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The recent ballot issue in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 is an important benchmark that upholds our freedom ("Justices: Trump will stay on ballot," front page, March 5). While labeled as a victory for Donald Trump, it is a greater victory for "we the people." The unanimous decision confirms that people take precedent over government. Colorado, Maine, Illinois and other states contemplating the same move were soundly overruled.

If you don't like Trump, fine. Support for your candidate by donating to their effort and volunteering in a variety of ways. But let's not go down the road to a patchwork of states deciding who is or isn't going to be on the ballot. The Supreme Court said the interpretation of Article 14, Section 3 went beyond the purview of state intervention. Further, the former president was never charged or found guilty of insurrection. How does that meet the constitutional guideline for removal?

While the ruling directly affects Trump, it will stand as a benchmark for many decades protecting American values and freedom.

Joe Polunc, Waconia


Trump is still disqualified from being president. He took an oath to support the Constitution and, by definition, he participated in an insurrection. The Constitution says that that this disqualification can only be removed by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress. This hasn't happened. Therefore, regardless of the Supreme Court's decision, until it does vote to remove the disqualification, he cannot hold the office of president.

Roger Nelson, Forest Lake


The gaping hole in coverage

As we see threats to IVF in other areas of the country, we have the opportunity to improve access to fertility assistance here in Minnesota. As an OB-GYN physician who struggled with fertility prior to having my two daughters, this subject is important and personal to me. One in eight couples will face infertility, sometimes related to known medical issues or specific circumstances and sometimes without an obvious explanation.

Insurance companies unfortunately often do not consider infertility to be a medical problem with the necessity for work-up and management, so this type of care is often poorly covered or not covered at all. This makes fertility care — particularly at the intensive and expensive level of IVF — inaccessible to countless people in need. The Minnesota Building Families Act would require health care insurance plans to cover the diagnostics and therapy for infertility deemed appropriate between a patient and their physician in accordance with recommendations from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. As we continue to establish Minnesota as a leader in reproductive health care and a haven for people seeking reproductive rights, we are perfectly poised to pass this bill into law this session. Please share information about this bill and contact your legislators to voice your support.

Erin Stevens, Minneapolis

The writer is an OB-GYN physician and legislative chair for Minnesota ACOG.


Quite the display, all right

The scene that's unfolding in Florida (from a reprinted Los Angeles Times editorial, "Vaccine skepticism on display in Florida," March 4) is worthy of a dystopian novel on par with "The Handmaid's Tale." As a physician who worked in Liberia for seven years, I saw a measles epidemic about every four years in which 25% of the children we admitted to the hospital died within the first 48 hours. It's not a disease to take lightly!

Unfortunately, Florida elected a governor who has an ideological agenda that overrides his mandate to govern. He opposed isolation and masking to prevent the spread of COVID and is skeptical about vaccines. He not only insists transgender people deserve no treatment, they shouldn't be mentioned as existing.

DeSantis chose Joseph Ladapo as surgeon general for Florida. Based on Dr. Ladapo's credentials, he looks like a great choice. Born in Nigeria, he has an MD and Ph.D. from Harvard and was tenured at UCLA. However, he was hired not for his medical curriculum vitae but for his DeSantis qualifications. The irony and the tragedy of these events cannot be overstated.

Ladapo promoted the unproven COVID treatments of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin (used in Africa to treat malaria and river blindness, respectively), questioned the safety of vaccines and opposed lockdowns and masking. Ladapo also opposes transgender health care and has accused the American Academy of Pediatrics of being politically motivated in support of transgender people. If Ladapo wasn't a real person, one would think that DeSantis invented him. Now Florida is suffering.

John Fredell, Minneapolis


Council would give away its own job

In her commentary on March 4 ("Ballot initiatives can make for a stronger democracy," Opinion Exchange), Minneapolis City Council Member Robin Wonsley promotes the very bad idea of governance through referendum. Good governance includes a deliberative process in which people affected by a proposed action can have a meaningful voice in shaping the outcome. That doesn't always happen when organized by elected officials, but it never happens in a referendum process.

The recent experience with police reform is a case in point. Broad support for changes in policing was squandered by a referendum process that failed to consult the communities most affected by police brutality. A proposal vetted by the whole community would probably have passed. A yes or no response to language produced by a group of activists did not reflect the true will of the people of Minneapolis.

Tim Mungavan, Minneapolis


At Voices for Racial Justice, we trust everybody to know what they need to thrive. The people who are most impacted by policies are also the people most aware of how those policies could be made to support dignity and joy. In a racially equitable democracy, every community member is represented and empowered to actively participate in shaping the policies and decisions that impact our lives. The Stronger Democracy Stronger Minneapolis amendment, proposed by Council Member Wonsley, is an opportunity to bring the voices and ideas of our communities directly into decisionmaking and to empower us to advocate for ourselves and our neighbors directly.

Empowering Minneapolis residents to influence policy through ballot initiatives would be a significant step toward an inclusive and direct democracy where everyone's knowledge and expertise can make an impact — no matter how much money we have, or how responsive and accountable our representatives are.

Minnesota infamously leads the country in racial disparities (Google the Minnesota paradox). Communities most impacted by racial disparities deserve more than representation; we deserve to be centered in decisionmaking. This amendment is about amplifying voices that have been silenced for too long by our oppressive system that relies on representatives instead of trusting community.

The Stronger Democracy Stronger Minneapolis amendment would expand our democracy and give communities the chance to advocate for themselves when their elected officials can't, or won't.

The time for change is now. The charter amendment for ballot initiatives is a critical step for a more equitable, just and direct democracy.

Nicole Donoso, Minneapolis

The writer is a policy organizer at Voices for Racial Justice.