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Cutting a Moral Path Through Bad Law

February 18, 2003

Re "Juries Should Leave Lawmaking to the Lawmakers," Commentary, Feb. 13: Norah Vincent clearly doesn't understand what the founding fathers understood so well -- that government is liable to make all sorts of abusive and bad laws. That's why they specifically left in place a procedure (jury trial) that could have 12 of your neighbors (supposedly reasonable people) sit around and go: "Hey, wait a minute. This is silly. Let's use a little common sense here."

With Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft and the Bush administration trampling on the Constitution and suspending our rights piece by piece, jury nullification may turn out to be one of the few weapons we have to fight back with. I suppose Vincent would have been a big supporter of the Third Reich's anti-Semitism laws and our own Jim Crow laws; after all, they were passed and enacted legally, and people should have quietly obeyed them.

Richard L. Berger

Los Angeles


Laws of the United States supersede laws of the several states when such laws are in accordance with the constitutional powers of the U.S., per Article VI. Per Amendment X, state laws are supreme in all other instances. Although Vincent wants federal law to trump state law, where in the Constitution is the federal government authorized to adopt laws prohibiting growth and use of a medical plant?

Salem Spitz


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