- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 8, 2004

Equality for all?

Having practiced in federal district courts for more than 15 years, I know something about the sentencing guidelines. In my opinion, the criticisms voiced by Erik Luna on that subject (“Reprieve on sentencing guidelines?” Commentary, yesterday) have no merit.

The range of punishment provided by statute for a federal crime is very broad. The idea behind the sentencing guidelines is to provide greater uniformity in sentences for similar offenses and offenders.

The thinking behind the sentencing guidelines is that an offender appearing in the court of Judge Strict should not serve a vastly greater sentence than another person appearing in the court of Judge Lenient if he has a similar criminal history and has committed the same crime. This idea is consistent with most persons’ conception of justice.

Mr. Luna bemoans the fact that “employment history, family ties and responsibilities, public service and charitable works” are not taken into account as sentencing factors.

What does Mr. Luna propose? “Your Honor, it’s true that my client robbed that bank at gunpoint, but let’s not forget that, before that, he always held a job.” Or, “It’s true that my client was caught hauling 1,000 pounds of marijuana, but, after all, he does have six children to support and he does play the organ for his church choir.”

The crux of Mr. Luna’s position is found in his statement: “Federal judges — the most qualified and trustworthy decision makers in national government — have been rendered impotent at sentencing.”

It is true that the sentencing guidelines place limits on the judge’s sentencing options, giving both the government and the defendant the right of appellate review if the judge chooses to ignore those limits.

If, like Mr. Luna, you feel that federal judges are the most qualified and trustworthy decisionmakers in government, and not political appointees who too often have their own agendas, then I can see why you would want to return to a system in which sentencing is limited only by the judge’s individual perception and conscience.

But if you feel that there should be some uniformity in sentencing of similar offenses and offenders, then you can see the logic behind the sentencing guidelines.

ALLAN HOFFMANN

McAllen, Texas

In search of a Border Patrol

The story “Illegals acted on rumors of amnesty” (Page 1, Aug. 2) points to an ominous threat to the United States. Anyone who is aware of our immigration problems and porous borders understands the serious consequences of the proposed Bush amnesty.

In 1986, Congress approved a one-time-only amnesty for approximately 3 million illegal aliens. Since that time, amnesty has been granted six more times, yet our illegal population has grown to 8 to 12 million. There is no question that the proposed amnesty has fueled an increase in the number of illegal aliens attempting to enter our country. Along with the Mexicans who cross our southern border daily, we now need to be concerned about illegals from all over the world who want to enter the United States.

This country is at war with terrorism, but this amnesty would open the floodgate for more illegals, terrorists and criminals to enter our country. It’s time for President Bush and Sen. John Kerry to stop vote-pandering and come up with a solution for enforcing our immigration laws.

BOB ALLAN

Rochester Hills, Mich.

In regard to “Aliens program costs Bush” (Page 1, Tuesday):

You can list me as one of the registered Republicans who will be writing in Rep. Tom Tancredo’s name on my ballot for president. As a former dyed-in-the-wool but now thoroughly disaffected liberal, I have watched the Democrats sell out America’s working people and the economically marginalized with their blatant pandering to the open-borders, illegal-alien lobby.

They hold hands with the likes of John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO. A look at the union’s Web site shows three pages of praise for illegal aliens. The AFL-CIO no more represents Americanworkers than the Mafia represents Italian Americans. Seeing a handful of Republicans headed by Mr. Tancredo telling the corporate oligarchs and race-identity crowd that American workers come first inspired me to register as a Republican.

Then came President Bush with his Karl Rove-inspired, cynical “not an amnesty” mass-amnesty proposal pointed like a dagger at the heart of American workers.

The Republican leadership has one last chance to win back many of those who make up the 74 percent of Americans opposed to the president’s mass amnesty. If there is not a plank in the Republican Party’s platform condemning amnesties of any kind, it will be a signal that representative government is at a dead end and that it is now time to go to the streets, man the barricades and take back our country.

MIKE MCGARRY

Aspen, Colo.

Working for justice

In “The road to equality” (Op-Ed, Thursday), Wade Henderson and William Novelli rightly celebrate the triumphs of the civil-rights movement of a generation ago.

But they cannot resist endorsing the recently introduced Civil Rights Act of 2004, which they call “the latest example of an ongoing effort to protect further the rights of individuals from discrimination based on age, gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.” Hardly.

This legislation is, from beginning to end, just a plaintiffs’-bar wish list. It equates “discrimination” with statistical disparities and takes a giant step toward enacting the discredited”comparable worth” concept, whereby the government sets wages to ensure that predominately male jobs (like truck drivers) aren’t paid more than predominately female jobs (like secretaries). It stacks the deck against businesses and is aimed not at ending discrimination, but at guaranteeing the trial lawyer’s payday.

In short, the Civil Rights Act of 2004 should not be mentioned in the same breath as Brown v. Board of Educationor the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

ROGER CLEGG

General Counsel

Center for Equal Opportunity

Sterling, Va.

Put your money where your mouth is

Thank you for your moving article about David Berger of Ohio (“Safety concerns at Olympics spur memories of 1972,” Page 1, Thursday), one of the 11 Jewish athletes murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. There is, however, a tragic footnote to the story.

Today in the city of Al-Bireh, in Palestinian Authority-controlled territory just north of Jerusalem, there is a street named Abu Iyad Street. “Abu Iyad” is the nickname of Salah Khalaf, one of the terrorists who planned the Munich massacre. He is regarded as a hero by the Palestinian Arabs. Abu Iyad Street is just one of numerous streets in Palestinian territory named after terrorist leaders, suicide bombers and other perpetrators of atrocities against Israelis and Americans.

Incredibly, the United States gives $215 million in aid each year to the Palestinian Arabs (up from $100 million annually during the Clinton administration).

Why should American tax dollars be used to help prop up a regime that honors the murderers of U.S. citizens like David Berger? Why is the United States supporting the creation of a Palestinian Arab state, when such a state would be ruled by those who hate and murder Americans?

MORTON A. KLEIN

National President

Zionist Organization of America

New York


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