Court also upholds equality for whites

As the article "Court must promote minorities, Breyer says" (Dec. 4) notes, "the [Supreme] court upheld race-conscious admissions in higher education in a 5-4 opinion by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor."


This is true as far as it goes, but misleading.

On June 23, 2003, the court decided the cases of Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger.


In the Grutter case, the court upheld the affirmative action policy of the law school at the University of Michigan. However, in the Gratz case, the court rejected the affirmative action policy of the same university's undergraduate school.

The difference was that the law school's policy was flexible and individual-oriented, while the undergraduate policy rigidly awarded bonus points to minorities.

Accordingly, the court held that the undergraduate policy denied non-minority applicants their constitutional right to the equal protection of the law.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor voted with the majority in the Gratz case. Justice Stephen G. Breyer, a liberal, who was with the majority in the Grutter case, did not join the majority opinion in the case but concurred in the 6-3 judgment in favor of Gratz.

The press is right to remind us that the court upheld affirmative action principles in the Grutter case. But it is remiss in often failing to remind us that non-minority applicants have the right to the equal protection of the law -- and that the Supreme Court so ruled in the Gratz case.

Nathan Dodell


The writer is a retired attorney.


Up to Palestinians now to make peace

Israel has already given back plenty of land ("Of land and peace," editorial, Dec. 4).

Israel did pull out of the Gaza Strip, giving all of that of the land back to the Palestinians. Israel was thanked by having deadly Kassam rockets shot at its residential neighborhoods, not to mention having one of its soldiers kidnapped.

Since the birth of Israel in 1948, it has had hostile neighbors to deal with. Its history has been all about survival.

Israel has been attacked from all sides and miraculously won. And to this day, Israel still only wants peace. The proof lies in the successful peace treaties between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Jordan.

Today, there are plenty of terrorists living in the West Bank. And they are always looking for ways to kill Israeli civilians and do as much damage as possible to Israel.


If the Palestinians want land, Israel has to be guaranteed security. If the Palestinians really want to live in peace, they need to prove that to the world.

The "land and peace" ball is clearly in the Palestinians' hands.

Charlie Levine

Owings Mills

The writer is executive director of the Baltimore Zionist District.

Diplomacy is key to rebuilding ties


The Iraq Study Group's report is a good start toward resolving the problems we have in Iraq ("No cutting Iraq goals, Bush says," Dec. 8).

It gives President Bush some wiggle room to continue his disastrous policies there. But it also makes it clear that if he does so, he'll be doing it alone.

We must start rebuilding relationships in the region and do so with diplomacy.

If Mr. Bush shows his usual petulant stubbornness, Congress must act to hold him accountable.

Melissa Fieldhouse



President proved ineptitude long ago

The Sun says in its editorial "A blue ribbon rebuke" (Dec. 7) that if President Bush does not endorse the Iraq Study Group report "it will call into question his ability to be an effective commander-in-chief."

Mr. Bush's ineffectiveness was evident before he took office in 2000. And, sadly, events have verified this many times over in the last six years.

Bob Weiblen


Newer buildings can reuse old ones


I have to say a loud amen to the writer of the letter "Razing rowhouses isn't the only option" (Dec. 4).

It is indeed possible to incorporate old buildings into new ones. The University of Baltimore could have incorporated the Odorite building into its student center. And Mercy Medical Center could incorporate the 1820s-vintage rowhomes into its proposed building, or build above them.

While "facadectomy" (or saving only a building's fa?ade) should probably be the last resort to save old buildings, it is far preferable to demolition.

And the letter-writer asks a good question: Why do Baltimore's major organizations and their architects so often show such lack of imagination?

It is long past time for these major organizations to work in a good faith effort with the historic preservation community. And it is long past time for our mayor and City Council to help bring this about instead of helping bypass our historic preservation laws.

One of the great charms of Baltimore is its architectural heritage; let's not squander that heritage.


G. Byron Stover


Feud defies respect neighbors deserve

What a sad commentary on the suburbs ("Neighbors' 7-year feud results in 13th criminal case," Dec. 6).

The concept of a neighborhood is not merely about protecting one's turf; it is about getting to know and respect one's neighbors.

Susan Shankroff



License provides no safety guarantee

It may seem like a safe and apt analogy to equate getting a concealed weapon permit with getting a driver's license ("Let state's citizen's protect themselves," letters, Dec. 5).

But if the sorry performance of many licensed drivers is any indication, this analogy is more than a little bit scary.

Since many licensed drivers use their cars as weapons, I cringe at how they would handle actual weapons.

In other words, being issued a license is not a guarantee that the holder will behave responsibly, whether operating a motor vehicle or carrying a gun.


And before I would even entertain the thought of giving guns to more people, I would consider taking away their cars.

Dennis Kaplan


Collateral damage stains war on drugs

Thanks for publishing Cynthia Tucker's outstanding column "88 year-old woman is latest collateral damage in drug war" (Opinion

Commentary, Dec. 4).


The only thing unusual about the death of Kathryn Johnston was her age. Otherwise, this story would hardly have been news outside of Georgia.

Apologies will be offered and actions will be regretted. But Ms. Johnston is still dead.

Dead because Ms. Johnston was suspected of selling the wrong recreational drug to willing buyers.

Dead because Ms. Johnston probably assumed that someone breaking into her home in the middle of the night was up to no good.

Dead because Ms. Johnston tried to defend herself.

Kirk Muse


Mesa, Ariz.