The leak is the least of the Supreme Court’s problems; the Court has violated the nation’s trust

The leak is the least of the Supreme Court’s problems

Re: “Thomas says abortion leak has changed court,” May 15 news story

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas worries that the leak of fellow Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade destroyed trust in the Court. Thomas is right to be concerned about secrets coming to light; his wife’s efforts to interfere with a core principle of our democracy (peaceful transfer of power) reflect badly on him and the Court.

As to the destruction of trust, I ask, “cause or effect?” Did the leak itself destroy trust or is it a symptom of trust already destroyed by extreme ideologues in its membership?

Just possibly, Supreme Court deliberations should be more public. They are of extreme importance and Justices should be more sensitive to their decisions’ impacts.

Ralph Taylor, Centennial

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas bemoans that the leak of a draft opinion that would overturn Roe vs. Wade has forever damaged public trust in the institution. No, Justice Thomas, public trust in the court has been hemorrhaging for decades, starting with its blatant interference in the 2000 election between Al Gore and George W. Bush. This was followed by Mitch McConnell’s unconstitutional and unconscionable blocking of Obama’s nomination to the court for nearly a year while rushing through a Trump nomination in six weeks.

It’s hemorrhaged trust by the conservative members’ abuse of the “shadow docket,” effectively overturning Roe vs. Wade by allowing Texas to implement its extreme abortion law without holding a court hearing addressing Roe vs. Wade.

Trust was further eroded by the revelation that Justice Thomas’s wife played an integral role in the efforts to overthrow a duly elected Democratic president.

No, Justice Thomas, the leaking of the draft opinion is the least of the court’s trust problems.

Bruce W. Most, Denver

I can’t believe Justice Clarence Thomas is concerned about the loss of trust in the U.S. Supreme Court because of the leak regarding Roe vs. Wade. This is the man whose wife sent text messages advocating the bid to overturn the 2020 election. Yet, he refuses to disqualify himself from cases on the 2020 election and its aftermath. For me, that’s when I lost trust in the Supreme Court.

Bernice Harris, Denver

Dangerous rhetoric from abortion-rights advocates

Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently tweeted: “To my friends in the LGBTQ+ community–the Supreme Court is coming for us next. This moment has to be a call to arms.” Couple that with abortion activists who are clearly breaking federal law by picketing justices’ homes and who now cry for a “summer of rage” in response to the SCOTUS leak.

Does Congress or the Department of Justice not consider those entreaties for violence as inciting a riot? And why are there no arrests for the illegal picketing?

Congress is all wrapped around the axle over the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” but don’t hold your breath waiting for any investigation of Lightfoot or the women calling for rioting.

Alan Deegan, Highlands Ranch

Religious beliefs and abortion beliefs

Re: “Eroding liberty,” May 15 commentary

I appreciated Jamelle Bouie’s thoughtful piece in Sunday’s perspective section. I would add this to his commentary.

People who want to make abortions illegal are fond of saying that “science proves that life begins at conception.” That’s not true. The sperm and egg are alive, so what they probably mean is that they believe a fertilized egg is a human being and has a human soul. I don’t think that is true either, in that in order to be human and “have a soul,” one needs to have a functioning brain and be able to “experience.”

Now, I’ll admit that this is my religious belief, but the concept that “personhood begins at conception” is also a religious belief. Clearly, the notion that the potential life of a fertilized egg is more important than the life and well-being of the mother and the rest of her family is implied.

The fact that many anti-abortionists also want to make contraception illegal means that they think the solution is for people to only have sex when they want to have a child. Good luck with that.

Pat Emery, Arvada

The struggles are real (and nonpartisan)

Re: “A mulligan of a year and Dems still shanked the ball,” May 15 commentary

George Brauchler is at it again, selectively choosing data that tries to make Democrats — seemingly the enemy of the people in his eyes — the cause of rising crime, the police shortage, and inflation in Colorado.

A quick search online reveals that cities in Republican-led states are also suffering. Dallas has a shortage of hundreds of police officers. Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is advertising on a billboard in Chicago to try to lure officers to their warmer city to fill its need. And fentanyl and overdose deaths are a national problem, with increases being confronted by both Democrat- and Republican-led legislatures.

Brauchler’s constant attacks on Gov. Jared Polis and the Democrats are tiresome. I used to read his articles hoping to get a balanced perspective, but not anymore; I just read them to see how much stronger his obsession with bashing Polis has become.

Susan Kennedy, Littleton

Note to my younger self: Ignore the pressure

Re: “Pressure of perfection,” May 15 news story

I read the article with great interest because I could relate to it and rejoice in surviving it. The pressure to achieve and succeed according to others’ metrics has always been there. The guilt and pressure that comes with having been gifted with superior intelligence, broader opportunity, or more self-sacrificing parents is nothing new. I never appreciated how much those feelings affected me until I found myself afflicted with stress-related illnesses when I was fresh out of college.

