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Letters to the Editor for the week of 12/31/19

Guidelines for letters

All letters must contain an address and phone number. Only one letter per week per person will be published; only one letter per person per month regarding the same topic will be published. Feather Publishing does not print third-party, anonymous or open letters. Letters must not exceed 300 words. Writers responding to previously published letters may not mention the author by name. The deadline is Friday at noon; deadlines may change due to holidays. Letters may be submitted at any of Feather Publishing’s offices, sent via fax to 283-3952 or emailed to [email protected].

Excellent reporting

Kudos to Linda Satchwell for capturing for readers the full message of December’s hospital board meeting. Expertly reported, the public had questions about the latest departures from the administration, but more importantly, Satchwell laid out the Board’s design going forward to assure quality, compassion and fiscal responsibilities for the survival and success of Eastern Plumas Healthcare.

Bill Powers

Portola

The Internet

At 73 years, I’ve found the Internet to be a very helpful tool, not a way of life. Will my perspective die out as folks like me die out?

Guy McNett

Indian Falls

Judges

Your impeached president is still working … As of Dec. 19, 2019, the United States Senate has confirmed 187 Article III judges nominated by President Trump, including two Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, 50 judges for the United States Courts of Appeals, 133 judges for the United States District Courts, and two judges for the United States Court of International Trade.

There are currently 33 nominations to Article III courts awaiting Senate action, including two for the Courts of Appeals, 30 for the District Courts and one for the Court of International Trade. There is currently one vacancy on the U.S. Courts of Appeals, 67 vacancies on the U.S. District Courts, two vacancies on the U.S. Court of International Trade, and 13 announced federal judicial vacancies that will occur before the end of Trump’s first term (one for the Courts of Appeals and 12 for District Courts).

In terms of Article I courts, as of Dec. 19, 2019, the Senate has confirmed 13 judges nominated by Trump, including three for the United States Court of Federal Claims, four for the United States Tax Court, four for the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, one for the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and one for the United States Court of Military Commission Review.

There are currently 13 nominations to Article I courts awaiting Senate action, including seven for the United States Court of Federal Claims and four for the Tax Court and two for the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. There are currently eight vacancies on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, two on the U.S. Tax Court. Trump designated Susan G. Braden and Margaret M. Sweeney as chief judges of the Court of Federal Claims.

In terms of Article IV territorial courts, there is currently one nomination to an Article IV court awaiting Senate action. President Trump has not made any recess appointments to the federal courts — yet!

Happy New Year!

Trent Saxton

Lake Davis

On Democracy

Perhaps the first thing to remember is that we are not a democracy, we have never been a democracy and we were never intended to be a democracy. We were intended to be a republic, albeit based upon certain democratic principles and ideals. The government of Athens in the 5th century BC was proclaimed a democracy. It failed miserably-twice. It was a nation of laws, but the laws were often less than rational. Women were sequestered. Wealth was sustained through slave labor, silver mines and the invasion and plundering of other lands. Wars were endemic, and the death rate from war and plague decimated Athen’s people. It still retained a rigid class system. When the lower classes were allowed to vote, they voted from a state of ignorance, insecurity and group conformity. Its judicial system attempted to be fair but gossip, greed and false accusations led to the death or exile of many good men. Neglecting to worship the state’s accepted religions was a capital offense. During a one-day-long major trial, 500 paid jurors often became a noisy rally for a longwinded, hatemongering, emotional plaintiff. The defendant was on his own in his brief claim of innocence.

In America, we have tried to improve the system. Our constitution, compromised as it was, is perhaps our greatest achievement. Democracy in ancient Athens was a balance of elitism and anarchy. In both of our nations, the missing elements have been well informed, objective, rational, thinking citizens. Our own judicial system has been seriously damaged. Our democratic republic has become a plutocracy, and our legislature is little improved over the emotionalism and ignorance that prevailed almost 2,500 years ago. Democratic ideals and principles would seem to be more readily proclaimed in theory than in practice.

Wallace B. Eshleman

Quincy

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