- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Crime is no better with age

With President Bush and Sens. Arlen Specter and Lindsay Graham pushing to reward illegal aliens — the reward being higher the longer you have broken it — and the District considering a plan that would make double parking legal at churches on Sunday (“Task force may legalize church double parking,” Metropolitan, Friday) one begins to wonder: Does it even pay to obey the law? The longer you violate the law, the more rewards you reap.

What is next, making murder legal in the District because it has gone on so long and by so many people? Allowing treason? Publishing all the government’s secrets in the New York Times? Why don’t we just make everything legal and then there would be no crime?

CAM TIDWELL

Silver Spring

A different path for feminists

Carrie Lukas’ new book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism,” definitely fills a void and provides a much needed service to women. Mrs. Lukas honestly broaches subjects that feminists do not want to discuss fairly and honestly out of fear that they will somehow lose ground in the march toward equal rights for women.

The problem with feminism in the past and today is that it only encourages and supports one type of woman, that is, women and mothers who work outside the homewhether out of choice or necessity.

The feminist movement addresses and encourages “work-home balance,” “affordable” child care, universal preschool, delayed childbearing and access to infertility techniques, as well as abortion rights. But it has failed to support and encourage women who choose to devote their lives to the raising of their own children. Feminists fail to support women who do not want to delay childbearing until after they have a successful career or who have a career, but decide they would rather be at home raising their children themselves.

Mrs. Lukas hits the nail on the head when she makes the point that “the feminist groups spend such a great deal of time and energy focusing on reproduction rights, it’s amazing how little was focused on fertility issues.” The fact is that feminist groups do not want to focus on this issue because the potential negative consequences of postponing childbearing in favor of pursuing a successful career would come to light. In short, Mrs. Lukas should be commended for having the courage to bring to light this politically incorrect subject and for helping to inform women of the possible consequences of the choices they make in the course of their lives.

JENNIFER WOLFF

Bowie

Misjudged

In an Op-Ed published on June 29 (“Borking Judge Boyle”), Sen. Elizabeth Dole, North Carolina Republican, accused the online news magazine Salon.com of being at the center of a “smear campaign” by the “hard-core left” against Judge Terrence Boyle, a Bush nominee to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Mrs. Dole wrote that mounting opposition to Judge Boyle, following two Salon articles, has been built on “a shameful tactic: character assassination.”

Salon takes accuracy very seriously, and the record shows that Mrs. Dole’s charges are false. Salon — which is a news organization, not a left-wing advocacy group — stands by all of its reporting on Judge Boyle, which can be accessed by the public on this directory page: https://dir.salon.com/topics/bush_judges/.

On May 1, a report by Salon and the Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that since his nomination by President Bush in 200, Judge Boyle has issued orders in at least nine cases that involved five different corporations in which he reported stock holdings, according to financial and court documents. Such activity by a U.S. judge is a violation of federal law.

Mrs. Dole wrote, “An examination of these cases… shows that any alleged breach by Judge Boyle was inadvertent, minor, and, in a number of instances, totally non-existent. In all of the cases cited by Salon.com, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Judge Boyle in any way benefited financially from his involvement.”

Judge Boyle’s violations in all of the cases cited by Salon can all be verified by reviewing publicly available court records and financial disclosures, many of which are available on CIR’s Web site, https://www.muckraker.org/pg_one_investigation-1236-7-0.html. Moreover, in its reporting Salon made no judgment of whether Boyle “benefited financially from his involvement” in the cases. Federal law and the official Code of Conduct for U.S. judges explicitly prohibit judges from sitting on such cases — no matter how small their reported stock holdings — in order to uphold public trust in the judicial system.

Federal statute 28 USC Sec. 455 states that a U.S. judge must disqualify himself from any case with which “he knows that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding.” The law also states: “A judge should inform himself about his personal and fiduciary financial interests, and make a reasonable effort to inform himself about the personal financial interests of his spouse and minor children residing in his household.” The same language is in the official https://www.uscourts.gov/guide/vol2/ch1.html Code of Conduct for United States Judges.

Regarding one case involving General Electric, cited in Salon’s reporting, Mrs. Dole wrote, “It turns out that Judge Boyle owned 50 shares of GE stock worth approximately $1,500 when the written decision in the Bursell case was released. Salon.com has used this fact to transform Judge Boyle into a caricature of judicial avarice.” Mrs. Dole added, “It is hard to see how Judge Boyle could have financially benefited from the Bursell decision.”

The law further defines a judge’s disqualifying “financial interest” in a case, as “ownership of a legal or equitable interest, however small.”

Regarding a case involving Midway Airlines, in which Judge Boyle ruled, Mrs. Dole wrote, “The Salon.com story does not tell you that Judge Boyle was a trustee of a child’s trust, in which he had no direct financial interest.”

The law states that a judge’s responsibility as a fiduciary “includes such relationships as executor, administrator, trustee, and guardian.” (And in fact, Salon did report in two articles, on May 1 and May 23, that Judge Boyle reported stock holdings in Midway in a trust account.)

Mrs. Dole also wrote, “Salon.com even criticizes Judge Boyle for owning stock in Quintiles Transnational, a pharmaceutical company, and then participating in a case involving that firm. It turns out that Judge Boyle sold any Quintiles stock he owned in 2000 — before the case, Quintiles v. WebMD, was filed in 2001.”

But as Salon reported on May 23, Judge Boyle reported owning Quintiles stock in 2001, while he made rulings favorable to Quintiles. Judge Boyle’s financial disclosure forms — available at the CIR links noted above — show that he sold that Quintiles stock in 2002, after the case was over.

The record also shows that Judge Boyle was clearly aware of the federal ethics law in question. Early in his nomination process in 2001, Judge Boyle wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to its routine questionnaire: “I will avoid any conflict of interest, potential conflict of interest, or appearance of conflict of interest. I am disqualified from presiding over, or being involved with, any litigation involving any party with whom I might have any financial interest.”

Mrs. Dole’s erroneous claims about Salon’s reporting closely resemble the contents of a memo circulated publicly by a group of Judge Boyle’s former law clerks in May, which, in the absence of any explanation to date from Judge Boyle himself regarding the cases in question, has become Judge Boyle’s proxy defense in the public debate.

A detailed discussion of that memo’s numerous inaccuracies — including those propagated by Mrs. Dole in her June 29 Op-Ed — can be found in a third Salon report, https://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/05/23/boyle_clerks/index.html, Bench Warfare, from May 23, 2006.

It is up to the Senate to determine whether Judge Boyle’s conflicts of interest disqualify him from a seat on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But Mrs. Dole’s political agenda shouldn’t obscure the fact that Salon reported on Judge Boyle’s record, and the law, accurately.

JOAN WALSH

Editor in chief

Salon.com

San Francisco


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