By playing politics, Justice Berger will not be seen as impartial

·4 min read
Ethan Hyman/ehyman@newsobserver.com

Phil Berger Jr.

North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Phil Berger Jr.’s recent statements show he is unfit to wear judicial robes. The most fundamental requirement of a judge is impartiality.

His actions and statements show him to be a judge before whom no one may reasonably feel any confidence of getting a fair hearing.

When judicial elections are nonpartisan, neither parties nor attorneys need to fear their case may be influenced by the judge checking their party membership.

When elections are publicly funded parties do not need to fear that their attorney did not give as much to the judge’s election fund as the other lawyer did.

What’s important to Berger is that everyone follows his politics. How can anyone believe justice is more important in his court than their politics? Answer: They can’t.

James P. Davidson, Lillington

Domestic terrorists

The writer served in Congress from 1992-2002, NC Dist. 1.

White supremacy influenced the actions of the 18-year gunman who took the lives of 10 people in Buffalo, NY. His race-based hate was deliberately fueled by misinformation sponsored by various racist groups and condoned or ignored by too many Republican leaders.

As we ask ourselves how such hatred and evil spreads so quickly, we must also admit to bearing some responsibility.

Democrats, independents, moderate Republicans, and other decent Americans are also guilty because of our “apathy.”

As we pray, we must pray for the courage to act. Citizens can demand that our elected leaders pass laws that protect all citizens, enforce laws against hate crimes, and ensure that those found guilty of hate crimes are charged as domestic terrorists.

We must demonstrate the same courage to stand up against domestic terrorists as we do foreign terrorists. But before we can solve a problem, we must acknowledge that there is one.

Eva Clayton, Littleton

GOP and guns

Albert Einstein is supposed to have said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This is exactly what the GOP has done for decades in response to gun violence in America. They do nothing over and over again, except offer thoughts and prayers. We deserve better.

Robert G. Harrison, Durham

Student debt

The writer is a former N.C. legislator and State Board of Education chairman.

Washington comes up with some wacky ideas from both parties from time to time. The worst idea currently proposed by the liberal/progressives is to forgive all or part of debt assumed by college students. What does this say about personal responsibility which is missing from the public debate on many issues?

So many parents and college students have worked two or three jobs to pay back their college loans. Now, some want to forgive those who are irresponsible. Give me a break!

Phil Kirk, Raleigh

US and Ukraine

Congress is passing a $40 billion dollar aid package to Ukraine, on top of the billions already sent. Does this make sense, given the enormous needs in our own country and around the world?

An estimated 42.5 million Americans currently live in poverty. Baby formula is scarce. Fire season has started early in the West. Why are we committing this huge chunk of money to war instead of to building the infrastructures our society desperately needs?

Do we really want to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, or possibly to the last vestige of life on earth, if nuclear war ensues? If we want to work for peace instead, let’s say so loudly and now.

Christine Mayfield, Pittsboro

School holidays

Regarding “Hindu leader wants Raleigh schools to close for Diwali,” (May 16):

A national Hindu leader is asking that all Raleigh schools close for the Diwali holiday. I am a Hindu leader and perform many religious functions in Research Triangle Park. I not only oppose any such proposal, but I suggest removing other religious holidays from school.

Reasons are simple: Religion is a polarizing factor. With religions come issues like school prayer, lunch – kosher, halal — and more. There may be over hundred religions practiced in North Carolina and it is simply impossible to accommodate all in the school systems.

School is supposed to be a place for education only, not to practice religions. They can all practice religions at home.

Amalendu Chatterjee, Durham

Confirming Cook

Sometimes progress does happen. That’s how I felt reading that the Senate voted to confirm Dr. Lisa Cook’s appointment to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors — a first for a Black woman.

Cook’s broad experiences as an academic and renowned economist will prove valuable in this time of economic uncertainty.

She also understands the barriers that people of color face — Black home buyers, in particular — who’ve been victims of our nation’s history of racist housing policy.

Confirming her was a step in the right direction toward building equity in the economy. Having her voice help guide the conversation on fiscal policy will pay dividends for years to come.

Nikitra Bailey, Cary