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Choice for 7th Circuit Judgeship

July 10, 1986

The Times' editorial was a glaring example of the sort of irresponsibility, partisanship, and ideological motivation that the editorial asserted has nothing to do with the opposition to Daniel A. Manion, the President's latest nominee to a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The original charge, voiced by some Senate Democrats, was that Manion could not be trusted to uphold the Constitution. When pressed for details, they cited the bill that so alarmed The Times editorialist. To quote the latter: "Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state could not require the posting of the Ten Commandments in schools, Manion introduced a bill into the Indiana Legislature to do just that"

Not only is the charge ridiculous (Horrors! Schoolchildren will be reading the Ten Commandments! The Constitution is in danger!), but the writer also did not take the trouble to learn the facts of the case: The Manion bill--which, incidentally, achieved passage by a 4-to-1 margin and with heavy support from the Democrats--was not to require the posting of the Ten Commandments but rather to permit their posting.

The editorialist also wrote that Manion "has not shown the slightest qualification" for the federal bench but has shown "many reasons why he is not fit". I find this particularly shameless; not only has Manion been pronounced qualified by the American Bar Assn., but more than once in the past liberal nominees rated "not qualified" by the Bar have been confirmed by the Senate.

There remains the charge that Manion's briefs are "riddled with errors of grammar, spelling, expression and thought." An editorial writer who didn't bother to learn what Manion's Ten Commandments bill really was hasn't read his briefs either, so this overblown rhetoric doesn't need any rebuttal. How can The Times, which asks if Reagan is kidding, expect to be taken seriously when it allows editorials like this to get into print.

CHARLES WAKEMAN

Los Angeles

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