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The Nomination of Clarence Thomas

I am disturbed by the opinion-page column "Diversity on the Supreme Court," July 17. I agree that intelligence and discernment should be the primary qualifications for a nominee to the Supreme Court. Yet about Clarence Thomas's record we hear only that it "has been middling." We are given no information about what "middling" precisely means.One might suspect that "middling" includes not liberal. For if intellect were the primary qualification then one obvious nominee would be Robert Bork. But Bork was not confirmed and the reason was clearly his stand on the political right. The Thomas nomination threatens the left in this country. Not only will Thomas consolidate the conservative majority on the Supreme Court; his mere existence as a black who decided (based on his upbringing by poor sharecroppers in Georgia) to support a conservative approach to civil rights threatens the liberal claim to advocate what is best for minorities in this country. Gretchen Starr, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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