mr. Kerrey were just a regular old citizen, the Justice Department would already have him under charges. It sure didn´t take long to charge Lt. William Calley for the massacre at My Lai.


Burke, Va.

The slippery slope of gun registration

Former French Prime Minister Michel Rocards letter on international "supervision" of small arms merely proves the point he protests in your April 12 story "U.S. negotiators wary of pact to curb small-arms sales" ("International supervision of small arms," April 24). He insists that the United Nations current efforts to curb small-arms sales worldwide will neither cut into U.S. arms sales nor infringe on the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens. Either Mr. Rocard is ignorant of the U.S. Constitution or he is perfidious.

At a press conference last year, Mr. Rocard stated: "Measures must be devised to limit the access to small arms, to curtail the supply of small arms and to reduce the demand for small arms. The weapons of violence must be brought back into the control of the state." How does he propose to achieve this? Again, in his own words: "enhance transparency and accountability in the transfer of small arms small arms should be made traceable through universal marking and record keeping." That can mean only one thing universal firearms registration. He doesn´t even bother to make an argument on how this will benefit society. For him, increasing the power of the government and reducing the freedom of the governed is an end unto itself.

While Mr. Rocard proposes restrictions on obvious military weapons such as machine guns and grenade launchers, he does not mention that his goal and that of the U.N. committee considering this plan is to bring all small arms under "the control of the state." Once firearms are registered, it is only a matter of time before the confiscations begin.

I defy Mr. Rocard to cite a single example of a government firearms registration scheme that did not eventually lead to confiscation. Recent examples include efforts in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. In each case, the citizens were persuaded to register in the name of reducing crime. Good, law-abiding citizens complied with the law. Their reward was confiscation and higher crime rates.



Cheating on the litmus test

In attacking liberals for their purported hypocrisy with respect to federal judicial selection, Thomas L. Jipping includes the Brennan Center for Justice ("Courting trouble," Op-Ed, May 9). He notes that in October 1999 we declared that ideological litmus tests are "a selection method that undermines the independence of our third branch of government." Im sure nothing but considerations of space prevented Mr. Jipping from presenting our argument in more detail. Permit me to do so now.

We defined a litmus test as "a standard that qualifies or disqualifies potential judicial nominees on the basis of the holdings they would issue with respect to a particular case, or a class of related cases." We went on to declare that "he Constitution allows the President and Senate to ask probing questions regarding the nominee´s overall legal acumen, judicial philosophy, temperament, and commitment to fairness and impartiality t is entirely appropriate to examine the nominee´s legal reasoning in prior cases for evidence of open-mindedness and willingness to consider each case on its own merits."

We stand by this position. While it would be illegitimate for a senator to demand that a judicial nominee express any sort of commitment to reach a particular result in a case, it is absolutely within a senator´s purview to comprehensively investigate a nominee´s approach to statutory and constitutional interpretation.

And while we´re on the subject of hypocrisy, a review of Mr. Jipping´s past pronouncements is in order. Writing in your pages last summer, he excoriated Senate Republicans for supporting Mary McLaughlin for a federal district judgeship ("Trading away the judiciary," Op-Ed, July 25). His reason for opposing her? "She received a 1998 award from the ACLU for her pro-abortion activism."

In other words, he opposed Ms. McLaughlin because her political position on a single issue was sufficient for him to conclude that she could not be an impartial adjudicator. That´s a litmus test.


Associate Counsel

Brennan Center for Justice

New York University School of Law

New York

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