I feel lucky that I had an epiphany, which I jokingly relate as being “ “Self, you are never going to be on the cover of Time Magazine.” Now I am old and content, having accomplished nothing more than a satisfying if unremarkable career and a lasting, loving relationship. Reading the article made me wish I could walk and talk with these young people and reassure them that those of us who have achieved a level of satisfaction in life learned a long time ago to ignore the pressure to impress others.

I know there are lots of older people out there who could offer a similar perspective. Maybe instead of a Peace Corps, we need a Senior Corps to reach out to these stressed-out kids.

Lynn Buschhoff, Denver

Semiautomatics and semantics

Semiautomatic is a misnomer. A semiautomatic gun should be called an almost-automatic gun. We outlawed full automatic weapons, we can do the same for almost-automatics.

Peter Grant, Highlands Ranch

Much to learn about scrutinizing accusations

Re: “Ex-chief’s partner accused of fake tip,” May 17 news story

In a gobsmacking turn of events, Aurora City Council member Danielle Jurinsky is now allowed to piece her life together after an investigation that exposed false allegations of child sex abuse against her that were phoned in anonymously — allegedly by Robin Niceta, a sex abuse and trafficking master-caseworker for the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services, and all because because Jurinsky insulted Niceta’s partner, embattled former Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson.

Wait, what?

As hard as it may be to wrap your head around this utterly bizarre story, we can still learn a valuable lesson about how authorities must always scrutinize such serious allegations with a jaundiced eye.

The overarching irony for me as a former deputy state public defender is that, during over a generation representing the indigent accused in the northern sector of Aurora, exactly zero of my clients was afforded
that same scrutiny prior to arrest, charge, high bail, lost job, at least
a year in court, and destroyed

But more than simple benign neglect, Human Services and the Aurora Police Department would routinely fight every effort of my defense team to do the same investigation. Despite prosecutorial ethics rules, witnesses were sometimes told not to speak with the defense and even physically sequestered from our investigators.

Any plausible evidence of
false allegations that we finally managed to uncover was scoffed at by prosecutors and sometimes disallowed by the court, because the evidence surfaced so late in the proceedings.

Perhaps now authorities might learn something from the Jurinsky fiasco. Perhaps not.

J. Brandeis Sperandeo, Denver

Better care for the mentally ill

Re: “Care center falsified records,” May 15 news story

According to the article, a Colorado mental health center, funded by state and federal governments to provide treatment for our mentally ill citizens, instructed staff members to falsify patient records. Monthly reimbursement for the mental health center is based partially on timely and complete documentation. If the report indicates patient improvement, the facility earns more money. This policy is counterproductive.

It motivates the workers to accept easily treated patients and discourages them from helping the seriously mentally ill, for whom we have inadequate medication and treatment.

It emphasizes income generation, not patient care, and distorts collected data, making it impossible to tweak the system to improve care.

Apparently, the clinicians are too busy with patients to document the Colorado Client Assessment Records that the facility must provide to receive funding. Supervisors make administrative staffers who have no medical training complete the assessment records, willy-nilly, with no regard to accuracy. To stay employed, the workers follow orders and burden themselves with a moral dilemma, knowing simultaneously, “I must do this,” and “I am doing something unethical.”

Providing the facility with more funding if the assessment record indicates patient improvement promotes fraud. Facilities that provide cancer treatment get reimbursement even if the patient dies. Insisting that a clinician improve the functioning of a treatment-resistant seriously mentally ill citizen is unrealistic. Keeping such a patient housed, out of jail and out of the ER is a challenging goal.

I have concern and compassion for all of our mentally ill citizens, for all who treat them and for policymakers who strive to spend our tax dollars prudently.

Jean Trester, Centennial

Apply that logic to guns, too

Re: “There’s no comparison between abortion and same-sex marriage,” May 19 letter to the editor

The letter writer encourages the left to not jump to the conclusion that same-sex marriage protection is in jeopardy if Roe fails. I would encourage the right to apply that logic to gun control; getting assault and military weapons off the street does not mean the government is coming for your rifles and handguns.

He is correct that both sides agree that ending a baby’s life seconds before birth would be a crime. But there’s no consensus as to when life begins. Some say it’s at the moment of conception. Others say it’s when the soul enters the body in the second trimester.

Does anyone know for sure? No. It’s a matter of faith. Therefore, no one can force or deny an abortion to anyone. It’s a matter of personal choice and accepting subsequent judgment if there is any.

This well-intended energy should be redirected toward making life better for all babies and families after birth.

