- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 21, 2005

Judical nominations

Regarding your editorial, “No Republican compromise” (Thursday): Never in recent, or even distant, memory has the political landscape been more propitious for conservatives to rebalance the courts.

Conservatives and traditionalists should not behave as if this political landscape will persist. Events in this country and in the world may conspire to annoy, frustrate or frighten voters to the point where liberal “panaceas” appear to be the best path.

Conservatives and traditionalists should approach this judicial struggle with a sense of urgency and resolve. How enthusiastically will global democracy be promoted by America? Will the traditional family survive? Will faith be expunged from the public square?

This is truly a contest to define the prevailing culture in this country, and maybe the world.

THOMAS M. DORAN

Plymouth, Mich.

Your recent article, “Memos reveal strategy behind judge filibusters” (Nation, Wednesday), goes a long way toward explaining the Democrats’ frenzied, over-the-top opposition to the Bush judicial nominees.

Many of the interest groups listed in the accompanying graphic (People for the American Way, AFL-CIO, etc.) are not faced with a mortal threat from this group of nominees. However, one interest group not listed has its fingerprints all over the Democrats’ position.

The objections raised against Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen’s “pro-business” attitude and her “bad record on … personal injury” point to the trial lawyers as the ones pulling the strings. Their ability to influence lawmakers to block any and all tort-reform-minded judges could be the only way they can thwart tort reform and thereby avoid losing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

VICTOR CHOLEWICKI

Washington

Throughout the debate on judicial confirmations, Senate Democrats have continuously claimed that eliminating the minority’s “right” to filibuster judicial nominees strikes a blow at our nation’s constitutional system of checks and balances.

But nowhere in the Constitution are judicial filibusters mentioned or even implied.

The Senate’s “advice and consent” role in the confirmation process is to approve or reject presidential appointments by simple majority vote, as the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent make clear.

Our constitutional system of checks and balances divides power among the three branches of government. The Founders never specified that a single senator, or even a minority of senators, should check or obstruct the will of the majority within one of the two legislative chambers.

Indeed, Senate Democrats are using the filibuster not as a means to ensure extended debate; they are abusing the Senate procedure to systematically defeat judicial nominees who have majority support.

Through their abuse of the filibuster, Senate Democrats have invented for themselves an absolute veto over the president and the will of the Senate majority.

Our Founding Fathers never contemplated such an arrogant abuse of power.

JEFFREY MAZZELLA

President

Center for Individual Freedom

Alexandria

Wexler’s Social Security plan

The article, “Wexler offers proposal to fix Social Security” (Page 1, Tuesday), had my hopes up for a moment. Finally a Democrat with backbone has stepped up to the plate with a plan. Then I read the plan, or should I say rehashing of seven decades of normal operations.

The Social Security tax rate has been bumped up 20 times, from 2 percent in 1937 to 12.4 percent today. The cap has grown from $3,000 to $90,000 during that same time. Adjusting for inflation, the combined effect is a 1,300 percent increase in tax burden on working Americans and their employers. In 1940, the average retired worker benefit check was $22.71. In 2004, it was $922.10. Adjusting again for inflation, that’s a 200 percent increase. Thus, every gain reaped by retirees has come from heaping 6.5 times the burden upon the worker.

Kudos to Rep. Robert Wexler, Florida Democrat, for taking a stand, but tax increase No. 21 is not going to fix Social Security. It will only slightly delay the need for tax increase No. 22. What is needed is a fundamental change, and, to date, President Bush is the only person I’ve seen put forth a proposed solution.

PATRICK M. MCGINN

California, Md.

Chief Gainer serves region well

Though Mayor Anthony A. Williams and some other city officials complain they were not notified about the plane that flew into restricted airspace near the White House and U.S. Capitol, there needs to be acknowledgement of the fact that Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer handled the looming crisis in a commendable manner (“Mayor hits lack of crisis alerts,” Page 1, Wednesday).

Capitol Police had no small task to evacuate 25,000 people from the Capitol and, under Chief Gainer’s leadership, his officers managed to do so with the minimization of panic and ensuing trauma. Not knowing, at the time, that the crisis was nothing more than two lost pilots in the air, Chief Gainer could take no chances. He positively did the right thing.

Though Paul McHale, assistant secretary of defense for homeland security, now says the plane did not pose a terrorist threat, such was not known at the time of the incident. Officials who are now complaining they were not “in the loop” may need to work on better collaborative efforts, but they also need to recognize that those who received notification had to expediently delve into management of the potential crisis at hand.

This region is very fortunate to have Chief Gainer at the helm of the Capitol Police. His proactive stance on security, his astute awareness of various scenarios that could evolve and his unrelenting practice of knowledge and skill development with his officers enhances the safety and security of this region. Capitol Police deserve praise for a job well-done.

KAREN L. BUNE

Adjunct professor

Department of Criminal Justice

George Mason University

Fairfax

Fox’s ‘blatantly racist comment’

Mexican President Vicente Fox’s recent blatantly racist comment that “Mexicans in the U.S. are willing to do jobs that even blacks will not” underscores the intensity and prevalence of racism in Mexico — this in a country that frequently criticizes U.S. immigration policies as being at least partially motivated by racism (“Fox ‘regretted’ remark on U.S. black labor,” Page 1, Tuesday).

As a former adjunct professor of political science who has taught courses on Latin American politics, let me assure readers that few countries are as socially stratified as Mexico when it comes to skin color. Aside from family wealth, the lightness of one’s skin is highly correlated among Mexicans to how favorably one is viewed in society. People with lighter skin, typically of European ancestry, as opposed to those with Mexican Indian ancestry, generally are treated very deferentially, in contrast to how darker Mexicans are treated. Furthermore, darker Mexicans … often the ones who seek to cross into the United States illegally, are labeled with all manner of pejoratives by lighter-skinned, wealthier Mexicans.

In sum, Mr. Fox’s comment was no Freudian slip; rather, he was simply voicing what is without question, at least in Mexico, a common and uncontroversial fact of life: overt racism.

STEVEN BUITRON

Baldwinsville, N.Y.

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