Letter to the Editor 1, 10/07/08

By Pitt News Staff

Dear Editor, ‘ ‘ ‘ In his Oct. 3 column, ‘Judges should adhere to the U.S. Constitution,’ Bart… Dear Editor, ‘ ‘ ‘ In his Oct. 3 column, ‘Judges should adhere to the U.S. Constitution,’ Bart Wischnowski claims it is ‘appalling that a presidential candidate would reveal such shallow notions about the Constitution and the law.’ However, I find his column far more appalling in its flagrant use of double-speak and non sequitur deductions. ‘ ‘ ‘ One of his earliest arguments points to the case of Boumediene v. Bush, siding with Justice Scalia’s dissention to the 5-4 decision. I’m not going to argue the merits of this decision, but I found this particular sentence disturbing: ‘Boumediene establishes the right of a detained enemy combatant to have access to civil courts in the United States, potentially bestowing habeas corpus privileges on the very enemies who are fighting against and killing our own men and women in service.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ This appeal strikes me as very propagandistic. It’s a slogan, not a valid argument. Wischnowski doesn’t explain to us why he thinks detainees should not have access to due process. His assertion suggests that any detainee must be guilty, despite the fact that these detentions are extrajudicial. As for the appeal to our armed forces, likewise, our troops are fighting against and killing their men and women, including civilians as well as combatants. This statement sidesteps the argument for nothing more than a motto. ‘ ‘ ‘ Another problem is Wischnowski’s distortion of Sen. Barack Obama’s statement about what kind of judge he would appoint to the Supreme Court. In summary, Obama wants a judge who will be sympathetic to a number of underprivileged groups he lists. Wischnowski’s response is, ‘Apparently, some groups deserve more equality of justice under the law than others in Barack Obama’s America,’ and ‘Considering I don’t fall under any of these categories … I guess I should be worried about my status as an American under an Obama administration.’ Obama’s statement is not suggesting that teenaged moms, poor people, blacks, gays, people with disabilities and the elderly deserve bias in their favor, but that the justice he would appoint would be someone committed to defending the rights of those disadvantaged in society. Wischnowski’s suggestion that young, white, middle-class males will somehow become discriminated under such an administration is complete nonsense. ‘ ‘ ‘ I also take issue with Wischnowski’s authoritarian interpretation of the Constitution, as though it were some infallible holy scripture. While I don’t expect to come to terms with this school of thought, I do expect that its adherents devise rational and honest arguments, not reactionary sloganeering. Eoin Koepfinger School of Arts and Sciences