How hypocritical of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to insist that President Donald Trump’s next Supreme Court nominee must “respect precedent” (“Senator warns of ‘hostility’ to Roe case,” July 2). Would she have respected the precedent set by the Taney Court in the 1857 Dred Scott decision? What about Plessy vs. Ferguson, the 1896 Supreme Court ruling that held that “separate but equal” met the standards required by the 14th Amendment?
A Supreme Court justice must respect not precedent but the Constitution. In our constitutional republic, only Congress, the state legislatures and the people themselves (through legislative referendum or direct popular initiative) may make law. Interestingly, the Supremacy Clause of Article VI nowhere mentions court decisions of any kind among those acts considered to be “the supreme law of the land.”
Trump’s nominee should respect precedent? Really? Roe vs. Wade itself constitutes the strongest rejection of precedent ever perpetrated by a governmental body in our nation’s history. In Roe, the court utterly repudiated several thousand years of Western civilizational precedent, including science, Greek philosophy, Roman law, the church, the Bible, English common law, the Magna Carta and the Mayflower Compact — all of which combined, however imperfectly, to establish and uphold the principle that innocent human life is sacred. We have now reaped the harvest: 60 million such lives destroyed by the most horrific of methods, with no end currently in sight. Mao and Stalin would have loved it.
Under Article III, Section 2, Congress can overturn and vacate Roe and its related rulings. It should do so without further hesitation.
John Windsor, Apple Valley
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As political pundits from both sides of the aisle focus on the significance of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement and women’s access to legal abortion, a stark reality emerges. For decades, dialogue about women’s reproductive rights has remained centered on access to legal abortion. Yet access to affordable and comprehensive health care, care necessary for women to carry a child full-term and start a child off on a healthy life, has eroded. Domestic violence, including homicide of pregnant women, contributes to maternal mortality rates. Medical mortality rates throughout the nation continue to rise. It is 2018 and the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of the developed world at 26.4 per 100,000. The U.K. has 9.2; Canada, 7.3; and Finland, 3.8. I’m thinking the conversation about reproductive rights needs to be a heck of a lot more comprehensive.
Julie Risser, Edina
SUPREME COURT AND TRUMP
When it comes to cases involving the president, recusal is likely
Trying to persuade Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to be fair and delay this Supreme Court appointment until after the midterm elections is futile; the man knows only raw power and will wield it as he wishes. We have seen that already.
However, Justice Neil Gorsuch and whoever is appointed to retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat are under supremely strong precedents to recuse themselves from any judicial cases involving the personal legal issues of the man who nominated them to their positions. That leaves two Republican Supreme Court appointees out of the mix, and I like those odds a lot.
Mary McLeod, St. Paul
On Janus ruling, Editorial Board re-ups its long-standing animus
As a 44-year reader of your newspaper and a 40-year employee (now retired) of Hennepin County, I found the June 29 editorial (“Unions must reform after Janus ruling”) to be consistent with the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s long-term animus toward government employee unions.
The editorial cites two examples of union “excess”:
• “Large financial contributions that flow exclusively to one political party … .” Back in the 1970s and ’80s, my AFSCME local had staunch Republican union members. In the ’90s, the Legislature had a Republican state representative who was a union advocate. Since then, Ronald Reagan’s statement that “government is not the solution … government is the problem” has become party credo, and a 20-year incumbent legislator supportive of unions was effectively drummed out of the party.
Why would my union contribute to a party that is inimical to its very existence?
• “Union zeal for defending poor employee performance … .” A core function of unions is to defend poor — and exemplary — employees accused of poor performance. As a former union steward, I can attest that when those in management followed personnel rules and the union contract in disciplining employees (including efforts to help improve performance and adhering to gradated disciplinary measures), they were able to impose any form of discipline, including job termination. I can also attest that when they failed to follow these clearly stipulated procedures, they did not hesitate to blame the union for their inability to fire poor employees.
My union has been denied fair treatment in the (supreme) court of law in the form of the Janus decision — and denied fair treatment in the court of public opinion in the form of the Star Tribune editorial.
Roger B. Day, Duluth
Tip: If you want to escape the frenzy, you have options
While Cook County “vacation home” and cabin owners fret over tax issues (“Cabin rental frenzy spurs tax debate,” July 1), Minnesotans should be reminded that state parks alone have more than 70 camper cabins available for rent throughout the year. Reservations are stacking up fast during these remaining summer months, but openings are still available. And don’t forget about a selection of county and regional park rental cabins as well. Enjoying the comfort and luxury of a cozy cabin at a quarter of the expense of most vacation cabins is yet another reason to seek them out.
Tom Watson, Appleton, Minn.
The writer is author of the guide “Best Minnesota Camper Cabins.”
Two takes on storytelling
My 12-year-old son has slowly made his way from the comics to other parts of the paper now. Even before I rise out of bed, I am pleased that he is finding his way through news articles. The July 3 paper covering the rescued Thailand soccer team (“After 10 days in cave, a miracle”), some fragile fingerprint forensics (“Preserving a precious imprint”) and the long-lost sister next door (“Woman’s search for sister has a neighborly ending”) are clear reminders that there is good around us that deserves print. As I was pouring my coffee, ready to tackle my already crumpled newspaper, he said, while playing with Legos, “Good articles in the paper today, Mom.”
Susie Valentine, Minneapolis
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The Star Tribune demeans the intelligence and hard work of the people involved in trying to rescue the Thai boys by having the headline describing finding the kids as a “miracle.”
With the number of people involved and today’s tech, it would be unusual not to find the boys. If the Star Tribune has special knowledge of which god was responsible for this “miracle,” please share it.
Robert Dachelet, Wayzata