The Nov. 2 article, "On abortion, a nuanced stance," points out that the new Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito, voted 3 out of 4 times on the side of abortion rights. Now we need to know whether he voted this way in order not to be overturned by the Supreme Court later, or because he truly was convinced that his decision was in accord with the Constitution.
Some judges on appeals courts vote on the basis of past Supreme Court decisions, but when they get to the top bench themselves, they may vote otherwise. The Senate has the duty of determining the beliefs of the nominees.
It is perfectly proper for the Senate to reject a candidate for any court position if a majority feels that candidate will not follow the Constitution. This is a very important piece of the checks and balances system. The Supreme Court was never intended to be as supreme as the media today makes it out to be.
Regarding the Nov. 3 article, "Drilling in ANWR? It's closer than ever": The claim made by drilling advocates that "just a few square miles of the refuge would be directly affected" by oil exploration is technically correct, but quite misleading. The specific proposal made by members of Congress who want to open up the refuge to development states that "the maximum amount of surface acreage covered by production and support facilities ... [should] not exceed 2,000 acres."
Given the fact that oil pipelines are suspended off ground on piers, that oil rigs rest on pods, and that buildings in the Arctic are raised up on pilings so that their heat does not melt the permafrost, limiting oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to 2,000 surface acres is hardly the modest proposal that drilling proponents would have us believe. This much is clear from the fact that the minimum lease size of the first tract sold to oil companies, as stipulated in a House resolution introduced this year, is to be "in no case less than 200,000 acres."
This infamous "2,000-acre ruse," as a Boulder Daily Camera editorial put it in 2001, casts serious doubt on the credibility of drilling advocates, both in terms of the amount of oil that might be extracted from ANWR, as well as how safely it can be done with respect to the environment.
Regarding Daniel Schorr's Nov. 4 Opinion column, "Remember the cause of the CIA leak": I am eager to read and understand other points of view, especially liberal points of view. I want to understand what is important to liberals, but I frequently have a hard time getting around what appears to me to be their disingenuousness.
The second paragraph in Mr. Schorr's column accuses the US administration of misleading Americans to believe that Iraq would harm us with their WMDs. That in itself is disingenuous. We were not afraid of the Iraqi military. Our concern was that any supply of WMDs from Iraq, irrespective of how meager it might be, would wind up in the hands of radical Muslim bombers and be smuggled into the US. The fact that Saddam Hussein was sympathetic to radical followers of Islam is unarguable. Yet Schorr disguises the key concept of Iraq's cooperation with radical Islam. We are in Iraq because minor amounts of WMD smuggled into the US could kill millions, not because we were afraid of Iraq's government per se.
Fred R. Hogeman
Baton Rouge, La.
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