A good discussion on ‘originalism’
Re “Do we really want an ‘originalist’ Supreme Court justice?” (Forum, March 26): Allan Ides’ commentary was an interesting discussion of the differences between how some conservative Supreme Court justices see their function compared to that of liberal judges. Ides seems to feel that we can trust judges to rule based on their particular opinion or observations of where society happens to be morally, at the time of their decision.
Though I don’t agree with Ides, I’m very glad that he wrote this article, as I feel that most readers have never considered the subject matter. Being that he did such a good job explaining the two philosophies of how the justices should function, the readers will now be able to decide what role that they feel that the justices should take.
Greg Vinci, Carmichael
Originalism keeps politics out
Allan Ides’ view is so tempting – can’t we just get judges to make logical decisions based on real practical needs? Plato believed the same thing; he called them philosopher kings.
The problem is whose logical, practical view should a judge follow? One man’s “pragmatist” judge is another man’s “activist” judge.
Originalism is the only framework not rooted in today’s politics. To an originalist, the Constitution (shockingly!) means what it actually said when it was written. Ides correctly calls it “backward looking” ... it is. However the Constitution can adapt by being amended, and has been repeatedly. In this way, originalism seeks to keep politics out of judicial decisions, while the amendment process ensures political oversight of those same judicial decisions.
Judicial pragmatism is really just another name for judicial tyranny. Plato was wrong. Whether they wear ancient togas or black robes, philosopher kings are a bad idea.
Brian Villanueva, Galt
Continue Scalia’s approach to law
Allan Ides repudiation of Supreme Court originalism supports an approach that wants the court to pass down decisions related to current events and mores. The real issue with this is that over the almost 230 years of the life of the Constitution the pragmatism of current days has varied as much as styles have changed.
Supreme Court decisions based upon principles embodied in the Constitution have served the country well. The court is bound by stare decisis, an aversion to overturning prior decisions. If decisions are to be decided upon current styles, attitudes and events, will those decisions be relevant in a future changed environment? Probably not.
A judge, like Neil Gorsuch, that continues Antonin Scalia’s originalism will serve the country better than Ides’ proposal that the court should hand down decisions based upon current temperament.
Joe Dobrow, Fair Oaks
Not lying, but perhaps delusional
Re “Applying the term ‘lying’ to the full spectrum of untruths, deception” (Forum, March 26): I thank Paul Mattiuzzi for this insightful article. I see now why no one points out Donald Trump’s untruths as lying. That is because it can’t be lying if it is believed by Trump in his mind and in the world he creates in his mind.
The correct terminology would seem to include, delusional, narcissism, paranoid, “obtuse products of a fevered or undisciplined mind,” which, I believe, all describe severe mental illness.
Mattiuzzi writes that the White House says Trump believes what he believes but that doesn’t mean he is delusional. It means “that it is true for him, in his mind, where reality is fluid and ‘alternative facts’ are abundant.” That is the definition of delusional. Right?
The truth about Trump’s lies
One internet source conservatively calculates that Donald Trump has allegedly told 143 lies since becoming president. The number may vary, but we get the picture. Or do we?
Paul Mattiuzzi would have us believe that a lie is only a lie if we know we are lying; for him, a lie requires awareness. So, if Trump believes Barack Obama wire-tapped him, he’s not telling a lie – in legal terms. Understandably then, many people are confused as to what to take as truth and what to interpret as opinion, exaggeration, evasive statement or falsehood. Some are angry that the news media don’t label clearly what is “news” and what is “opinion.”
Everything needs to be scrutinized carefully for its truth value, whether it comes to us in newsprint, internet or Twitter. As participants in a democracy, we need to ask ourselves who’s doing the telling. Is the source trustworthy based on past behavior? All Americans need to accept the hard responsibility for screening news for reliability. What’s the cost of not doing this? The loss of our democracy.
