Editor: Spiro T. Agnew has no shame. His defense of his worthiness (letter, July 13) is a lawyer's argument: His only conviction was for one count of income tax evasion, and the impact of Watergate made it "impossible" for him to receive a fair trial.
It is distressing that public officials too often apply solely a criminal standard to their conduct. If they pass this minimal test, they are, in their own sights, home free.
Surely, the public has a right to expect a higher standard. Moreover, the official's still small voice should remind him that he has to answer to a higher morality than that imposed by the criminal law.
Editor: Your July 8 editorial, expressing concern about what you call the "exceedingly conservative" Supreme Court, regretably focuses on the myopia of liberal doctrine.
I do not recall any hue and cry from The Sun when the exceedingly liberal Warren Court was "unrestrained by precedent" in achieving the results it desired. It is difficult to imagine a more "monolithically ideological court" than that court, with its penchant for criminal defendants' rights.
It all seems to boil down to a question of whose ox is being gored, and now it is the liberals' turn to bleed.
Once again the pendulum has swung, and unfortunately it will continue to do so as long as political philosophy rather than merit is allowed to dominate the nomination of justices by the president and their confirmation by the Senate.
Those who share your concern about the present court should be heartened by the fact that justices, once confirmed and seated, are predictably unpredictable (i.e., Justice Blackmun) and generally become independent thinkers in spite of their perceived ideological philosophy.
! George D. Solter.
Editor: We read that a "conservative" president has nominated a "conservative" to an already "conservative" court. Little has been written to help us understand the meaning of "conservative" and "liberal" and why one or the other is good or bad for our diverse interests.
Conservatives stand for certain virtues: self-reliance, frugality, investment of time and effort for future security and independence, rewards to those who earn them through superior ability, hard work and adherence to moral standards. Conservatives deplore coerced equality and governmental intrusion into the traditional or established hierarchy or status.
Liberals stand for a different set of values: compassion for the underdog, protection of the weak against the strong, equality of opportunity, upward mobility and opportunity for all people without regard to race, gender, age, handicap or nationality, freedom of choice and lifestyle, power decentralized and disbursed to all who seek to participate, collective resources available to those who contribute their talent, time and effort; fairness to all.
Liberals deplore exploitation, corruption of power, domination of the weak by the strong and government power that punishes without making a correlative effort to support and help.
A society which hopes to grow requires a creative tension or balance between conservatives and liberals because each ideology strives to promote its values and become dominant. The resulting struggle or competition imposes on the respective parties an effort to meet the diverse needs of the society and generates a process that stimulates the participants to creative solutions for these needs.
rTC Lawrence B. Coshnear.
Editor: Your editorial of July 1, "The Syrian Message," states "Syrian troops stood next to Americans in guarding Saudi Arabia from Iraqi aggression."
This reminds me of a statement recently made to me and others by Moshe Arens, defense minister of Israel. He stated that the Arab participation in the coalition was like an elephant and a mouse walking across the desert and the mouse stating, "Look at all the dust we are making."
Don't you really think that Israel has real cause to be concerned about Syria?
Don't you feel that it would be reasonable for Israel to act slowly and cautiously to make sure that Syria and the other Arab nations actually live peacefully with Israel rather than merely just speak of peace?
' Alleck A. Resnick.
Editor: Your July 15 editorial indicating that the General Assembly was "holding biotechnology hostage" gave the wrong message. The General Assembly had legitimate questions about the Maryland Bioprocessing Center Inc.
Clearly, the July 16 meeting with Senate and House panel members resolved the lawmakers' concerns. At the meeting, the Senate and House Budget subcommittees voted to approve the release of design funds for a facility that will provide Maryland with a strong competitive advantage in biotechnology.
All parties involved -- the Department of Economic and Employment Development, the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland System and the private sector -- are elated at the support of the General Assembly.
Similarly, there are still outstanding issues to be resolved concerning funding for the Baltimore Convention Center, but we are greatly appreciative that the House Budget subcommittee has given its unilateral and prompt support of this project.
! J. Randall Evans.
The writer is secretary of the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development.
Editor: I am a black American who applauds the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the nation's highest court, and at the same time I find discouraging the remarks made by the black leadership of Ron Brown, Jesse Jackson and Benjamin Hooks, who expressed disappointment because Judge Thomas is not cut from the liberal cloth as his predecessor, Thurgood Marshall.
Hence this triumvirate is implying that for a black political aspirant to venture away from the fold which promotes a belief that all blacks should support a liberal ideology, then black Americans should express outrage at such a politically minded individual who threatens the status quo.
Odd, that when David Souter replaced William Brennan on the bench liberal whites held no news conferences assailing Judge Souter's nomination (as did the black leadership to Judge Thomas' nomination) nor did the black leadership voice venomous disapproval of Judge Souter. Then how can the reverberations of the black leadership to a Thomas nomination be explained.?
The nomination of Judge Thomas and the subsequent reactions makes two things quite clear to me:
(1) Political dichotomy is not only expected among whites but also respected. (2) The disenchantment expressed by the black leadership because of Mr. Thomas' nomination has succeeded in taking the nation back to that "shuffling" stereotype that says all blacks vote Democratic, must be liberal and support welfare unreservedly -- a perception, sadly enough, albeit untrue, believed by many whites.
Justice Marshall and Judge Thomas each felt the debilitating sting of racism growing up. However, each fashioned in his own way the most effective method of combating such injustice. Thurgood Marshall's voluminous efforts to enfranchise blacks have cemented his rightful place in American history.
Growing up a young lawyer Thurgood Marshall's was a time when blacks were so thoroughly stripped of worthwhileness that advancement was possible only through a singular voice, a singular direction aimed at awakening white America to its many injustices.
However, in 1990 that political ploy is nothing more than an anachronism for there are far too many issues that concern all Americans (health care, for instance).
Black America must accept the inevitable conclusion that blind obedience to liberal dictums is not the elixir that will take many of us out of the throes of despair and poverty and into the 21st Century. Integration into a multifaceted political process will.
Judge Thomas espouses conservative beliefs as the best way for blacks to integrate the system and to develop self-reliance, grow politically, economically, and above all without having liberal obedience holding the mortgage to our self-worth.
Judge Thomas, in my estimation, is supremely aware of this and, political considerations notwithstanding, I congratulate President Bush on a fine choice in his nomination.