Potential law clerks may opt out to avoid contact with...

Letters to the Editor

December 03, 1998

Potential law clerks may opt out to avoid contact with racism

I am writing in response to Brian W. Jones' Nov. 29 Perspective article "Record complex on court's hires" regarding the hiring practices of the Supreme Court for its law clerk positions.

While correctly noting the shortage of minority applicants for Supreme Court clerkships, Mr. Jones wrongly blames the "race-tinged vitriol" of liberal civil rights activists for the shortage. These liberal activists, according to Mr. Jones, have forced black law students to choose between applying for a clerkship with a conservative judge on the Supreme Court and losing their racial identity.

As a recent law school graduate who is presently serving as a law clerk for an African-American judge in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, I disagree.

Mr. Jones' contention that African-American law students are forced to avoid applying for jobs with conservative judges to maintain their racial identity is pure fantasy. Generally, minority law students do not apply for Supreme Court clerkships because they are uninterested in working for judges who hold legal and philosophical views that are diametrically opposed, and often detrimental, to their own.

Tired of jumping through the hoops of the majority culture, minority law students consciously decide to allow these clerkship opportunities to go to others. This reluctance to apply for these clerkships is a direct result of enduring the draining experience of living with racism on a daily basis.

Mr. Jones' attempt to blame mainstream African-American leaders for the small pool of potential minority clerks is a weak attempt to avoid dealing with the core issue of the historical racism that all too often has left even the best and brightest of the minority talent pool unwilling to seek such opportunities.

However, Mr. Jones is correct that the fault does not lie at the feet of the justices. Instead, the blame lies with a society that has tolerated racism for far too long.

Mr. Jones fails to hold the majority culture responsible for its racism. He takes the easy route and demands that African-American leaders stop limiting the talented young people of color who suffer from a confining racial identity.

I would ask Mr. Jones to wake from his fantasy and ask the tough question: When will the majority culture embrace people of color, create a truly unified culture and appreciate and value the talents and perspectives of people of color?

When that day arrives, I guarantee that the minority applicant pool for clerkships will increase because students will not feel hostility toward their entrance in such prestigious places.

Michael Finley

Baltimore

Racing must find way to fund upgraded facilities

I am writing to comment on The Sun's Nov. 23 editorial "Partnership needed to aid horse racing." While I do not in principle disagree with any of your points, I do feel your some of your suggestions and conclusions are too narrowly focused.

With the advent of full-card simulcasting, the racing business is fast-becoming more regional and national. Racing must address this fact.

Second, racing must compete for discretionary consumer spending and, therefore, must be able to attract and keep repeat consumers. To accomplish this the industry must offer enhanced facilities both at tracks and at OTBs. Increasing purses through state subsidies may assist in competing for horses, but without a source of substantial funds to upgrade the facilities and "total entertainment product," this solution is neither long-term nor efficient. Gaming machines, as they have already done in Delaware and West Virginia, supply this funding.

Lastly, lest we not forget, considering Maryland's present lottery/keno enterprises, Maryland is racing's partner, regulator and competitor.

Fred Metschulat

Baltimore

Sun continues to mask 'Israel-bashing' as news

The Sun's obsession with Israel-bashing has gone too far. Rather than applaud the Israeli government for its critical self-assessment and efforts to educate and improve its society, Sun staffers Ann LoLordo and Jessica Lazar find in this unusual campaign an opportunity to highlight what they clearly perceive to be Israeli society's deficiencies on numerous fronts ("Behave yourselves! posters tell Israelis, Nov. 29).

The authors neglected to mention that the biting comments of one of their sources, Alouph Hareven, may stem from his bias against Israel's government. Mr. Hareven is co-director of Sikkuy, an organization dedicated to enhancing the civic equality of Arab citizens in Israel. By choosing to include his harsh and uneven comments, the article unfortunately deteriorated into an attack on Israeli politics.

We are all entitled to our opinions; however, this piece would have been more appropriate had it been placed in the Perspective section of your newspaper, and not in the center of the front page.

Erika Pardes

Baltimore

A good thing happened -- and the media ignored it

On Nov. 21, I saw what's right in the city of Baltimore.

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