Yale Law Prof. Akhil Reed Amar Amar (“A liberal’s case for Trump’s pick, Brett Kavanaugh,” July 10) lays out a fine argument in favor of Kavanaugh’s qualifications for the U.S. Supreme Court — his studiousness, his thoughtfulness, his “wide and deep” respect among his peers. That’s all wonderful. However, a president who is the subject of a criminal investigation, the end result of which may wind up ruled on by the Supreme Court, should not be allowed to nominate anybody to that court — not Kavanaugh, not Merrick Garland, not the second coming of John Marshall — until the criminal investigation is concluded, unless that nominee promises to recuse themselves from any legal proceedings related to that criminal investigation. Case closed.
Nathan Dunst, Minneapolis
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Amar’s proposed “compromise in procedure” baffles me. First, it requires that senators, who are constitutionally charged to advise and consent to a nominee for the Supreme Court, actually commit to voting yes before any hearings are held. Second, if unwilling to commit to confirmation before questioning the nominee, it requires them to do the job of the president and identify whom he might better have nominated. In exchange, Democrats will insist that Mr. Kavanaugh “answer all fair questions.” Should this not be the obligation of a nominee to any position, let alone a nominee to the highest court established in the Constitution? And wouldn’t Prof. Amar’s modest proposal upend the deliberative process of more than 200 years, making appointment to the Supreme Court merely a game of bargaining and tit-for-tat?
Gail O’Hare, St. Paul
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Here’s why Trump picked Brett Kavanaugh:
“Congress might consider a law exempting a President — while in office — from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel” and “If the President does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available.” These are Brett Kavanaugh’s writings in 2009.
Question: If there are no investigations, how can our legislative branch expect to properly and fairly determine if “something dastardly” has occurred?
The conservative Supreme Court has already ensured that moneyed interests have great power to influence our political process and, clearly, the money has spoken. I think that enacting such a law would be the last straw for democracy. Those words concern me more than anything else about this nominee. People need to start thinking seriously about what the alternatives to democracy might look like.
Peter Truitt, St. Paul
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Liberals on Capitol Hill and in the media are bringing up a 2009 entry of Kavanaugh’s in the Minnesota Law Review that stated, “Congress should consider doing the same, moreover, with respect to criminal investigations and prosecutions of the President. In particular, Congress might consider a law exempting a President — while in office — from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel.” Kavanaugh wrote this when many were questioning President Barack Obama’s citizenship, religious beliefs, etc. We need to keep perspective on when and what people say.
Chris Lund, Hamburg
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Regarding “Senators, ask these questions — and demand answers” (July 10), here is another question: As a defender of the Constitution, how do you view a president who believes that the press is the enemy of the people?
Karen Bachman, Minneapolis
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BREAST-FEEDING VS. FORMULA
No reason for U.S. not to back World Health Assembly policy
I remember and was active in the Nestlé boycott of the 1970s. The company provided free formula for a month or so in Third World countries, just long enough for the mother’s milk supply to disappear. Buying baby formula was beyond the means of these impoverished people, so moms would take a little of the powder and super-dilute it to make it stretch a little longer, often with contaminated water. Infant mortality soared. With pressure from the boycott, the practice stopped.
While no one denies the need for some babies to use formula (“Trump says US had opposed formula limits, not breast-feeding,” StarTribune.com, July 10), there is no reason not to support the policy of the World Health Assembly (“U.S. nixes breast-feeding resolution at world body,” July 9, with reaction in Readers Write, July 10).
How did our country become so callous as to the welfare of children? We have become the bullies of the world: a laughingstock of hypocrisy. When did children stop being treasured and become mere bargaining chips for political and financial agendas?
Joan Buchanan, Roseville
The writer is a retired pediatric nurse practitioner.
GUNS AND DEMENTIA
Put simply, editorial suggesting ‘hazardous mix’ was ageism
The July 9 editorial (“A hazardous mix: Guns and the elderly”) was a really blatant example of ageism. To bring this into perspective, assume that the editorial had cited a few examples of women (Lois Riess, possibly) or African-Americans who had misused firearms in a rage and concluded that therefore women or African-Americans should have their firearms confiscated. The public outcries of “sexism” or “racism” would be deafening.
As a mentally competent senior citizen, I am upset by this type of ageism in our society. Every year I am subjected to more and more slights by people who assume that I am incompetent in many areas just because I am elderly.
The debate about the possible need for legislation to provide a due-process method to remove firearms from dangerous people can and should proceed without condemning whole classes of people.
Ed Hauser, Becker, Minn.
Marcuse and communism: The reality, from personal experience
I knew Herbert Marcuse (“You Don’t Say” cartoon, July 9, and “But what else did Marcuse say?” Readers Write, July 10). He was a professor of political philosophy at the University of California, San Diego when I was a graduate student there, and my wife was his private secretary. She was a charming woman who also had an acid tongue when provoked. Marcuse used to take great satisfaction in the tongue-lashings she would inflict on crank callers who would occasionally try to harass him for being a Communist.
The truth is, although he was a patriarch of the “New Left” of the 1960s, he was not actually a Communist. He simply understood communism better than most people do. To him it was a model for an economy, not merely the philosophy of “them godless Russians.”
I remember being in a class of his one day in which he was talking about Communist principles. Someone raised the question, “You’re making communism sound pretty good. What is the most serious criticism that you can level against it?”
Marcuse at first registered great surprise. “Oh no!” he exclaimed. “I don’t mean to be advocating communism, and the answer to your question is easy. From each according to his ability is fine, but who gets to decide who needs the six color television sets that our society produced this year?”
And, of course, history has shown that just about every communist regime has been plagued by rabid corruption at the top.
David Perlman, New Hope