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Originally published January 11, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Page modified January 12, 2006 at 1:29 PM

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Letters to the editor

A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.

Chipping the balance

Half the population holds a stake in Alito's confirmation

Editor, The Times:

Judge Samuel Alito's decision to conceal his stance on abortion is deceptive. The American public and their representatives voting on his nomination have the right to know if he is willing to strip away a woman's right to privacy ["All eyes on Alito as he finally has his say," Times page one, Jan. 10].

The induction of an anti-choice Supreme Court justice can create limitations on a woman's right to an abortion, or overturn Roe v. Wade. Either is harmful to the rights of women to choose, and it is crucial that Alito offer our representatives fair and accurate information regarding his position on the abortion issue.

Based on his anti-choice history and the fact that his recent PR move attempts to hide this history, he is not to be trusted with the upcoming Supreme Court decisions dealing with reproductive rights.

— Rachel Farkas, Seattle

Seeing his believing

If David S. Broder, who touts Judge [now Supreme Court Chief Justice] John Roberts' disclaimer of any personal agenda as "thoroughly believable," is concerned about Samuel Alito's "impartiality" to serve on the Supreme Court, then we should all be on high alert ["Weighing the Alito nomination," syndicated column, Jan. 8].

Alito's copious written record proves him to be an extremist, working tirelessly to promote the unchecked powers of the presidency and corporations — and to eliminate a woman's right to choose.

There is no doubt about his positions; they are there for all to see. He cannot be trusted to be the "impartial" judge that Broder and the American public seek. His confirmation would be a blow to our cherished constitutional protections and democracy.

— Beverly Marcus, Seattle

Hit hard past second

What an insult to nominee Judge Samuel Alito and the Supreme Court itself for Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee members to repeatedly remind him of the notion that he is replacing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and that she was a swing vote on the court.

A baseball analogy should again apply here. Are these senators suggesting that O'Connor is much like a second baseman and that they expect Alito to act as she did — play as the second baseman? Or rather should he, if confirmed, have an independent mind on the cases he would hear? I certainly hope it's the latter.

Are they further suggesting that Alito should take a position beforehand, that of a swing voter, like a designated hitter? This would seem to be much like members of Congress do when elected; they immediately take and vote the party line on all issues that come up.

Is this what we expect Supreme Court judges to emulate? Are they expecting the court to be like Congress? How sad!

— John Mizenko, Poulsbo

Go back to first

The Democrats demonize those who would uphold the Constitution. Both Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Harry Reid, D-Nev., in a Democrat-controlled Senate in 1990, voted unanimously to confirm Judge Samuel Alito [to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals], yet now claim concerns.

Kennedy is concerned about the balance of the Supreme Court, which currently leans left, often ignoring the U.S. Constitution.

Reid wants to know if Alito is too radical, but has had no problems with the current leftist radicals on the court.

Alito's confirmation can only pull the court back to the same position of the first U.S. Supreme Court in upholding the U.S. Constitution.

The Democratic leadership has an agenda that often contradicts the Constitution. Judges such as Alito who believe in the Constitution will not deviate, as do the liberal judges appointed by the more recent Democratic presidents.

The American judicial system has been altered by the liberal judges and must be brought back into the balance that has upheld the Constitution since 1792.

— Roger Hancock, Auburn

Seeking position with long-term flexibility

OK, so Judge Samuel Alito, U.S. Supreme Court nominee, said in a 1985 job application that he was "particularly proud" to oppose abortion rights ["Democrats to target Alito memos at hearings," page one, Jan. 9]. The anti-choice crowd loved his nomination, so his view is not much of a surprise.

But how does he explain his statement? Don't worry, he said, that was only a job application. It doesn't mean much.

Now Judge Alito is again a job applicant — this time seeking a lifetime appointment. How much belief should we put into what he says? Not very much.

— Scott Somohano, Seattle

Political appearances

Senator secure outside lobby

I'm writing in response to "Murray should return tainted money," [editorial, Jan. 8], regarding campaign contributions.

You are right about one thing: This story is all about appearances.

Jack Abramoff never darkened my door, and, as you wrote, he never donated to me. In fact, he sought my defeat by contributing to my opponent in 2003.

Apparently, The Times has decided that certain contributions are tainted no matter that they were legally given, legally reported and legally spent. The Times' message is: Return tribal money.

I will not join the rush to scapegoat those tribes who have already been victimized by Abramoff. Your easy answer would be fine if all I wanted was to score cheap points on being "clean."

But as someone who has stood as a partner with Native Americans and championed tribal sovereignty, I'm proud of their support. Your editorial asks, "How would she like to repeat that riff 25 times a day for the next five years ... ?"

I would rather repeat my support for tribes 25 times a day than to even once say "tribal money is tainted" just to make myself look better.

The people of Washington state know that blaming someone for the sins of another just for appearances' sake doesn't make anyone clean.

— Patty Murray, United States senator, D-Wash., Washington, D.C.

Your 2 cents' worth

Spend a little on junk

In response to "Two pennies added to postage today," [Local News, Jan. 8]: Can anyone explain to me why only first-class mail continuously sees [rate] increases?

Wouldn't it be more financially productive to add just a penny (or even less) to each piece of junk mail, which constitutes about 80 percent of the items retrieved from my mailbox?

— Claire Chamberlain, Seattle


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