Foolishness is protected by ConstitutionPresident Bush's...

the Forum

July 29, 1991

Foolishness is protected by Constitution

President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court presents a moving target because what he is obscures what he thinks. To get beyond the obviousness of race requires information, reflection and the will to do so. All of which is generally lacking.

Consider the nominee's reported advocacy of a "natural law" concept. "Natural law" as a basis for constitutional interpretation was employed in the last century to justify a status quo which included chattel slavery and analogous legal disabilities for women. The underlying idea attributed metaphysical significance to private property. The rights of property owners were not seen as being subject to the political process, but rather as something ordained by the deity. We have come to take for granted laws that regulate the private economy. However, prior to World War I, this practice was deemed unconstitutional under a "natural law" theory.

Such an idiosyncratic attitude in a Supreme Court nominee portends, at the very least, a predisposition toward "free market" outcomes regardless of the social consequences. Such social Darwinism is an anachronism. "Natural law" as a basis for constitutional interpretation is intellectually disreputable.

The nominee's confirmation should turn upon scrutiny of issues like this one. Other examples include the meaning of the Constitution's equal protection requirement and the scope of judicial remedies. The nominee has reportedly expressed equally eccentric views regarding these latter issues, suggesting that Brown vs. Board of Education was wrongly decided and that "group" remedies are inappropriate.

However, these obtuse notions of constitutional law may escape scrutiny when the issues are reduced to stereotypes of personality. The question is not whether a black man has the right to espouse Reaganite nonsense. Foolishness is constitutionally protected. The question is whether a nominee so disposed would protect and defend the Constitution as we have come to know it.

Unless being blinded by color is the same as being colorblind, President Bush has not applied a colorblind standard in this case. For the sake of the Constitution, the Senate sure as hell better!

Gregory Lewis


Culture of violence

Linda Cotton (column, "A violent state," July 22) has written exactly the end result of a sick and decadent society.

Yes, our American way of life has become more violent and perverse, especially since our Supreme Court legalized abortion -- the deliberate murdering of human life in the womb.

Our society has adopted this abomination as a new-found freedom of violence. It's only natural that this violence would overflow into our everyday world, be it to ourselves, our family or in our corporate dealings. Our media daily glorify acts of violence in shows and presentations.

To avoid this fervency of decay we must eliminate the evils of abortion by overthrowing its legality, bringing back moral teaching in our public institutions, along with responsibility for our own actions, and above all prayer in all classrooms.

If this trend is not reversed, if leadership from so-called Christian communities is not forthcoming, we can expect this violent culture to continue until we reach the same fate as ancient Rome.

David R. Malat



After reading Blanche Coda's letter (Forum, June 27), we had to respond. The imposition of the beliefs of a small group of people onto another much larger one is dictatorial.

A woman needing an abortion for reasons that are her own and not ours shouldn't be denied. And we have not witnessed a single pro-life person fighting for the survival of babies and children who live in poverty all over the U.S., one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

The question we ask Ms. Coda, President Bush and other pro-lifers is: When will you start fighting for our children?

Hollee Patterson

Valencia Spruell


Let's have austerity

The recent increase in the working hours of state employees, under the guise of lack of money, presents me and others with a paradox. The people of Maryland should ask themselves how Governor Schaefer can give himself a 41 percent raise, raise the salary of various department heads, find money for the mansion and large expenditures on a public relations department, whose job it is to toot the horn of Don Schaefer.

Further, how can our U.S. senators, who preach austerity to the common man, reconcile giving themselves a $23,000 raise?

The time has come for citizens to demand that austerity for the few and not the many.

ohn A. Micklos


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