- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 26, 2003

Pryor a pro-life and proper choice for judge

I welcome Charles Hurt’s revealing article “Pryor’s religion triggers debate” (Page 1, Thursday). I just want to make one point: There’s no such thing as a pro-choice Catholic.

Pro-choice is pro-abortion, and the church’s teaching on the subject has been crystal clear for two millennia. To attack Mr. Pryor’s Catholicism on the grounds of his stand on the death penalty is merely a red herring to distract attention from abortion. Next, Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, will be questioning Mr. Pryor’s frequency of confession.

Mr. Durbin and the other so-called Catholics, who treasure votes more than their faith, work mightily to keep abortion, even infanticide abortion, i.e. partial-birth abortion, available to any and all. Infants are dying in agony because these men and women will parade their so-called Catholicism for no end other than politics. They casually desert it when the chips are down. But for them, infanticide abortion would have been stopped. They could have overridden President Clinton’s veto of the law that would have stopped it. They failed.

DR. RICHARD P. DELANEY

Silver Spring

Despite the protestations from Sen. Richard J. Durbin that the opposition by Senate Democrats to the nomination of Alabama Attorney General William Pryor to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has nothing to do with Mr. Pryor’s being a Catholic, the question remains whether a Catholic faithful to the teachings of the church can ever again be confirmed as a federal judge.

In an age of weasel words, Mr. Pryor has been uncharacteristically blunt and truthful, having once described Roe v. Wade, which declared a constitutional right to abortion based on the “emanations” from the “penumbras” of that document, as “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.”

Asked during the hearings whether the quote was accurate, he said it was, adding, “I believe that not only is [Roe] unsupported by the text and structure of the Constitution, but it has led to a morally wrong result … the slaughter of millions of innocent unborn children.”

Yet, despite his firm insistence that abortion is a moral evil, he has upheld the Supreme Court’s decision to the letter, faithfully doing his duty as attorney general. Much as he disagrees with the law, he knows that laws should be changed in Congress, not the courtroom.

Millions of Catholics are equally faithful to the teachings of their church. Does this mean they can never become federal judges? Why is it that senators are allowed to be “personally opposed” to abortion while following the current law of the land, but not judges? Perhaps the ad placed in some newspapers showing a sign on shuttered courthouse doors reading “Catholics need not apply” is not so over-the-top after all.

The opposition to Mr. Pryor, in fact, comes dangerously close to a religious exclusion based on the false belief that it is impossible to separate who you are from how you judge. One would think John F. Kennedy had put this nonsense to rest in 1960.

DANIEL JOHN SOBIESKI

Chicago

MCI still rings up trust

Criticism of MCI’s role as a federal contractor ignores the stark differences between MCI and those corporations that have been banned from receiving such contracts (“Senators take issue with WorldCom contract,” Business, Wednesday).

Unlike the other corporations involved in fraud and noted in your story, MCI reported its financial irregularities to the government, cooperated with all investigations and moved decisively to clean house from top to bottom.

The company’s extraordinary efforts to install a first-class management team and a corporate culture dedicated to transparency and ethical behavior was praised recently by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in his order approving the company’s $750 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Let’s be clear. Punishing the company further would only punish those who are the company — our employees, creditors and customers. These are the very people who already have paid the highest price of all.

Contrary to the assertions of our competitors, MCI competitively bid for its contract to build a cellular system in Iraq and received the job for the same reason federal agencies have used MCI’s services for 15 years: We offered the best service at the best price.

MCI works alongside the soldiers and civilians in Iraq, taking the same risks, providing desperately needed communications in Baghdad. It is the primary and most reliable means of communications locally and internationally. I’m proud to say U.S. forces are using that system today as they work to restore order and democracy in Iraq.

The bottom line is that our rivals are wrapping their self-serving efforts in a cloak of policy arguments to gain competitive advantage. We trust that most lawmakers will continue to see through these attempts to knock a competitor out of the market.

JERRY EDGERTON

Senior vice president

Government Markets MCI

Ashburn, Va.

Take the high road to safety

Regarding Suzanne Fields’ column “Let Granny drive — if she can” (Op-Ed, Thursday), my grandfather lived into his 90s and never drove a car during his entire life. Perhaps his love of walking was a significant factor in allowing him to live so long. Though the car is an extremely useful and convenient tool, there still are people who manage completely without one.

We should work on improving the ease and reducing the costs of public transportation to encourage safer and more energy-efficient methods beyond auto travel, so that when people give up driving, they can do so more easily.

We also need better screening methods for all drivers (such as road tests, simulation/reflex tests and eye tests every five to 10 years) because many, many horrible drivers in all age groups are getting through the cracks in the system.

Regarding the recent tragedy in Santa Monica involving the elderly person who never should have been allowed to drive, I just hope that if God grants me many years of life, I have the courage, sense and wisdom to stop driving when I realize I am no longer able to do so safely.

MICHAEL PRAVICA

Bethesda

Create jobs, not workers

As The Washington Times notes in an editorial (“The end of the recession,” Tuesday), the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has concluded that the recession, which began in March 2001, ended in November 2001. NBER further reported that “real [gross domestic product] has risen substantially” since then.

The unemployment rate, however, has continued to creep upward, too. This is a “lagging indicator” that threatens to stop altogether. A detailed analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals who is really getting hurt and suggests why.

First, employment remained stagnant at the same level in June 2003 as in March 2001, 27 months ago — around 138 million. What has changed is who is employed. Non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black workers lost about 2.34 million jobs during that period, while Hispanic and non-Hispanic Asian workers gained about 2.32 million jobs. This suggests a change in the nature of American occupations, from more skilled to less skilled, from General Motors to Wal-Mart.

The higher unemployment rate is explained by the fact that since March 2001, about 3.26 million more civilians are working or looking for work. There was no labor-force growth among non-Hispanic white and black workers. Additional Hispanic and non-Hispanic Asian workers, 3.21 million of them, accounted for all the growth.

The conclusion is inescapable. Our policy of massive immigration (not the immigrants) is responsible for much of our unemployment. Like a drunken sailor, this policy, an amalgam of extravagant legal means and unguarded borders, staggers on, heedless of the state of the economy or the suffering it causes.

Congress, on a spending bender of its own to “create jobs” — by depleting our children’s future earnings — would be well-advised to stop “creating workers” instead.

WILLIAM BUCHANAN

Legislative director

American Council

for Immigration Reform

Washington


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