Letters: Word Puzzler
I am a big fan of Bryan Garner. But is he correct in stating in “4 Dogmas Debunked” (December-January 2022-23, page 20) that “Whether at the beginning of a direct question isn’t grammatically correct”? Whether or not it’s good legal writing, can’t a direct question begin with whether and still be grammatically correct? Or is my question grammatically incorrect?
The web story “Ballooning student loans become an albatross; ex-NYU law student, 91, owes $329K on initial $29K loan,” (ABAJournal.com, Aug. 31) about the 91-year-old woman with a loan balance of more than $300,000, incident to an initial loan of $29,000, is nothing short of left-leaning nonsense published for the purpose of eliciting anger from the left-leaning ABA base. The woman purposely chose to work for an organization that paid her a low compensation, and she elected to not pay the loan. Stop the left-leaning nonsense and rather address the concept of personal responsibility. As a 52-year-old, she took out a loan, and she voluntarily contracted to repay the loan. Personal responsibility—what a concept!
Brett J. Miller
Justice Amy Coney Barrett
I really enjoyed the web story “Justice Amy Coney Barrett hasn’t disappointed conservative supporters—so far” (ABAJournal.com, Aug. 18). I appreciated Mark Walsh’s insights on matters regarding the judge that normally would not come to light. I thought she would be an outstanding judge and believe that more so after your article.
Michael David Demchak
I would like to offer a brief response to President Reginald Turner’s letter “The Dire Need for Judicial Security” (August-September, page 6).
While I have no quarrel with what he said, I must take note of what he failed to say. The unfortunate fact is that our nation’s judges are no more at risk than the rest of us. In this country, there is also a “dire need” for security for our nation’s schoolchildren and teachers, people in places of worship, taxi drivers, low-income people relegated to raising their children in inner cities—and others.
The broader issue raised by President Turner concerns the growing level of violence that is being stoked in our gun-crazy society. Speech intended to incite violence must not be tolerated. And military-style weapons must be confined to the military.
Liane Jackson’s impressive column, “Blowing Up Roe” (August-September, page 23), shines a needed beacon of light on the hypocrisy of right-wing crusaders who are quite happy to eliminate a woman’s right to choose but ignore the unwanted children born as a result. Or who knee-jerk howl about their Second Amendment rights the moment the words “gun” or “firearm” appear in legislation yet are deafeningly silent about our country’s ongoing tragic pattern of mass shootings with guns legally purchased. (Are you there, NRA?) And a U.S. Supreme Court that is complicit in all of it while undoing a half-century of settled precedent and engaging in selective history to return our nation to a time that no one would recognize, except (perhaps) white male propertied citizens who were alive in 1787 (writing of the Constitution) and 1791 (ratification of the Bill of Rights).
Thomas Jefferson himself foresaw the need for a constitution to adapt to the times as the nation grew. In a July 12, 1816, letter to Samuel Kercheval, Jefferson wrote:
I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
No surprise to me that our conservative Supreme Court justices have conveniently overlooked this “eyewitness” account from a statesman that lives in the Southeast Portico of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. Our conservative justices would do well to make a field trip to the memorial and upon arrival, contemplate and reflect on Jefferson’s testimony.