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Judicial appointments


Fri, Jul 17th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

As we know, the Untied States Senate has the responsibility to advise the president and consent (or not) to his nominations of federal and Supreme Court judges and other officials. When the judicial candidates testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, they feel obligated to state that their past and future rulings were and will be based solely and purely on case precedent and strict interpretation of the applicable law. Their education, upbringing, religion, or ethnicity did not and will not color their decisions. How can this be? Are we not products of all of these things? Are we not children of our ancestors? Aren't our ideas, attitudes, and even our interpretation of the law influenced in some manner by who we are and where we came from? To deny this is to deny our very selves, our very being.

Of course we expect judges to strictly interpret the law. We expect fair and impartial rulings based on precedent. But to expect one's personal history to be absent from thought and deliberation is a fallacy.

This brings us to the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Judge Sonia Sotomayor. To suggest, as some Republicans are, that Judge Sotomayor will be biased in her decisions because she is a Latina is as ludicrous as saying that Justice Mr. Scalia is against abortion because he is Catholic. Both allegations may be true, but maybe they are not. What is true is that people bring all of their experiences to bear, consciously or unconsciously, when they make decisions. Why not acknowledge that fact? Instead we have judges and judicial candidates claiming they are not and will not be influenced by anything but the law. This does not seem humanly possible.

In the evaluation of those being considered for the Supreme Court we should know the nominee's background, education, previous law experiences and rulings. We should expect them to be as fair as possible, to have a reverence for law and precedent and to apply these attributes to their decisions.

To expect them to not bring to their decisions their own life experiences is to ask them not to be human beings.

Yards of food and flowers

Fri, Jul 10th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Over the years that my husband and I lived in the Big Woods, our mowed lawn decreased in size. We gave up gardening after the first five years because we didn't want to fend off the deer and other creatures. We loved the encroaching trees, shrubs an ..... 
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Climate change and energy bill

Fri, Jul 10th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

The House Agriculture Committee concluded its first public hearing to review the Waxman-Markey climate change and energy bill (H.R. 2454) on June 11. Dubbed "cap and trade," it would impose new energy taxes on all American energy users, raising the ..... 
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One Moment Please: Obituaries and E-mail Alert System

Fri, Jul 10th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Over the years, I've heard a few people say the Internet is a bad thing. And, I've heard the flip side from people stating the Internet is the next best thing since the toothbrush.

The individuals who are concerned about what the Internet in ..... 
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A couple of ways to help yourself

Thu, Jul 2nd, 2009
Posted in Commentary

In cases of emergency medical services there is often a degree of confusion even when there are alert knowledgeable relatives and friends at the scene. This is especially true about two things, medications and, to a lesser degree, end of life direct ..... 
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One Moment Please: Open enrollment

Thu, Jul 2nd, 2009
Posted in Commentary

On the cover of the June 29, 2009 issue of the Fillmore County Journal, we ran a story about the impact of open enrollment on Fillmore County.

Without a doubt, this has had an influence on school budgets and interaction between area schools, ..... 
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Retire, already

Fri, Jun 26th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I thought eight years of Dick Cheney's sneer was about ten years too many. Now, it seems, he can't find his way home to Wyoming, a place where only the antelope listen.

Then, my compassionate side kicked in. Having seen industries shut down ..... 
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One moment, please: Sizing me up...

Fri, Jun 26th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

It's become pretty apparent to me that people are trying to size me up, pondering how I'll approach political issues.

I have received e-mails, phone calls, and anonymous hand-written letters (with no return addresses on the envelopes) - and ..... 
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Why Congress needs institutionalists

Fri, Jun 26th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

It takes all kinds of people to make the U.S. Congress work. The ambitious and the laid-back, loners and consensus-builders, partisans and aisle-crossers - all have their place. In these highly politicized times, though, there's one type who is part ..... 
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