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Letters to the Editor, Nov. 22 

Judicial speech

I find the argument of attorney Robert Trammell (Nov. 8, “Must Judges Talk”) not merely puzzling, but absolutely unconvincing. Trammell argues that, in struggling against disciplinary action by the Arkansas Judicial and Disciplinary Commission for exercising his right to free speech, Judge Wendell Griffen is “right about free speech … but wrong on an absolute scale.”

In Trammell's view, “If America ever reached a time when the judge you drew had prejudices or inclinations known to all, there would be no perception by lawyer or lay person of a fair system of justice.”

I couldn't disagree more strongly. It is not because we are apprised of the prejudices or inclinations of judges that we conclude judges act with bias. It is because we can perceive that those biases are there but unacknowledged that we lay persons become critically aware of judicial bias.

I find it impossible to imagine a judge who lacks “prejudices or inclinations.” Having grown up in the household of an attorney (who ran several times unsuccessfully for judicial positions), I learned that every judge I knew — and those seeking judicial positions such as my father — had manifold commitments and interests.

That being the case, it is better for lay persons like me to know precisely what we are up against. I have had a single experience of being before the court in Arkansas, as the guardian of my mother. That was a dismal experience precisely because of the strong biases of the judge in question, which, I have discovered, are based in religious viewpoints that allow her to treat some citizens differently. Since that bias was never acknowledged in her dealings with me, and since no watchdog group or supervisory board calls the judge to be accountable for her prejudices, she continues to have carte blanche to inflict pain on other families in which a gay or lesbian family member is providing care for an aged parent.

I notice in your Nov. 8 issue that an attorney closely connected to the judge in question has now announced her intent to seek office. Before casting a vote for that attorney (or, indeed, any attorney seeking a judgeship), I would very much like to know the judge's political affiliation, her outlook on key social issues and how her religious affiliations affect her judicial attitudes. I would like to know if she is indebted to any interest group or to sitting judges.

Free exchange of information is the lifeblood of a healthy democracy. We cannot have a healthy democracy or healthy judiciary when we are forced to buy pigs in pokes by voting for judges about whom we have little concrete knowledge. Judges themselves cannot exercise impartiality until they admit and face their biases, in free and open exchange involving the public.

W.D. Lindsey

Little Rock

The immigrant question

I am amazed when I read the condemnation Alan Leveritt expressed for others that think differently on the issue of immigrants. Have you no regard for the laws of this country? Would you feel the same way if the illegals were highly gifted Europeans coming in droves to possibly alleviate your job?

I happen to think the three state representatives he trashed are the finest in this state.

If he wants to take these people into his home and support them and pay for their medical and social services that is his right. I want my taxes to be shared with persons showing regard for our country and persons wanting to become Americans. These folks can wait forever in line to get here as far as I am concerned because we have enough criminals in our country already. Stealing Social Security numbers and falsification of documents is a FELONY. Many immigrants are common criminals and deserve to be deported immediately.

I am a fairly recent arrival to Arkansas from Southern California, a beautiful area trashed by barrios of illegals that have no interest in being Americans, just an interest in money and services. The figures you and others give for the cost of the illegals can be refuted in almost every instance.

I do not choose to spend my money on illegals but I will sponsor and be responsible for a legal immigrant that desires sponsorship to come to America.

To keep these people that arrive here locked in a foreign language is a form of discrimination as all other cultures, from Cambodians to Filipinos, have managed to learn English as the language used in the country they are in. Has the Hispanic population been designated as the new “slave” class by the groups that cater to folks in Spanish? Obviously there is no opportunity for upward mobility and decent jobs unless you can speak the language of the country you live in.

I sponsored a Mexican citizen during the amnesty of 1985, and I was prepared to support the person I sponsored, if they became a problem to my fellow Americans.

Since Leveritt's sympathy is with the persons breaking the laws of the U.S., he should open his doors and house a few thousand of these folks so I need not be involved with them and the criminal behavior they demonstrate from arrival on through their stay in America.

Barbara Anable

Hot Springs

Dropped call

As other candidates gather endorsements from conservatives, Bro. Huckster and his flock are disappointed and puzzled.

They should take heart and play the God card. The Texas preacher had it right when he equated the Bro. and the U.S. with David and Israel. Bro. Huck was called by God — first to the ministry, then to politics. But, could the Huckster be the victim of a cruel quirk of technology?

Like the television cell phone commercials about dropped/lost calls: God said “Mike, I think you owe it to the nation to run for president...” Then silence and, unheard by the Bro., God continued “... president of the Southern Baptist Convention and then, lose some weight, kill some ducks, and live off the generous health care/pensions from your church and/or state. I'll get back with you. I think Rudy's wife is calling.”

And the Huckster scurried off to Iowa.

Tom Forgey

Magnolia

Jesus on prayer

The biggest opponent of public prayer is Jesus of Nazareth.

We work hard to teach our children to pray in public while Jesus works diligently against us: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you. They have their reward.”

Jesus further instructs us to pray alone in our closets with our doors shut. Jesus also teaches us not to ask the Father for anything other than bread, forgiveness, deliverance from evil and to be led not into temptation.

The religious fanatics of Arkansas have misrepresented and distorted Jesus' message beyond repair. Every time a preacher says, “Now let us pray together,” Jesus is disappointed.

Jesus is not disappointed in us because we coddle homosexuals and pregnant teenagers. Jesus is disappointed because we lay up for ourselves treasure in our bank accounts and we ignore his instructions.

Even though only a few of us will find the way to Jesus, at least we can teach our children not to pray in public.

Gene Mason

Jacksonville

The daily paper

On Veteran's Day the Dem-Gaz ran on their editorial page a column headlined, “Stop making a difference.” One startling inclusion, only slightly paraphrased, was, “All the homeless are drunks, who leave their needles in the park where children find them.”

Not only is that false, but it was ironic on a day honoring U.S. vets, 500,000 of whom are homeless. Some are drunks, some are drug addicts, but a substantial portion are mentally ill and/or traumatized. Some are merely down on their luck, jobless despite their considerable efforts to find a job.

The article, by Thomas Sowell, went on to label “making a difference” and “giving back” as mindless mantras. As I read the article I found myself wondering, “Has he never been treated with charity or kindness by anyone?”

In contrast the New York Times had an editorial on “The Plight of the American Veteran” and an entire section on “Giving.” Bill Clinton has written a book on giving and has been practicing what he is preaching.

I urge you to make a difference, give back and feed the hungry, whoever they are.

Robert Johnston

Volunteer Coordinator/
Feed the Hungry

Little Rock
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