Robert Blake, Davis
Add public housing to mayor’s list
Re “After 100 days, so far, so good for Steinberg” (Forum, March 26): Foon Rhee communicates big challenges facing our city and new mayor. Our overconcentrated, dilapidated public housing deserves mention. The city reports “severe physical distress” and needed rehabilitation costs for the two largest projects – Alder Grove and Marina Vista – of over $100 million.
They contain 751 units citywide, crammed in one neighborhood, not integrated citywide to reduce crime risks, support the needy and individual neighborhoods. This public housing costs taxpayers millions in annual maintenance, and is a ticking time bomb for our city, the tenants and the surrounding community.
Craig Chaffee, Sacramento
Why we won’t give Trump a chance
Re “Please give Trump a chance” (Letters, March 26): Here’s why Donald Trump doesn’t deserve a chance: First, President Barack Obama wasn’t “a total disaster,” George W. Bush was. Bush took a healthy economy, turned it into the worst recession since the 1930s, fought two wars without putting the costs in the budget, attacked a country that didn’t attack us first, gave away billions to the rich, etc. Obama undid the damage, rebuilt the economy to healthy status and gave health insurance to millions of uninsured.
Trump lies. He claimed he’d defeat ISIS on day one. He promised cheaper health care for everyone that would cover more things, but offered the opposite. Now, he wants to give tax cuts to rich billionaires like himself, and damage the economy the way Bush did. No, we don’t want to give him a chance. We saw what Bush did and only a fool would want to repeat that disaster.
Joseph Farrelly, Roseville
Give Trump the same chance
Kenny Shoemake asks us to give Trump “the same chance that we conservatives provided to former President Barack Obama.” No problem. That means that we can feel free to ask our representatives to obstruct Trump at every opportunity. This is what the Republicans did at unprecedented levels during all eight years of Obama’s presidency. Even to the point of saying “no” to policies that they previously had supported, such as campaign donor disclosure and clean energy. And the worst of all was their refusal to give a hearing for Obama’s last pick for Supreme Court justice.
So, sure, we can give Trump the same chance. I have no problem with that, especially since he has so far proven himself to be a liar and incompetent.
Marcella Chiarello, Davis
Obama had lots of experience
Kenny Shoemake says President Barack Obama had “no relevant experience or business acumen whatsoever. His main life’s experience was as a community organizer.”
Obama worked as a community organizer for three years, before attending law school at Harvard, where he rose to become editor of the Harvard Law Review. After law school, he worked as a lawyer for five years, taught law for 12 years at the University of Chicago, served in the House of Representatives for seven more, and as a U.S. senator for another four years. So the question for Shoemake is: Are you genuinely incapable of filtering out right-wing misinformation, or are you just deliberately trying to minimize Obama’s accomplishments?
Don’t take a chance on Trump
Chances are for horse races and cheap toilet paper. Our president should be elected based on experience, social consciousness and education. We need a real president, not another entertainer.
Donald Trump has demonstrated that his views do not represent the inclusive American ideal and the volatility of his emotional outbursts are worrisome. His existence as a rationally, functioning human being, much less the president is questionable.
President Barack Obama reduced unemployment and approved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to dispel the financial travesty created by President George W. Bush, just to name a few of achievements while he was in office. Obama was a wonderful representative of the people.
Trump does not exhibit any of the attributes of an honorable president of the people and is unqualified for the position.
We have given Trump a chance
Supporters keep asking us to give President Donald Trump a chance because they suffered eight years of Obama. The GOP declared their No. 1 priority to make Barack Obama’s presidency a failure. Despite vigorous opposition, Obama took an economy on life support and turned it into a recovery.
Trump has had a chance. And everything he has done so far has been a disaster. The only thing he has truly succeeded at is to start allowing the dumping of toxic mining-effluent into creeks.
His travel ban and the health care issue have been a fiasco. He has been undiplomatic with our strongest allies, is dogged by serious accusations of his campaign staff that border on treason, and he continues to make outlandish nonsensical claims about unimportant issues like attendance at his inauguration. And he makes baseless claims about voter fraud and being wire-tapped. It’s apparent he has nothing.
Gabriel Lewin, Davis
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