Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 17, 2005

Hearings will let Alito make his case

Thomas Sowell unjustly assails Sen. Arlen Specter's efforts to negotiate a hearing date for the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. ("Specter's shadow dims Republican efforts in Senate," Opinion * Commentary, Nov. 10). Mr. Sowell is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

Mr. Specter never issued a "public warning" to President Bush not to nominate a candidate who would "stir up controversy in the Senate." Rather, Mr. Specter merely stated a political reality that the Democrats may filibuster any nominee they perceived as a threat to Roe v. Wade.

To date, Mr. Specter has successfully shepherded through the Senate Judiciary Committee 17 of President Bush's judicial nominees (one Supreme Court, nine Circuit Court and seven District Court), including many of the most controversial.

For the Alito hearings, Mr. Specter worked to establish a date that would allow for senators to thoroughly review Judge Alito's record.

Mr. Sowell's column fails to consider the nearly 3,750 decisions that Judge Alito has participated in and the 300-plus opinions he has written.

Another important factor is the release of documents from the Reagan Library; no timeline has been given for the release of those documents.

Lurking just below the surface of this process is the possibility of a filibuster on the Alito nomination. A January hearing date takes away the ability of any Senator to say that he or she was forced into a rush to judgment.

This schedule provides the strongest platform for Judge Alito to articulate his philosophy of judicial restraint before the Senate and the American people.

Mr. Specter is in no way attempting to "sabotage" the nomination of Judge Alito or any other nomination by President Bush.

Perhaps Judge Alito would be best served by Mr. Sowell allowing Mr. Specter and the rest of the Senate to do their job and evaluate his nomination in a fair and dignified manner.

William Reynolds

Washington

The writer is chief of staff for Sen. Arlen Specter.

Prescription plan rips off seniors

As a reasonably bright, well-educated accountant, I assumed finding a Medicare prescription plan would be relatively simple. That was my first mistake - never make an assumption when analyzing a government program ("Effect of drug plan in doubt," Nov. 13).

Climbing out of the morass of research, my findings have confirmed my fears about a federal prescription plan for middle-class Americans: We are being bilked - again.

Drug and insurance companies will, no doubt, increase their profits while many seniors will fall through the doughnut-hole gap in coverage.

Meanwhile, the government is making decisions about what medications I may receive and then setting a time limit for how long I should take the medications.

And this Medicare program is more expensive than the prescription plan I have now.

Kitty Douglass

Reisterstown

Tolerating torture a sign of madness

It really amazes me that there remains any debate about whether our highest officials have the right to authorize forms of torture that violate the Geneva Conventions and operate clandestine prisons in Eastern Europe ("Unlawful practices sour intelligence," Opinion * Commentary, Nov. 10).

No civil society in its collective right mind would tolerate such a state of affairs.

The fact of the Bush administration's intransigence on this point, even in the face of opposition from its own party, indicates that these are people who have something even more disturbing to conceal.

Surely this is the sort of thing that should be stopped and swiftly punished. Yet I hear no outcry from our moral absolutists and virtue-crats.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr.

Baltimore

No cookies flung at Morgan debate

I attended the September 2002 debate at Morgan State University between gubernatorial candidates Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, at which some allege that Ms. Townsend's supporters threw Oreo cookies at lieutenant governor candidate Michael S. Steele ("Ehrlich bristles at Oreo skeptics," Nov. 13).

Ms. Townsend's supporters in the audience clearly outnumbered Mr. Ehrlich's supporters that night. And The Sun's article correctly notes that Ms. Townsend's backers rudely interrupted Mr. Ehrlich during the debate. Both Ms. Townsend and Kweisi Mfume asked the audience to behave.

I was in the Murphy Fine Arts Building at Morgan State for several hours prior to the debate, and in the parking lot where the candidates' vehicles were parked. At no time did I see Oreo cookies in the air or on the ground, nor did I see anything thrown from the audience during the debate.

Although I was not backstage with the candidates and cannot say absolutely that no cookie was thrown that day on the campus, I believe it highly unlikely that "it was raining Oreos," in the words of Paul E. Schurick, the governor's communications director, who was quoted in The Sun.

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