Letters to the Editor

10/3 Letters: Lawyers calling for appointing of judges not ‘self-interested’

J. Peder Zane’s column, “Appointing judges isn’t a panacea” (Sept. 27), was a misrepresentation of the motivations behind the legal community’s support for appointing judges in North Carolina. Zane claims, “Three views – all of which reflect the self-interest of the legal community – are catalyzing this push.”

If lawyers were self-interested when it comes to judicial selection, we’d support only the election of judges. We know the judges. We also know that the vast majority of the electorate doesn’t know anything about the judges on the ballot. This gives us disproportionate power in elections. We also regularly contribute to judicial races. If we were truly self-interested, we’d love a system that allows us to be seen as the funding source for the judges we want on our clients’ cases. What could be more self-interested than that?

But what makes elections so important for the legislative and executive branches is precisely what makes them so corrosive to the judicial branch: elected officials naturally represent the views of those who elected them. By electing judges we encourage them to form constituencies, when instead we should want them to “represent” the rule of law.

Michael W. Mitchell


Keep nurse program

I agree with comments in “Funding deadline looms for program that matches nurses and new mothers” (Sept. 28) that the Nurse-Family Partnership should continue to receive federal funding.

Some 55 years ago, I was a young mother with a newborn living in New York state. I knew nothing about babies and had no family member or friends living near to help me. My husband, a recent college graduate, had barely the $500 to pay for our daughter’s birth. I asked for help and the State of New York sent a young nurse, 19 years old, to my apartment, and she demonstrated how to bathe the baby and change her. She was a great source of information. North Carolina’s program is only 20 years old, but it serves the critical needs of low-income mothers and their children and funding should continue.

Rita Berman


Stop sports corruption

Regarding “Apparent informant in federal inquiry had ties to UNC athletes” (Sept. 28): This is the true face of college “revenue sports,” which have no constructive role in higher education. The reintroduction of freshman eligibility long ago removed “student” from “student athlete.”

When the schemes of professional gamblers led to the demise of the Dixie Classic, an opportunity for lasting, broader reform was squandered by the Big Four. On the hardwood and the gridiron, universities should not be represented by mercenaries. What to see how good a coach really is? Let him or her develop a team from actual students – without interfering in admissions or enrollment.

Randall Rickman