Judicial nominee secrecy, don’t litter, stop gun deaths

07/29/2013 5:29 PM

07/29/2013 5:30 PM

Brownback wrong

Under a recently adopted judicial selection process, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced that he will evaluate potential nominees without public disclosure of their names.

The governor defended his decision by pointing to an allegedly similar practice by the American Bar Association. The governor observed that “the ABA recommends this method of selection.” The first statement is misleading, the second erroneous.

The ABA takes no position on the governor’s decision regarding disclosure of potential appointees. Although the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary conducts reviews of potential nominees confidentially, that function is not analogous to the governor’s.

The committee provides the president with an objective, nonpartisan peer evaluation of a potential nominee in confidence; it plays no role in the selection of candidates or nominees.

The ABA emphatically does not recommend Kansas’ new method of judicial selection for circuit court judges. In fact, it opposes that method, which eliminates the independent nominating commission and confers complete control over the judicial selection process on the governor and senate.

We believe this approach invites partisan politics instead of merit-based review of a potential judge’s qualifications.

Laurel Bellows



Bar Association

Washington, D.C. Don’t litter roads

To the person driving the white sport utility vehicle with a bicycle in tow, getting on Interstate 470 westbound on a Sunday morning around 8:30, who put his window down and threw a banana peel onto the road ... seriously?

Francis X. Matthews

Lee’s Summit Osterheldt’s column

Jeneé Osterheldt’s July 16 commentary, “I’m afraid of the next George Zimmerman,” points to her inability to move beyond stereotypical beliefs and presumptive thinking that perpetuate false convictions. My world vision differs.

I’m a 70-year-old white woman who moved to Kansas City 10 years ago. In 2005 and 2007, I was assaulted while walking. My teenage grandson was attacked in 2006 and 2009. Each assault occurred in daylight hours.

Does the fact that in each instance the assailants were black males make me or my grandson prejudiced or afraid to take a stroll or think every approaching black man is a thug? No.

The problem is violent behavior, not race.

Henry Thoreau (1851), William Atkinson (1908) and President Franklin Roosevelt (1933) counseled: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Psalm 27 asks, “Whom shall I fear?” Only the Lord, “the defense of my life,” so that I may “walk in the paths of righteousness.”

My family walks without fear after personal attacks. Why should one dread an anonymous George Zimmerman lurking around the next corner? Fear begets fear.

So, let fear die. Let faith, hope and charity confront the harshness of evil. Worry wastes time.

Carol Charisman

Kansas City Foreclosure woes

It is unfortunate that the letter writer (7-27, Letters) is having her home foreclosed upon. However, this is happening because she tried to cheat the government and other taxpayers in an attempt to save some money.

When she admits that she intentionally missed loan payments in an attempt to get a lower interest rate on her mortgage, she has lost any sympathy and understanding she might get from Joe Taxpayer.

She could point the finger all she wants and blame others, but when she decides to act in the manner she did, then she needs to accept the consequences of her actions.

I’m sure some people would say more power to her for trying to stick it to the government. Unfortunately, any money she would have saved would ultimately come out of my pocket (the taxpayer).

George Creason

Lee’s Summit Stop the killings

I guess I’m missing the point some are trying to make in their letters about gun control. Does it really matter if more people die in swimming pools or cars than die of gun shots?

These arguments seem to be divisions rather than useful. It seems to me that we need to put as much effort into controlling needless injury and death as we can.

We have many governmental groups whose job it is to help protect us from evil-doers. Some seem to go overboard, but it’s up to us, the voters, to get them back in line.

I guess maybe the old saying is true. “When you’re up to your neck with alligators, it’s hard to remember you’ve come to drain the swamp.”

In this case, we seem to be up to our necks in people needlessly dying. We really must stay focused on doing something about it and stop pointing fingers at someone else.

Just because someone else kills more than I do it doesn’t justify my killing. At best, it is a very lame argument.

Joe Woelfel

Olathe Remember freedom

An oft-repeated phrase around the Fourth of July is “freedom isn’t free.” But it is troubling how that comment is interpreted almost exclusively in terms of the military.

How many people watching fireworks with the usual emphasis on patriotism, freedom and celebration voted or will vote in more elections than not during their lifetimes? Do those who grilled and enjoyed a day of leisure consistently read widely and deeply to understand local, state, national and international issues as well as possible?

Millions of patriots didn’t seem to notice or care that the American educational system decayed over the last several decades and is now in ruins.

No, freedom isn’t free. But Americans’ critical-thinking skills are so numbed by sound bites and the pleasure principle that we can’t do the math anymore to remember the real currency — and how much of it — freedom really costs.

Anne Johnston

Kansas City Kauffman Stadium

Every so often someone writes a letter expressing the opinion that Kansas City should have a baseball stadium downtown just like Baltimore, Denver, Boston, St. Louis, etc. They insist that this would be a boost to the Power Light District and downtown in general.

They are wrong. If a baseball stadium could revitalize a community, then the Bronx around Yankee Stadium should be the most vibrant area in New York City instead of the burned-out, bombed-out, bummed-out shell of a neighborhood it is.

The cities I mentioned all have something we do not: a subway/mass-transit system.

When we have a light-rail system that goes to Liberty, Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs, Grandview, Olathe, Gladstone, Kansas Speedway and Kansas City International Airport, then, maybe, we can seriously consider a downtown stadium.

Until then, get in your car and drive to Kauffman Stadium and thank God that you have a place to park that is not on somebody’s front lawn like at old Municipal Stadium.

Dick Davenport

Lee’s Summit Secure U.S. borders

I cringe every time I hear the comment that we cannot have an immigration bill without a secure border. Sen. Rand Paul recently stated that “immigration reform started with a secure border.”

How do you define a secure border? If your definition is no illegal crossings, how would you prove that there were no crossings?

How would you prove a negative? If 100,000 tried to cross and only 1,000 crossed undetected, are we 99 percent secure?

If 50,000 actually crossed undetected, are we only 50 percent secure but still think we are 100 percent secure?

We will never have a reliable method of measuring a secure border.

I am old enough to remember the Berlin Wall. It was 70 miles of heavily guarded and mined border, but there still was a constant trickle of crossings.

The Berlin Wall could be defined as insecure by politicians. If a border cannot be secured for 70 miles, how would we secure a border of 1,960 miles?

My point is that the requirement for a secure border is an unattainable and unmeasurable poison pill that will kill any real immigration reform.

Gary Laws

Overland Park

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