How can we or the Democrats expect the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to be taken seriously if they are not addressing equally concerning charges publicly levied against their own endorsed candidate for Minnesota attorney general? Neither the FBI nor the police would investigate these accusations unless charges were filed. But even with a credible report of allegations, known to the DFL Party before an endorsement, we have no follow-up and a candidate railroaded through and up for vote without any clarification or inquiry into the allegations.
Will safeguarding the dignity, credibility and well-being of women and our rights as citizens only be protected and paraded when convenient? Where is U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s leadership in seeking reasonable due diligence within our own state?
Voters deserve the two major parties to both demonstrate integrity as long as they control access to our elections.
Cherie Riesenberg, St. Paul
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Three important issues appear to be overlooked in the discussions about Brett Kavanaugh. One is that he was reported to be drunk. Where is the moral and legal outrage about this teen’s alleged illegal drinking? Who provided alcohol to a child, and in what setting was the child able to drink to the point of intoxication? Did Kavanaugh subsequently get into a car and drive while drunk, thereby endangering himself and others?
Second, the attitude among a swath of the public is that this was a youthful indiscretion, something that happened so long ago that Kavanaugh should be allowed to apologize for this or any other similar actions and move forward. This is a horrific message to send to young people. It essentially legitimizes illegal, inappropriate or violent behavior that they might engage in because it “won’t count” given that they are young. On the contrary, we teach children from the earliest ages that we are, indeed, responsible for our actions. We cannot create a double standard for people in power, period.
And third, the misogyny and politics of fear in our society have become so abhorrent that Christine Blasey Ford is receiving death threats for speaking out against President Trump’s candidate. She is being victimized for being a victim. This situation is heinous on so many counts.
Ellen J. Kennedy, Edina
The writer is executive director of World Without Genocide at Mitchell Hamline School of Law and is an adjunct professor of law.
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If Kavanaugh is innocent of the charges leveled against him by Ford, why isn’t he demanding an expedited investigation by the FBI?
Theresa J. Lippert, St. Paul
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The key question is not whether Kavanaugh assaulted a girl when he was 17. The key question is whether his current categorical denial is a lie. If it is, he is disqualified to be a justice.
Focusing on the right question makes clear why an FBI investigation is essential. To expose a lie, senators will need to test his denial against facts provided from others with knowledge. Only the FBI, with its experience in background checks, can gather this information professionally. It can be done rapidly so the Senate has the opportunity to vote before the midterms.
In refusing an FBI investigation, Republicans deny the country an answer to this key question.
Carolyn Chalmers, Minneapolis
That many ‘Don’t Recognize’?
The Star Tribune/MPR Minnesota Poll has recently reported the opinions of so-called “likely voters” regarding the senatorial and attorney general races. I’m not objecting to the methodology or even the results, but am extremely disappointed by the Favorable-Unfavorable-Neutral-Don’t Recognize responses. Two of the candidates had Don’t Recognize scores in excess of 60 percent. All of the candidates are heavily promoting themselves and their policies over traditional and/or social media, so the information is available. The right to vote is unrestricted, but it does come with the moral responsibility to do one’s homework. To those respondents in the Don’t Recognize column, please make the effort to research all candidates and make an informed choice. If unwilling to do so, please just stay at home.
George A. Loomis, Greenwood
A heartless response
Former state Rep. Wes Skoglund writes in a Sept. 18 letter that “the city should have removed the first tent pitched on Hiawatha.” What does he suggest should have been done with the people living in it?
He blames the camp for the fact that two residents have died. Does he feel they would have done better hidden in the woods somewhere, with nobody to discover their bodies for months?
The encampment makes visible a crisis that’s been ignored for decades. Kudos to Natives Against Heroin for refusing to be pushed back out of sight and mind.
Ben Weiss, St. Paul
It is deeply troubling that the U.S. is drastically reducing the number of refugees that we will accept next year (Sept. 18). That headline comes on the heels of the Doctors Without Borders “Forced From Home” exhibition that took place in Minneapolis from Sept. 9-16. Those who visited the exhibition learned that there are currently 68.5 million people worldwide who are refugees or internally displaced, millions of them living in horrific and dangerous conditions. When the largest number of people in history are forced from their homes, how can we justify capping the number of refugees we accept in the U.S. at 30,000, “the lowest ceiling on admissions since the program began in 1980”?
We Americans like to see ourselves as good people. If we want to actually be good people, it is time to stop supporting an administration that continues to implement heartless, mean-spirited policies that include turning away refugees, arresting asylum-seekers at the southern border and separating immigrant children from their parents.
Mary Anderson, Minneapolis
U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis: My work on reform
I don’t normally agree with what the Star Tribune publishes on its editorial page, but I agree with its focus on criminal justice reform Sept. 14 (“Reducing recidivism with helping hands”). In fact, this issue has been a major focus of mine.
Our federal criminal code is so expansive that we truly don’t know the full extent or count of the penalties and crimes. With the increase in federal crimes, we’ve also seen an increase in mandatory minimums, restricting the ability of our courts to consider unique variables of cases. That means more people go to jail for longer periods of time — even when it may not make sense. For example, let’s help the first-time, nonviolent drug offender contribute to society and not be treated like a violent gang leader, feeding into a cycle of recidivism.
We must refocus our goals by helping offenders contribute positively to their families and communities. I supported the FIRST STEP Act, a prison reform bill that has passed the House. But this is just a small piece of what is needed.
That’s why I authored the Juvenile Justice Reform Act with Democrat U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia. It is why I support the Second Chance Reauthorization to help people transition back into communities after serving their sentences. And it is why I joined Scott again in introducing the SAFE Justice Act, which comprehensively reforms our criminal-justice system by reducing overcriminalization at the federal level, reforming sentencing by addressing mandatory minimums and reducing recidivism by incentivizing completion of evidence-based prison programming.
Many states, including Minnesota, have made significant reforms. It’s time for the federal government to follow their lead.
U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn.
The writer represents the Second Congressional District.