Readers write: Judges versus opinion, difference in attackers

Letters to the editor for the Aug. 8, 2016 weekly magazine.

John Raoux/AP
A makeshift memorial is created outside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. on July 11, 2016.

Judges versus opinion

Regarding the June 12 article “Could the judge in the Stanford rape case actually be recalled?” ( Judge Aaron Persky’s decision to sentence Brock Turner to six months in county jail and the ensuing national outcry have raised weighty questions regarding the nature of judicial independence in the United States. Petitions for a recall election, while important in voicing the will of the people, may do more to threaten the integrity of the justice system than buoy it.

Judicial independence is the separation of the judicial branch from the influences of other branches, as well as from public opinion, thereby allowing judges to adjudicate solely based on what they deem “right” under the law.

Regardless of whether we approve of a decision, judges must be able to perform their jobs free of public sway or fear of retribution. We must consider the larger “chilling” effect any successful recall might have on overall judicial independence.

Salmaan Amin

Charlotte, N.C.

Difference in attackers

Regarding the June 13 article “Orlando and the presidential role of American-in-chief” ( I have long thought that President Obama’s approach to all manner of Islamist radicals – those organized into “caliphates”; those radicalized as part of an organized jihad here at home; and the lone wolves, disaffected Americans who claim a perverted form of Islam as their guiding belief and the right to wreak murderous mayhem as a religious calling – is puzzling and inadequate.

Mr. Obama refuses to acknowledge publicly that all violent extremists are not of the same ilk. He knows all this, of course, but he obfuscates the distinctions because he distrusts the people who elected him. He thinks that we are incapable of distinguishing between radical Islamists and normative followers of Islam. He believes that camouflaging truth serves a higher purpose. He is very wrong.

Paul Bloustein


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