D.J. Tice (“The right way to nominate a justice … ,” Oct. 30) takes umbrage with Hillary Clinton’s response to hypothetical questions about future Supreme Court appointees, but gives a pass to Senate Republicans who have refused to do their constitutional duty of holding hearings and voting on the legitimate court nominee of the current president. Indeed, it’s the politically motivated, starkly partisan and disrespectful behavior of Senate Republicans that has made the court a key issue in the current presidential election. That John McCain and other Republicans are already gearing up to repeat their defiance of their constitutional duties should Hillary Clinton become president, only underscores their hypocrisy in not attending to Merrick Garland’s appointment.

Garland’s is one of many federal judiciary appointments languishing as “pending,” even though the appointees are highly respected by conservatives and liberals alike, and are known for their fairness and expertise.

As to Clinton’s remarks that Tice quotes, she’s saying in a nutshell that the role of the court is to uphold the Constitution, and that the Constitution’s protections extend to all American people, regardless of gender, class, race, sexual orientation, etc. That’s the guarantee of our democracy.

Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights


The Rorschach test of the party leaders’ pleas to voters

The contrast between the Minnesota House leadership in the pair of Oct. 30 commentaries (“Minnesotans, you have a hiring decision”) is revealing, I believe. House Speaker Kurt Daudt wrote that the Affordable Care Act is not working for Minnesota. Has he talked to citizens who are able to have insurance coverage now? Unfortunately, 5 percent of our citizens are experiencing huge insurance premium increases in the individual market. MNsure did not raise insurance premiums; insurance companies did that.

Daudt goes on to say Republicans have put forward ideas to lower costs, but instead of stating what they are, he spent the rest of the article promoting legislation that Democrats had a large part in introducing and passing. Does anybody remember the $2 billion deficit inherited from a previous Republican administration and the IOUs to our school districts and cities? Democratic leadership eliminated the deficit, paid back the IOUs and created a budget surplus, mainly by raising the tax rate on higher incomes.

Does anybody remember the special session in 2015 and the debacle of the 2016 House session? Daudt and Republican members rammed an omnibus bill through the House in the closing minutes of the 2016 session, then expected the Senate to pass the bill without debate, revision or amendments. That is not leadership, and it is no way to govern.

Instead of dividing this state, Rep. Paul Thissen stressed the importance of working together and presented possible short-term and long-term solutions for reducing individual insurance premiums. Thissen’s proven effective leadership makes it clear why in this election we need a Democratic majority in state government to end Republican obstruction and return to effective governance. Vote on Nov. 8 for Democratic House and Senate candidates.

Philip Heim, Medford, Minn.

• • •

I just read Paul Thissen’s commentary. What a hypocrite! When he blames House Republicans for gridlock and says they have “the corner on cynicism,” and blames them for the “divisions of the last two years,” for “tearing down the opposition” and for “finger-pointing and bickering,” he needs to look in the mirror. Have you ever seen an interview with him where he wasn’t tearing down House Republicans, being cynical and finger-pointing?

He says Republicans don’t want Democrats in control “because too much will get done.” Interesting, since they have had control of the Legislature for the majority of the last 44 years. Why don’t we already have updated and new roads and bridges across the state? (Republicans had money for this in the bonding bill that the governor vetoed). Why don’t we have top dollar spent on education at all levels? (Republicans fought to keep $605 million in new funding for education.) Why don’t we have an affordable, workable form of health insurance for all? (Republicans have offered improvements to health care and have been opposed by Thissen and his party).

Thissen also says Republicans will ask for you to vote for them “to continue the gridlock of the last two years.” What a ridiculous statement. This from the man who asks Republicans for transparency but pushed a bill to fund Southwest light rail even though the House never even had a hearing on the proposal. Compromise involves openness, and respect on both sides.

Kathy Brown Dodds, Lonsdale


Las Vegas paper is for Trump. Take that with a grain of salt.

The endorsement of Donald Trump for president by the Las Vegas Review-Journal was printed Oct. 30 as a counter to the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Don’t think that the appearance of each of these indicates equal editorial support for the candidates. Per Wikipedia: Trump has been endorsed by just eight daily newspaper editorial boards, and the Vegas paper is the one and only major one. Clinton has been endorsed by 215 U.S. dailies.

The Review-Journal was recently purchased by Republican mega-donor and (like Trump) casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. We should take with a grain of salt any advice, and particularly economic advice, from men like those whose business models depend on our tendencies to make money decisions based on bad math and superstition.

Most publications, like the Star Tribune, acknowledge that Hillary is not the perfect candidate, but that she is experienced and steady. Wide-ranging editorial warnings about the erratic, abrasive and divisive Trump are very nearly unanimous. Does this lack of confidence in Trump portend uncertainty and investor unease that will tumble the world back into recession? Trump as president is a dangerous crapshoot, and the stakes could not be higher.

D.C. Smith, Minneapolis


Our procedures, in detail

I applaud former Supreme Court Justice Paul H. Anderson’s excellent Nov. 3 commentary “Rigged voting in Minnesota — it’s a myth.” As a head election judge for the past decade, I can concur that Minnesota makes every effort to hold fair, honest and secure elections.

Here’s what really happens. Election judges receive training in all facets of the voting process. They arrive at 6 a.m. on Election Day and certify, as observed by members of two opposing parties, that the number of ballots is accurate, initial each ballot, certify that the starting number on the machines is zero, certify the serial numbers of voting machines, verify all registration materials, then maintain an accurate count of people who vote by machine numbers and actual signatures of voters. A head judge supervises all operations and ensures that proper voter sign-in processes and handling of ballots are followed. Any spoiled ballots are accounted for and kept separately.

At the end of the evening, the number of ballots cast on the machine are certified to match those in the sign-in registrations. Opposing party individuals certify the number of ballots cast, the total available, the serial number of the machine, the total new registrations and the final totals, including the new registrants and spoiled ballots. After all ballots are certified, they are placed in a box, sealed and signed by all judges. Then the head judge and opposing party person deliver the ballots to the municipality that supervises the voting system. They are turned in, then re-verified by the agency staff and finally signed off.

The system has many checks for honesty and accuracy. With paper ballots, any discrepancy in numbers can be manually verified. It appears, as Anderson suggests, that Minnesota does everything it can to ensure the system is honest, accurate and verifiable. Anyone who thinks this system is rigged has never been involved in the process. It is as good as it gets.

Robert Shumer, Burnsville