Saturday Mailbox

July 16, 2005

The next justice will shape scope of our liberties

Paul Moore's column "Supreme Court battle must be kept in perspective" (July 10) attempts to downplay the importance of the battle over the next Supreme Court justice. While "extremely important," it's "not likely to be of apocalyptic proportions," or so he says.

I say it all depends on who the next justice is.

If the present occupant of the White House succeeds in nominating and getting confirmed someone who is acceptable to the extreme religious right and follows that up by replacing the very ill chief justice with someone of like mind, I would say it's definitely an apocalyptic situation.

It matters very much who sits on the court that determines the extent of our constitutional rights.

How much freedom of speech or expression will we have? Will it become legal to require the posting of somebody's version of the Ten Commandments or other religious slogans in our public schools or in government buildings?

Will we citizens be legally required to help fund (even more than we do now) religious schools?

And I haven't even gotten to whether the reproductive rights of women will be further curtailed by the overturning of Roe vs. Wade.

The only good thing I see in Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement is her stated willingness to stay on until she is replaced.

I hope that unless the person nominated to replace her is at least as moderate as she is (which I do not expect), the replacement process will take at least three years - or until such time as the present White House occupant is in no position to do us further damage.

Kenneth A. Stevens


Court must return to Christian values

Christian moral values are a vital issue in choosing a Supreme Court justice soon. Make no bones about it: We have been putting up with irrational court decisions that have drastically altered our national visage for too long now.

The simple truth is that the majority of Americans do not believe in the distorted views that have become laws by litigation. The election of President Bush showed this. But the losers will not acknowledge defeat, so they have to get the courts to declare rights the people have not voted for.

When Roe vs. Wade was handed down, stretching the Constitution to find some way a woman could destroy her unborn child by abortion, our legal brains came up with "freedom of choice."

Never mind that this freedom does not extend to other things and this newly defined "choice" does not apply to anything else, such as freedom to pray as granted in the First Amendment or freedom to bear arms as granted in the Second Amendment.

It burns the mind of sane citizens when brilliant legal brains determine that burning the U.S. flag is somehow an expression of freedom of speech, whereas burning a cross is not.

Pornography is permissible, but religious views somehow are not. And posting the Ten Commandments on public property is regarded as a violation of the separation of church and state - even though no such principle is mentioned in the Constitution.

It is time that we the people restore our fundamental moral values to the fabric of society through jurisprudence, instead of being deprived of those values by arrogant jurists with little prudence.

The Rev. Robert T. Woodworth


Overlooking the role of Elijah Cummings

It was with great interest that I read The Sun's editorial praising the efforts of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) ("Raising political capital," July 11). And while I agree with its assessment of the CBC's current direction, I found it odd that The Sun remained silent about the accomplishments of Baltimore's own Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.

As the immediate past chairman of the CBC and one of its most active members, Mr. Cummings has been nationally recognized for his effective leadership.

While chairing the caucus, Mr. Cummings established a close relationship with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell that helped lead to the administration's intervention in conflicts in Liberia and Haiti. These efforts averted tragic bloodshed and saved many lives.

It is important to note that Mr. Cummings pioneered the CBC presidential debates, forging a relationship with Fox News to bring often-overlooked urban policy issues to a nationally televised audience.

He also laid the foundation for the caucus' current outreach to other organizations by greatly expanding communications and joint activities with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, the National Conference of Black State Legislators, the Democratic Governors' Conference and the national Jewish community.

And under Mr. Cummings leadership, the CBC's membership increased from 39 members to 43 members - the largest increase in at least a decade and a remarkable feat given the dismal showing of Democrats nationally.

All in all, it is safe to say that the accomplishments of Mr. Cummings have been tremendous. Baltimore should be proud of one of its native sons.

Maya Rockeymoore


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