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Rights and Security: The Threat Is Unique

November 30, 2001

Re "Using Our Fears to Justify a Power Grab," Commentary, Nov. 29: Jack Balkin accuses the U.S. government of using the terrorism crisis as a paranoiac excuse to grab more power. He advocates less power for our government to deal with a terrorist threat under conditions that are unique in our times.

As we read, more of Balkin's mind-set comes to light. He mentions that our immigration laws are arbitrary and highhanded. He alludes to a so-called "war on noncitizens." Being a professor of anything should qualify Balkin to differentiate between the heartfelt efforts of our government officials to preserve our security amid difficult circumstances and his paranoid assessment of them. It is indeed unfortunate that a person of Balkin's leftist "uprightness" has the forum of the Yale law school.

James C. Kerr

Laguna Beach

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Balkin says that those chipping away at our rights and protections are doing so "not because they are corrupt and venal but because they are so utterly convinced of their uprightness."

One question: What if they are corrupt and venal?

Tom Hammond

San Juan Capistrano

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