Letters To The Editor

August 08, 2005

Chief justice did not deserve attack over ADA

Mark A. Graber's column "Rehnquist's views argue for his removal" (Opinion * Commentary, July 31) was a disgraceful cheap shot at the cancer-stricken chief justice.

Mr. Graber points to Justice Rehnquist's majority opinion in the case of Patricia Garrett as evidence of the chief justice's hostility toward the disabled. In that case, the court held that private individuals may not sue state governments for money damages under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Justice Rehnquist specifically noted, however, that Title I may be enforced against the states by the federal government or by private individuals in lawsuits seeking only prospective injunctive relief.

Justice Rehnquist never suggested that states were free to ignore their obligations under the ADA.

Mr. Graber also notes that Justice Rehnquist "gave no hint that he approved the federal legislation on behalf of the disabled."

In constitutional cases, however, the role of the judiciary is to declare whether the statute or policy at issue is consistent with the Constitution, not whether it represents wise public policy.

The chief justice's opinion in the Garrett case shows that he understands the judiciary's limited role in our constitutional structure.

Justice Rehnquist has served our country with distinction, even as he has battled a serious illness.

He deserves to be held up as a role model.

Michael P. Doyle

Laurel

Roberts' politics fair game for Senate

Thomas Sowell would have us believe that it is only conservative judges who eschew activism and interpret the Constitution with judicial self-restraint ("Roberts' views don't matter - except for his stance on the law," Opinion * Commentary, July 28).

Mr. Sowell must have forgotten about the Bush vs. Gore case, which effectively stopped the vote counting in Florida in 2000 and sent George W. Bush to the presidency - against my wishes and those of a plurality of Americans who voted in that contest.

If anything, Bush vs. Gore proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that a philosophy of judicial self-restraint goes by the wayside when the political stakes are high.

Therefore, Judge John G. Roberts Jr.'s earlier political activities should be fair game in the Senate hearings.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr.

Baltimore

Exonerations ruin the case for killing

According to the Innocence Project, 160 inmates on America's death row have been exonerated for crimes they never committed - and for which they have paid dearly.

And with Thomas A. Doswell's release from prison after DNA testing proved the innocence he'd claimed for nearly two decades in the brutal rape of a woman in a Pennsylvania hospital ("After 19 years in prison, man is cleared of rape by DNA test," Aug. 2), the case against our nation's shameful adherence to a barbarous system of government-sanctioned murder grows stronger than ever.

The grace and forgiveness in Mr. Doswell's comments upon his release from prison - as he refused to respond in anger or hatred, even toward those who had stolen nearly 20 years of his life on false charges - stand in stark contrast to the cries for bloody revenge heard from those who defend the right of this supposedly civilized nation to murder in the name of justice.

Mark L. Gruber

Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Right to prosecute drug-using mother

The Sun's editorial "Prenatal prosecution" (Aug. 3) completely missed the mark.

It states that "Maryland law doesn't generally treat a fetus as a person."

While this may, unfortunately, be true, the baby in question, who has tested positive for cocaine, is no longer a fetus, but a living, breathing human being.

And while I agree that drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, abusing prescription drugs, excessive dieting, gaining too much weight and drinking too much coffee all can lead to fetal and newborn problems, none of these practices is illegal.

Using cocaine, whether one is pregnant or not, is illegal.

Talbott County State's Attorney Scott G. Patterson is to be commended for prosecuting this case.

We need more people like him who are not afraid to prosecute drug cases.

Ronald Robinson

Baltimore

It's not the diet that led to bankruptcy

The low-carb trend may be losing popularity, but let's also consider that Atkins Nutritionals may be filing for bankruptcy protection for the same reason most companies have financial troubles: mismanagement ("Fading trend turns tables on Atkins," Aug. 2).

I am one of those low-carb dieters who lost a substantial amount of weight following Atkins- and South Beach-type diets, but without using any of the company's special products.

And I have always been astonished by the high prices of the Atkins products.

Did the company really think people would pay anything for its foods?

Could it be that the company's problems have little to do with the fact that people can't stick to a diet?

Is it possible that Atkins Nutritionals' woes are its own fault?

B. Susan Weiss

Timonium

Protecting interests of Saudis, big oil

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