Pat Scott, Denver

Rally coverage lacking

Re: “Abortion-rights backers rally in anger,” May 15 news story

As a 79-year­-old woman who lived through years before Roe vs. Wade, I felt some obligation to once again engage in advocacy for legal access to abortion. So I attended last Saturday’s Denver Bans Off Our Bodies rally, one of many around the nation. There were several hundred folks there of all ages and genders. (I don’t know exactly how many and was anxiously awaiting to learn those numbers from a Denver Post article).

The speeches were inspiring and motivating; people were engaged and protesting but peacefully with creative signs. The mood was one of commitment and intention to continue to protest what is perceived as an affront to women’s rights and decades of precedent.

I looked for an article and maybe some commentary in the Sunday Denver Post but found only the Associated Press article talking about all the demonstrations around the country (thank you for that, at least.) There was absolutely no mention of the local event in the paper.

I believe the media has great influence in reporting about folks engaged in non-violent actions. We all need some good news these days and channels to focus our anger. The Post regretfully missed an opportunity; I am saddened and disappointed.

Linda Gertenbach, Lakewood

TABOR’s repeal is long overdue

Re: “Refund checks may be bigger,” May 14 news story

As all Colorado taxpayers, rich and poor, anticipate receiving $500 or more per person as a refund from the state because of our tax limitation law, TABOR as it is called, let’s remember that from the Republican Party’s perspective, this type of stimulus has caused the high inflation we are all suffering from today.

Creating artificial buying power into supply chain uncertainty is potentially disastrous.

So why wouldn’t all of us be happy that our state now has a surplus that should be banked for future challenges or initiatives?

The answer is based on both greed and an erroneous belief system that denounces government and its role in our society.

This is time for thoughtful and caring Coloradans to recognize that the repeal of TABOR is long overdue.

Mark Zaitz, Denver

School boards should face standardized tests

Re: “Adams City High School’s closure is a mistake,” April 19 commentary

I fully agree with Judy Solano’s assessment of the national public high school standardized testing protocols.

They are failed and faulty attempts to raise the standards of education in a “one size fits all” system without addressing the unique needs of the students.

If any standardized testing should be done, it should be for the school boards to determine which policies are actually successful and which are not — not for the students.

MV Paul Worland, Ramona, Calif.

There’s no comparison between abortion and same-sex marriage

Re: “If Roe falls, is same-sex marriage next?” May 9 news story

This headline “If Roe falls, is same-sex marriage next?” puts the issues in the same category, which they are not. Same-sex marriage is something that occurs between two consenting adults.

Those who oppose same-sex marriage need to balance that belief with the fact that we live in a country founded on a principle of equal rights for all.

Those who oppose abortion do so as they believe it is taking a human life.

I would think that both sides would agree that ending a baby’s life seconds before birth would be a crime. We hear abortion supporters talk about when the baby would be viable outside the womb. They tend to ignore the fact the baby is viable inside the womb at conception.

Deciding at which point in between it is not a crime to end life is not a choice either side of the issue can, or should, make.

I would encourage the right side to realize gay rights are about personal choices made between consenting adults. I would further encourage the left to understand that opposing abortion is not about denying women’s choice but about protecting life for those that cannot speak for themselves. Equal rights for all.

Mike Siegrist, Thornton

Supreme Court broke my trust

I didn’t attend Harvard, Yale or Notre Dame. Perhaps this gives me a better perspective of basic human values. When eight justices attend two schools (four Harvard, four Yale), legal thinking becomes incestuous and arrogant.

Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) laid a foundation for the Supreme Court to protect individual rights and recognized the importance of legislation and its impact on the country.

This unanimous decision has been the basis for my respect for the Supreme Court.

Then in the 1960s, there was significant human rights protection by legislation, including voter and segregation rights.

Because this was legislation and not a court ruling locking these rights under constitutional protection, these rights have been attacked systematically and weakened by authoritarian politicians.

Now we have a “draft” ruling based on the premise that basic rights should be determined in the political arena. The founders knew the danger of subjecting basic rights to the vagaries of authoritarian leaders. Where did we go wrong?

For most of my 85 years, I have looked to the Supreme Court as the protector of basic rights — beyond the reach of authoritarian leaders.

But clearly this is no longer the case. The moral character is under scrutiny, the political and religious biases are obvious, and there is no basic ethical standard.

Along with much of the country, I no longer view the courts as the protector of rights.

Ed Shackelford, Denver

Target the true criminals, not legal concealed carry

Re: “City Council bans concealed carry guns in all city buildings, parks,” May 17 news story

I don’t understand. Those of us who lawfully carry concealed weapons in Denver may no longer do so?

Why don’t you go after the criminals who always have and always will carry concealed? Why aren’t we allowed to defend ourselves and others against the criminal carrier?

It is not as if law enforcement can do anything to help us.

