- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 2, 2005

The Alito nomination

With the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court, there is no question that his selection will set off bedlam in liberal camps and that there will be howls of protest over the president’s “audacity” in nominating a staunch conservative to the court. Judge Alito’s scholarly credentials will matter little in this donnybrook.

The anti-Alito, anti-Bush forces should be reminded that a mere disagreement with a nominee on important issues, no matter how sharp those differences, is not legitimate cause to reject that individual, that great deference is traditionally given to a president’s judicial selections, and that in the absence of genuine evidence that the nominee is wholly unqualified or a true extremist, the individual should be confirmed.

Those who will seek with every fiber of their being to justify the rejection of Judge Alito should be reminded that whether or not they approved of the election of President Bush and whether or not they like it, he is the president. He is the individual with the power and authority to nominate a Supreme Court justice. By every account thus far, and using the standard that always has been applied to Supreme Court nominees, it would appear clear that after much hyperbole, rank partisanship, hypocrisy and grandstanding have occurred — and much blood has figuratively been spilled — Judge Alito should and will be confirmed to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court.


Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Rather than make a choice that is in the best interests of the American people, President Bush has, yet again, made a decision that he believes is in his own best political interests.

Rather than reach out to the majority of American people, who I still firmly believe are moderates, Mr. Bush panders to the ultra-right-wing Christian fundamentalists. This will generate yet another hideous shouting match in Congress — the last thing we need during this confused and stressful time — and more polarization from Mr. Bush, who once claimed he was a uniter, not a divider.

This morning I listened to a debate on Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr., and one “moderate” said, “He’s our president, for good or bad, and sometimes we just need to stand behind him.”

Interesting. I’ve been thinking that our president is supposed to stand behind us. Silly me.


Iowa City

Should a judge rule according to his conscience? The politicians on the left have made it clear that the only acceptable nominee is one who agrees to push their agenda — something the court was never supposed to do. It is the equivalent of a sports team refusing to accept a referee who does not demonstrate a bias in its favor. In defense of our system, this mind-set has to be defeated.

It is a convoluted debate when judicial neutrality is labeled extreme and ideological. Conservatives don’t gain much through a neutral court because they do not believe in pushing their policies through the court. It is just that liberals are afraid of losing an unfair advantage.

This is not an equitable debate. The liberal view is that liberal policies should be advanced through the court, whereas the conservative view is not one of pushing conservative policies through the court; the conservative judicial philosophy is one of political neutrality.

It is sad that the debate is being framed so that the doctrine of neutrality is labeled divisive, extreme and needlessly provocative when it is, almost by definition, mainstream. Perhaps this is an arena where we should emphasize law more than conscience. A judge who rules by his conscience is like a referee who tries to get the “right” team to win.



The ‘defender of faiths’

Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall, are here on a private eight-day tour of the United States, which includes a lunch and dinner at the White House, a tour of the National Institutesof Health, laying a wreath at the National World War II Memorial and attending a ceremony at the National Building Museum.

Unbeknown to most Americans, Prince Charles appears to be on some sort of mission, at least according to “Charles to target U.S. attitude toward Islam” (Page 1, Monday) as he “will try to convince President Bush of the merits of Islam … because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11, 2001.” Also according to the article, Prince Charles finds the American approach to Islamic countries “too confrontational” and says it fails to appreciate “what he regards as Islam’s strengths.” It’s unclear what such strengths may be.

Britain’s heir to the throne showed strong feelings toward the West’s supposed “debt to the culture of Islam,” according to the article, and he “distanced moderate Muslims from militants.”

As someone who has spent a significant number of years in countries populated by large numbers of Muslims, and having observed and understood the concerns of many well-meaning Muslims, I am convinced that efforts to rein in the militant Muslims within their own society cannot be carried out by moderate Muslims alone.

“Extremism is no more the monopoly of Islam than it is the monopoly of other religions, including Christianity,” Prince Charles noted diplomatically, as the true son of the British Empire. All that is needed now is an audience willing to listen and think, and that is where the problem lies. Directing his message to Christians only, His Royal Highness is wasting his time. While most Christians will listen, perhaps even consider the problem at hand, Muslims by and large, even the moderate ones, are not very ready listeners when it comes to the tenets of their religious belief. Not to speak of militants.

The impasse is all but obvious. It will remain as long as theocracy is considered a valid and internationally acceptable form of government. All of this means that action is badly needed and must be done under the leadership of the United Nations. The West, for its part, must request all non-theocratic governments throughout the world to form viable peacekeeping forces with a strict task to combat all terrorist actions based on Islamic or any other extreme religious or political convictions. Nothing less will do.

This is an area of serious concern to most Americans, inasmuch as numerous terrorist acts destroying many innocent lives have been directed at the United States and its people everywhere. It won’t be long before other nations will become equally concerned. Now is the time to act.


Potomac Falls, Va.

The right choice for Maryland

The Democratic Party of Maryland has shown its fear of the possibility of Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele being elected to the U.S. Senate (” ‘Party trumps race’ for Steele foes,” Page 1, yesterday). First, the research director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, along with her deputy, illegally obtained Mr. Steele’s credit report. Now, a liberal blogger has doctored a photo of him in minstrel makeup. (On a side note: The DSCC is paying the legal bills for the two accused in the credit report incident,and the blog had campaign ads from Tim Kaine in Virginia and Bill Richardson in New Mexico).

It is unfortunate that once again Mr. Steele has to be subjected to racial ignorance and promotion of stereotypes by the left. He has been called almost every name imaginable by the Democratic Party for being black and a Republican. But Mr. Steele continues to rise above the hatred and fear to promote a society where we come together and work on what is best for all. He has pledged to be a “bridge” for Marylanders, and clearly he’s the one to do it.

All Marylanders should denounce the racial politics and divisive tactics employed by the Democratic Party. We need to support someone who supports us. When you look around, you don’t see that support coming from the left. Mr. Steele believes in making a better Maryland and a better opportunity for Marylanders. What’s the message coming from the other side of the aisle?



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