As a lifelong Democrat, I urge my party’s leadership to take the high road in the Supreme Court confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett ["GOP senators eye fast approval for Barrett," News, Sept. 27]. She seems to be a decent person, an intelligent, responsible jurist entitled to her opinions even if many Democrats disagree. We should welcome diverse opinions. But, to me, she is not the problem here — President Donald Trump is. He has spent four years sowing hatred of anyone he perceives to be his personal or political enemy, which has led to an unprecedented division of Americans into two groups: those who buy into the Trump and Republican Party conspiracy theories and those who don’t. Three unfounded conspiracies are the "liberal media" are enemies (they’re actually thousands of journalists trying to report what is really happening in the real world); the "deep state" (any elected or appointed official who disagrees with the GOP agenda); and the idea that climate change is a "hoax" (science has proven it’s a threat to our planet and perhaps our very existence).
Ironically, President Donald Trump would have us believe that he opposes abortion by nominating Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy ["GOP senators eye fast approval for Barrett," News, Sept. 27]. It is sad that he shows no remorse nor accepts responsibility for the more than 200,000 people who have succumbed to COVID-19. I see it as unfortunate that he continues to display a callous disregard for the health of his staunch supporters by holding large rallies that fail to enforce mask wearing and social distancing. To me, it’s tragic he will never significantly address this country’s racism or mourn the many Black lives lost at the hands of police. America should wake up. I believe that the unborn, living and dead are all inconsequential to Trump. To me, he will stop at nothing to please his base in a desperate attempt to win reelection. I say the only life he is interested in protecting is his own.
How to handle a Supreme Court vacancy? The president should ask the Senate Judiciary Committee to come up with five compromise candidates. He should then choose the best-qualified jurist based upon objective criteria (e.g., experience). At the very least, this will disarm the court as a weapon in anyone’s "culture war."
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg deserved the accolades and letters glorifying her legacy on the bench ["RBG’s life, achievements and impact," Letters, Sept. 27]. She was a legend with many firsts as accomplishments. However, she indeed relied too heavily on her "own good judgment." To me, that was a big mistake that will probably result in the top court becoming a heavy conservative majority for years to come. Had she been receptive to President Barack Obama and Sen. Pat Leahy’s implicit suggestions for retirement, she would have set a historic movement in motion to change the leaning of the court.
Let’s stop pretending there is anything wrong with President Donald Trump nominating Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or in the Senate’s voting on her confirmation ["High court battle on health care," News, Sept. 28]. To me, none of this is about hypocrisy, principle or the rule of law. It’s about each side wanting to maximize its chance of getting a justice to its liking. If you’re a Democrat, you want to wait until January when your position may be better. If you’re a Republican it’s the opposite. Why will the Senate hold a vote now after failing to hold one on Merrick Garland four years ago? The answer is obvious: The Republicans have a majority in the Senate now. That’s life — to me, it’s silly to believe that the Democrats would do it differently if they held the majority. When you have strength in numbers, you use it — within the law. There is no principle at stake here, only politics. As former President Barack Obama is so fond of saying: Elections have consequences.
Tom Van Riper,
Suffolk should not cut off buses
I was disturbed to read that Suffolk County may have to discontinue 19 bus routes and reduce paratransit service because of budget deficits caused by the coronavirus ["Suffolk may cut buses," News, Sept. 26]. Suffolk County Transit provides critical service for residents who cannot drive or can’t afford a car to get to work, school or doctor appointments. These routes also provide connecting service to other bus routes and the Long Island Rail Road that will affect ridership levels and fare revenue on those services as well. These services should not be endangered by the federal government’s refusal to help us in our time of need.
Editor’s note: The writer, who recently retired as program manager of Transit Solutions, volunteers as co-chair of the U.S. Green Building Council, Long Island’s sustainable transportation committee.