Letters

By , Ahoua Kon, Karen J. Leitz, Robert Donaldson, and Lynn Olson

Adjusting the balance on states' rights

In your balanced editorial response to the recent Supreme Court decisions protecting states' rights on various issues, you report the majority view that "the Founding Fathers meant to confer on the states a sovereignty co-equal with that of the federal government" ("Civil move on states' rights," July 6). You then report that Justice Souter, in dissent, "roundly rejected such deference to the 'sovereignty' of the states."

Although there are instances where states should have independent jurisdiction, the minority view on the general extent of the federal compared with state sovereignty seems the more persuasive - more in tune with the Constitution's preamble and the 14th Amendment.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

The preamble declares that the purpose of "we the people of the United States" in establishing this Constitution is to "form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility," etc. The 14th Amendment states that persons born or naturalized in the US are "citizens of the United States and of the states wherein they reside."

Note the sequence - first and foremost, citizens of the US; and only secondarily citizens of the states where they happen to live.

Supreme Court justices should ponder these provisions of the Constitution more closely before making judgments about state sovereignty compared with that of the federal government.

David J. Steinberg Alexandria, Va.

Police brutality - don't hide race issue

Regarding "When cops, not just white ones, kill" (June 23): I take it the reporter wanted to highlight the point that black police officers have also been responsible for killing black people. With respect to this point, I feel the article went a little too far in suggesting that because a few black police officers have killed individuals from the same race, police brutality in this country isn't caused so much by racism.

Yes, black people do kill black people just like people of any race, unfortunately. But as many of us know, racism, especially toward people of color, is a big factor in police brutality. Such systemic behavior goes beyond just "a few bad apples," and there is ample evidence supporting that. We have a major problem that urgently needs to be dealt with. Let's not mislead the masses.

Ahoua Kon Seattle

Making it easier for illegals?

Regarding "Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants?" (July 14): Did I miss something? California is considering handing out driver's licenses to its illegals? Can someone please enlighten me as to how this is a good plan or a fair plan? Doesn't the very word "illegal" indicate someone or something is not adhering to the laws of the land? So now we're going to reward these people for their illegal actions?

Karen J. Leitz Colorado Springs, Colo.

Plight of "permatemps"

I appreciated David Francis' opinion column "Part-time workers face full-time problems" (July 1). For two years I have worked as a long-term temporary worker for the same manufacturing business. We do not know from one day to the next whether we will work, or for how many hours. It is the ultimate in casual employment.

Robert Donaldson Bath, Maine

Suggestions for saving Social Security

Regarding the opinion piece "A not-so-unkind cut: Social Security COLAs" (June 29): I would like to add two other suggestions for saving Social Security, if the surplus doesn't do it. Eliminate the top limit on earnings taxed; and instead of ending capital gains, put that tax money into the Social Security fund. Noblesse oblige.

Lynn Olson Deming, N.M.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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