It seems to me, only the criminals are protected. Law-abiding citizens are no longer protected. Victims of violent crimes are no longer protected. Criminals get out before the cops can finish their paperwork.

Donna Martin, Denver

Thoughts from a victim of catalytic-converter theft

Re: “Thefts of catalytic converters skyrocket,” May 9 news story

I’m inspired to toss in my thoughts for Colorado lawmakers on catalytic converter criminals since bandits stole mine in August 2021. Before Colorado gives tax money back to residents, it should create a catalytic converter task force until the theft problem is exhausted.

That task force would:

1. Offer a $1,000 reward for anyone reporting a thief.

2. Exempt any sales tax on sale and installation of a replacement catalytic converter.

3. The criminal should automatically forfeit any monetary possession for restitution of $2,000 per vehicle.

4. Create a catalytic converter neighborhood watch.

5. The thief serves at least a 12-month prison time upon first conviction.

As bad as the loss of my catalytic converter was, my neighbor — who courageously took pictures of the tag numbers of the two vehicles involved with the thief under my Jeep — got no callback from our Adams County Sheriff’s Department after three different messages were left.

Mike Sawyer, Denver

Rockies should not designate a closer

Re: “Rally wasted, K.C. scores twice in 9th inning,” May 16 sports story

The Rockies’ pitching staff could have been the model for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Every one of them pitches well sometimes and terribly at other times.

Closer Daniel Bard is a good example. Sunday he was Mr. Hyde, blowing a hard-fought, one-run lead in the ninth.

Why not have three relievers warm up in a closing situation? The bullpen coach, bullpen catcher and the pitcher himself should be able to notice if there is a “lack of command” or some other flaw. They could select the one they feel can best do the job on that particular day.

If the closer is not at his prime, the opposing batters will certainly notice. The bullpen staff should also notice and identify the best pitcher to close each game.

Managers like to have a designated closer who will almost always succeed. When the Rockies find a reliever with a WHIP well under 1, they will no longer have to use my suggestion. Until then, let the bullpen staff do their job by identifying the best man for the job by observing the warmup of more than one reliever.

David Wolf, Lakewood

Trump, the sequel

From his executive suite at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump is orchestrating his return to the presidency with an ongoing reboot of his “reality” show “The Apprentice” — this time a real search for aides and supporters who capitalize on the media penchant for treating politics as entertainment (and money in the bank). And how very skilled he is at keeping the focus on himself.

Love him or hate him, we can’t stop watching.

Robert Porath, Boulder

Is this who we are?

Re: “Buffalo shooter targeted Black neighborhood, officials say,” May 16 news story

Mass killings are now as American as baseball and apple pie.

Guns, and the Second Amendment, are not leading us to freedom in this country. Instead, this country’s love affair with guns and refusal to acknowledge the horrific terror, damage and grief cause oppression for members of our society.

Oppression occurs when one must consider dying because they are going to their place of worship, attending a community event or shopping for strawberries.

This oppression isn’t an accident. It is fueled by white supremacists who espouse racism through such fallacies as “replacement theory,” that teaching about racism’s part in our history is wrong, and that Black, Indigenous and people of color are a threat. White supremacist legislators, governors and influential “journalists” fuel the flames daily.

How many more 18-year-olds who have been fed these lies will manifest their hatred with a gun before we stand up and do what is right?

Kirstie Nixon, Lakewood

Listening to yet another account of a horrendous mass shooting, what struck me was the political rhetoric. When political figures address the ineffable horror of the shooting they say, “This is not us. This is not our America.”

Is this true? Do we live in the storied America where freedom and opportunity exist for all, no matter your religious belief, political affiliation or socioeconomic status, no matter the color of your skin or sexual orientation? Or do we live in a land where civil discourse bows to violence, where my belief system is far superior to yours, where I learn to hate that which is different? How do you think the loss of 10 of our fellow citizens to the hateful horror of yet another mass shooting identifies the United States. Are we truly the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Bob Bonacci, Littleton

Anxiety of having COVID

Recently I got my first COVID infection. The chills and sweats were tolerable, but the body aches and difficulty breathing made life difficult.

As a pediatric resident, it’s my job to treat the ill. After realizing I was infected with COVID, I had to figure out who I caused to become ill. My grandma, who is 85 with dementia and blood clot history? My 2-week-old nephew? My girlfriend? The anxiety and guilt over sickening my loved ones only added insult to the injury.

Though we are more than two years into the course of this pandemic, we are still fighting a battle that is raging.

With the current rise in cases, I ask my fellow citizens two things. One, if you are unvaccinated, please consider getting vaccinated, and if vaccinated, don’t forget about your booster. And two, if you’re not feeling well, stay home, and please don’t spread infection, COVID or not.

Maxwell Summerlin, Denver

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