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Refresher course needed

ABA President Karen Mathis’ February editorial urging a commitment to justice for Guantanamo detainees should be a no-brainer for any lawyer, but, alas, to Barry Sullivan (March letters), “justice” is simply a bagatelle that stands in the way of punishing those alleged to have op-posed the United States on the battlefield or otherwise wished America ill.  

Perhaps Mr. Sullivan missed the news of detainee torture at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, actions that turn out to have been sanctioned at the highest levels of the administration. Possibly he overlooked the news that there have been and no doubt remain detainees there who simply happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Cer-tainly, such treatment warrants the effort to provide meaningful justice to these men. Isn’t that what America is supposed to be about?

I offer the suggestion that Mr. Sullivan take a refresher course in Constitutional law and think back to when justice meant something to most of those who are privileged to practice law.

Unfortunately, in a final sally, Mr. Sullivan imputes to Ms. Mathis base (in his eyes) motives for her defense of justice for detainees, an attitude that underlines the need for guidelines on civility between lawyers. Looked at from the perspective of a lawyer who has lived in a democratic Nordic country, there seems to be credible evidence that — to use Mr. Sullivan’s words — “America is an unjust imperial power.” If the concept of “justice” is intrinsically a part of a thriving democracy, then all of us should be very concerned at the health of our purported democracy.

Don Bay
Froson, Sweden

Who’s really colorblind?

Why do letter writers like Paul Thomas (February) argue so passionately against efforts to help groups who have been kept at the bottom of the ladder by artificial barriers? Does he believe that centuries of unequal opportunity can be completely mitigated if we simply declare ourselves to be “colorblind?”

Is Mr. Thomas claiming to be “colorblind” himself? If so, how does he know whether or not “the best person” has the job? Does he get more frustrated with less competent minority attorneys than he does with less competent, white male, attorneys? Does he truly apply his “standards” to all people equally, regardless of skin color and gender? Some evidence would be helpful.

David L. Hagan
Pismo Beach

Preferences aren’t diversity

Kudos to Paul W. Thomas for writing the letter I didn’t have time to write deploring preferences in the law disguised as “diversity” and the consequent dumbing down of tests. I can only add that it is maddening that the folks in charge of the State Bar are in the business of seeking out and promoting some groups at the expense of others. So much for “equal” rights. 

Linda Mok
Los Angeles

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