Judge and Jury
Re TIME's cover package on Sonia Sotomayor [June 8]: I fully agree with Sotomayor's 2001 statement that she "would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." It is entirely possible for two jurists to arrive at an identical conclusion in a case, yet if one of them has considered more options and deliberated more over the issues, that jurist will have made the "wiser, more informed" decision. Sotomayor's background will automatically strengthen her consideration of legal issues--something that will escape some other jurist who has not had the experience of being a minority. Kerman Bharucha, WEBSTER, N.Y.
I'm amazed by the double standard being used for Sotomayor. George W. Bush suspends constitutional rights to catch terrorists and is labeled evil and un-American. Sotomayor suspends constitutional rights to catch sex offenders and is said to be "empathetic" to the problems of police officers. Is it acceptable or unacceptable to ignore constitutional rights? Bryan Smith, TUCSON, ARIZ.
Re Christopher Caldwell's "The Limits of Empathy": Claiming that Sotomayor "ignored a host of pressing constitutional issues" when deciding against the plaintiffs in the New Haven, Conn., case is a gross misrepresentation of reality. In fact, the judges went along with current, established constitutional law intended to prevent discriminatory criteria. An appeals court should not overturn Supreme Court rulings lightly. It would have been judicial activism to ignore precedent and decide in the plaintiffs' favor. Cinny Wong, AUSTIN, TEXAS
Chasing the European Model
In "New Lessons from the Old World," one critical lesson on health care was omitted [June 8]. Europe does not have for-profit health insurance. The U.S. will never truly reform health care as long as we treat it as a commodity. Here, as they do in the European Union, we should recognize health care as a basic human right. Warren Swanson, REDDING, CALIF.
Thank Heaven for Gates
Thanks for Joe Klein's "Gates Unbound," on Secretary Robert Gates [June 8]. Finally, someone who is putting the troops first. Jack Quartaroli, SACRAMENTO, CALIF.
Gates is a pragmatic professional. Al-Qaeda had already committed four separate acts of war against the U.S. before George W. Bush was sworn in. The ideology-based policy of that incoming Administration downgraded the project to "get bin Laden," so FBI information about suspicious flying lessons stayed in the field until after 9/11. If counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke had had such intel when it was fresh, there might have been time to figure out the plot and forestall the attacks. Novelist Tom Clancy, after all, published the idea in 1994. Unlike the rest of the Bush Administration, Gates--the best Secretary of Defense since George C. Marshall, if not ever--has kept us safe since being sworn in. David P. Vernon, TUCSON, ARIZ.
Mr. Hilton Should Regret