to the Editor

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Tuesday, December 22, 1998


Electing judges has many serious pitfalls

I wholeheartedly support Wilbert Wong's sentiments (Letters, Dec. 4) that society needs strong, independent judges who should be paid just wages. However, I question his suggestion that in order to have strong, independent judges, they must be elected:

bullet when judges are elected, they need to raise campaign funds. Judges in elective states receive hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars in campaign contributions. These come mainly from those who appear before them and from special-interest groups whose cases may be decided by them. The contributions raise serious issues of conflict of interest.

bullet Judicial campaigns do not help voters make a better choice because candidates for judges cannot promise to decide certain types of cases in a certain way. An ethical judicial candidate can only promise to decide each case according to the evidence and requirements of the law.

bullet In many jurisdictions where judicial elections are held, many candidates run unopposed, leaving the voter no choice at all.

bullet Public confidence in our judicial system will be undermined if judges were to make rulings based on campaign obligations or popular sentiment instead of the facts, the circumstances of each case and applicable law.

Interestingly, several elective-judge states, fed up with multimillion-dollar campaigns, are currently considering or are in the process of adopting a non-elective process similar to Hawaii's merit selection system.

James A. Kawachika
Hawaii State Bar Association

The president
under siege

President resisted temptation for a long time

The Monica Lewinsky testimony in front of the grand jury gave information that has not had proper press attention.

She reported that there were numerous contacts of a pleasurable nature without consummation until near the end of her relationship with the president, despite Miss Lewinsky's pleadings.

While I don't generally condone this degree of sexual overcontrol, it does give me added confidence in these circumstances that our commander in chief, the man with his finger on the nuclear button, did not lose control of himself until the end.

Do all those who are calling for his impeachment and removal think they could have resisted for so long under similar circumstances?

Tom Loomis
(Via the Internet)

GOP attempt to undo election is shameful

I'm beginning to think that I've been asleep for the past couple of years.

Weren't the people of the United States aware of the problems that President Clinton was having? I mean, hey guys, in the midst of all that was going on, the citizens of the United States voted to keep the president in office.

Now, elected officials of this country have taken it upon themselves (whatever their agenda) to disregard the voters of this country and remove the president from office.

They couldn't keep him from being re-elected, so they having taken it upon themselves to unelect him. Shame!

Caroline Dunn
(Via the Internet)

Glad to see Hillary is rising above scandal

Maureen Dowd's Dec. 11 column professed puzzlement at Hillary Clinton's newly glamorous public image. Mrs. Clinton is doing a tremendous service for abused women everywhere.

She is demonstratng that her self-esteem is not bound up with her husband's identity. Her recent "Save America Tour" and other appearances demonstrate that her husband's disgrace does not cripple her effectiveness or diminish her position as a leading national figure.

In separating herself from her husband's humiliation, she is demonstrating that her role is not that of rescuer or of making excuses for her husband. Whether she chooses to leave the swine or stay with him, she is making it very clear that she is certainly not the "Needy Little Woman."

Mrs. Clinton is not alone in establishing her own person. A whole new generation of women, who share her outlook, is maturing in this country. If they allow men to twist in the wind for their own misdeeds, it can only be good for children, families and the nation. Everybody wins.

Beverly Kai
(Via the Internet)

Great man or sex fiend? Women must decide

If, as Jane Watanabe stated in her defense of Bill Clinton in a Dec. 17 letter, "we are mere animals under the natural law" and "great men...have great appetites for great sex," then she shouldn't mind too much when those men hoot and holler, whistle and grovel to get women's attention.

Doesn't that sound like sexual harrassment? Which one is it ladies; is Clinton a great man or a sex fiend? You decide.

Victor Moss
(Via the Internet)

Lewinsky may leave explosive legacy

Will history regard Monica Lewinsky as the face that launched a thousand cruise missiles?

George I. Nakamura
(Via the Internet)

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