Nominee needs to respond to Senate concerns

As a Democrat, I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to U.S. Circuit Judge John G. Roberts Jr. for becoming the White House's nominee to be the next Supreme Court justice ("Roberts chosen for court," July 20).

This is not because I agree with him on most issues, but because being nominated to the highest court in the land is quite an honor.

But with this honor comes an obligation. While I am not a big fan of nominees being asked how they would rule on specific cases ahead of time, Judge Roberts must answer all other questions posed to him by senators during the confirmation hearings.

A lifetime appointment to the highest court requires such questioning, and our country deserves such a hearing. It is my hope that Judge Roberts will cooperate with such questioning, which will help ease the confirmation process.

Steven M. Clayton

Ocean, N.J.

Confirmation debate sets an ugly example

Much to my dismay, the first shots have been fired in the wars of confirmation, and I can "look forward" to many months of such coverage in The Sun ("Roberts chosen for court," July 20).

We will be treated to the spectacle of one group of lawyers debating the actions of another lawyer. How has it come to this?

If the laws coming out of Congress were written with forethought and clarity, there would be less need for "interpretation" by the Supreme Court. Is it too much to ask our lawmakers to say what they mean and mean what they say?

As for constitutionality, shouldn't our congress people be familiar enough with the Constitution to know whether or not the laws they are passing are constitutional?

Perhaps we would not have such a litigious society if we set a better example at the top.

Nick Pecora


Support prosecutor as he seeks the truth

In "Don't you feel a lot safer now with reporter behind bars?" (Opinion * Commentary, July 17), Leonard Pitts Jr. defends Judith Miller's refusal to reveal her sources on the grounds that doing otherwise undermines the "media's ability to fulfill its role as a watchdog of government."

But what if Ms. Miller is in jail for her part in an effort within the Bush administration to retaliate against a government whistleblower?

In that case, Ms. Miller would be part of a government conspiracy, and would hardly be a watchdog.

We won't really know until prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald reveals his findings ("For prosecutor, CIA leak case comes down to matter of law," July 17). But in the meantime, let's keep in mind that when Valerie Plame was outed, the operations of an entire CIA front company that she was affiliated with were compromised as well.

I say let's support Mr. Fitzgerald in his efforts to get to the bottom of this case, even when that includes jailing Ms. Miller.

Jay Hilgartner


The wrong solution to 'reach the beach'

Most of the state's solutions to traffic congestion involve adding more traffic lanes. This usually only encourages more people to use their cars, making congestion just as bad or worse than it originally was.

And adding another bay bridge would only cause more people to travel to the Eastern Shore and thus cause yet more traffic jams in another part of the state ("Md. panel begins look at another bay bridge," July 18).

I say either let the people going to the shore put up with the traffic or encourage some form of public transportation.

With the cost of gasoline skyrocketing, it would make more sense to promote alternate forms of transportation.

Christine Mitchko


Where's the outrage over city land sale?

Where is the outcry about Mayor Martin O'Malley and the city wanting to sell property to a developer for less than its assessed value ("Mayor defends sales of land," July 14)?

Where is the wailing and gnashing of teeth that surged forward when the state was going to sell property in St. Mary's County, part of which would have been donated to public education?

I don't understand why my fellow Democrats are not showing the same anger over this issue. What a bunch of hypocrites. It's almost enough to make me register Republican.

Karen Fitze


Mt. Vernon's charm is its selling point

While it is extremely important to preserve the historic structures of Mount Vernon and encourage investment and redevelopment, this should not be done by ignoring height limitations.

The charm of the neighborhood will be diminished if developers are allowed to build what they want, and as high as they want, to gain maximum economic return.

The writer of the letter "Taller buildings boost development" (July 16) claims that "assigning an arbitrary limit on what constitutes good development" would ensure that investors will be driven away and develop other parts of the city. I couldn't disagree more.

The city is "hot," and the beauty and elegance of Mount Vernon are a selling point for developers - at least for those who care about the architectural integrity of the area.

Janet Heller


The writer is a member of the board of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation.

Demonizing Islam aids the extremists

Cal Thomas' column "Terrorism's root causes" (Opinion

Commentary, July 13) claims that we are in a religious war with Islam and we have to be rough. He makes little distinction between mainstream Islam and Muslim terrorists.

I have no special insight as to why young, Western-educated Muslims become terrorists. But common sense tells me that implying that Islam is evil plays right into the terrorists' recruitment efforts.

Randy Hall


Editorial captures the impact of art

The Sun deserves high praise for carefully observing the impact of art in our community and acknowledging the achievement of the Baltimore Museum of Art in working with Artscape in its "Observation Deck" exhibit ("Observing art," editorial, July 16).

It is especially wonderful that the editorial included the names of artists, the museum director and the curators involved - providing readers with a human dimension of art that is often overlooked and an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with salient creative persons.

Ann LoLordo got it just right.

Paul Roberts


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