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LETTERS

High court nomination evokes religion, rights

October 20, 2005

Re "Make Miers pass a litmus test," Opinion, Oct. 18

Michael Stokes Paulsen and John Yoo, distinguished men of law both, nonetheless make a typical conservative error in describing "the judicial invention of rights not set forth in the Constitution." Surely they have read the 9th Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Surely they know that when the framers drafted the Bill of Rights, their intent was not to put a ceiling on individual rights but rather a floor.

BRUCE ROSS

Redding, Calif.

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Your Oct. 17 editorial about President Bush's emphasis on Harriet Miers' religious beliefs as a basis for nominating her to the Supreme Court failed to mention the most important and disturbing aspect of this emphasis. His spotlighting her religion implies that if she were not an evangelical Christian, he would not have nominated her.

Article VI of the Constitution says "all ... judicial officers ... of the United States shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." But Bush has announced that there is a "religious test" and that Miers has passed it. This appears to violate the Constitution that Bush swore to uphold as president. The Times should not comment on the improper religious aspects of this nomination without censuring this violation.

ANDREW SUSSMAN

Rancho Santa Margarita

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Jewish, Catholic, black seats and now an evangelical Christian seat on the Supreme Court? This editorial is a silly analysis. It is also not simply a matter of appraising the nominee's capabilities for the Supreme Court. A person who would place his or her religious beliefs above the Constitution and not keep them strictly separate cannot faithfully take the oath of office to uphold the Constitution and, therefore, cannot serve in any office that requires upholding the Constitution, including, especially, the U.S. Supreme Court. As for all the conservatives appearing to be against the nomination of Miers, they "protest too much, methinks."

D.A. PAPANASTASSIOU

San Marino

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