New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 9, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 4A ■ Sunday, April 9, 1995
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■ To talk with Interim Managing Editor Roger Croteau about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, ext. 21Opinion
Q U O T A B L
"The First Amendment is freedom's gravity; it holds together all our individual liberties."
— Jerry W. Friedheim, v.p. The Freedom Forum, 1994
E D I
I T O R I
Justice Department requirement that states track sex offenders is welcome
The Justice Department gave the states three years Friday to set up programs requiring convicted sex offenders to register with local police.
The federal requirement is a part of the Clinton administration crime bill enacted last year. Any sex offender who fails to register would face criminal charges.
Once criminals have completed their sentences they have paid their debt to society and are entitled to a fresh start. Forcing them to register with local police and providing that information to neighbors may seem unfair to some.
But sex offenders are a strange breed of criminal. Most will tell you that they just can't help themselves, and sex offenders are six times more likely to repeat their crime than other violent criminals.
Imagine yourself a parent of young children and a new neighbor moves in next door. Imagine that new neighbor is a newly released sex offender who has preyed upon children in his neighborhood before. Now imagine that no one ever tells you about your neighbor's unseemly past.
That is exactly what is happening in communities around the country right now.
But in three years that will be a thing of the past, that is, if it stands up to court challenges. A similar state law in New Jersey is being challenged by a sex offender on the basis that notifying the community that he is moving in will jeopardize his relations with his employer and his neighbors.
This law may make life after prison harder for convicted sex offenders, but that is of little concern. After all, they are some of the lowest characters around.
We should be more concerned with the safety of our children than we are about possible discrimination against those with a history of preying upon children.
Children will be safer and the number of repeat offenses will be decreased. This is common sense legislation that deserves the support in our courts that it has received in Congress.
(Today's editorial was written by Roger CroteauJ
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Editor and Publisher............................................................David Suttons
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Postmaster: Send address changes to the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, P.O. Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, Tx. 78131-1328.Pope points to moral fault line
Pope John Paul II ignited another firestorm of criticism in his latest encyclical in which he condemns in the strongest terms yet abortion and euthanasia. He said they are “crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize." The Pope added that there is a “profound crisis of culture" caused by an exaltation of the freedom of individuals at the expense of their personal responsibilities which, he said, has created “a veritable structure of sin."
The response, especially from some Catholic politicians, was predictable and unfortunate. Both Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and John Kerry (D.-Mass) issued statements affirming their belief in church-state separation, ignoring the Pope’s arguments. Yet it was Kennedy who, in a 1993 speech to the American Bar Association supporting the ABA’s litigation program on civil rights, appealed to the same standard the Pope used. Speaking favorably of Martin Luther King Jr.’s reference to the Declaration of Independence and its theological view that all of us are “created equal," Kennedy noted, “And Congress responded (to King) with those two great landmark bills on equal justice—the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965."
Why does it not violate church-state separation when a Baptist minister invokes a higher power to advance civil rights for blacks, but the Constitution is jeopardized when the Pope says that in abortion and euthanasia “the original inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote, or the will of one part of the people?"
Church-state separation is good when properly understood in its historical context, but not as it is defined by modernists as an irreconcilable divorce. But we have erected a spiritual Berlin Wall, not between church and state, but between God and us. It once was thought reasonable to worship God. Now we worship only ourselves and believe no outside wisdom is worthy of consideration. A magazine ad from the Nike shoe company attests to our idolatry: ’We are hedonists and we want what leek good. We are all basically hedonists. That’s what makes us human...If it feels good, then just do it"
The Pope gets to the heart of the matter when he writes about the responsibility of governments, especially one such as ours that was established on a foundation of moral principles and self-evident truths. In the document cited by the Pope, the purpose of government is “to secure" rights the Creator endowed. A government uninformed, uncontrolled and unanswerable to any authority other than itself can easily become totalitarian.
In an April 3 cover story on the Holocaust, U.S. News & World Report recalls an editorial by Chris
tian Century magazine 50 years ago. About the atrocities, the editorial said they showed “the horror of humanity itself when it has surrendbred to its capacity for evil.. JBuchenwald and the other concentration camps spell doom. But it is not simply the doom of the Nazis; it is the doom of man unless he can be brought to worship at the feet of the living God." Continues the U.S. News writer, “Even for secular intellectuals, the Holocaust supplied the most powerful brief yet for the existence of original sin. Two centuries earlier, thinkers were asserting the perfectibility of man. Now, they were debating whether Germans were human. The answer, tragically, was yes.”
There is a rich history of respect for spiritual ideas in the U.S. The Founding Fathers were not arrogant enough to believe they could create a nation uninformed and uncontrolled by ideas rooted in such wisdom. Were all of them ignorant of the principle of church-state separation?
The Pope was right and America’s contemporary leaders are wrong, no matter what a “majority" might think at the moment. Speaking of ideas informed by biblical wisdom, Andrew Jackson observed, “That Book, sir, is the rock on which the Republic rests." That the Republic rests none too well these days is due, in part, to its slipping off the rock. The Pope’s encyclical is an attempt to call our attention to the foundational fault line. We ignore it at our peril.
(Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist.)
This weekend marks the official opening of the Retama Park racetrack in Selma, just a few miles south of New Braunfels on Interstate 35.
We imagine some residents are glad to see the track open because it could provide an economic boost and provide entertainment for local residents.
We also imagine some residents are unhappy to see the horse track open because they are opposed to legalized gambling.
How do you feel?
Fill out the coupon (right), drop it by our office at 707 Landa St., New Braunfels, TX 78130 Deadline to submit your coupon is Saturday, April 15. Copied forms are accepted.
Are you alad or unhaonv that Retai Park racetrack has opened near N Braunfels?
Name _ Address. Phone#
Supreme Court clerks not just legal nerds
WASHINGTON (AP) — For young lawyers, there’s no better credential than having served as a Supreme Court law clerk.
Major law firms and law schools annually swoop in to recruit, as practitioners or professors, the 34 men and women who typically spend a year working for one of the nine justices.
Some eager law firms even sweeten big-salary offers with “signing bonuses" — true superstar treatment.
Supreme Court spokeswoman Toni House says some former clerks have likened their time at the high court to being struck by lightning. “They are working with the nation’s top judges, deciding the most important cases in the country," she said.
Each justice has three or four law
clerks to help with reviewing cases, researching and writing opinions.
The hours are long, the workload heavy and the pay — $42,214 — far less than what many of their former classmates are earning.
But besides the obvious prestige, there are certain fringe benefits: the regular Thursday tennis match with Chief Justice William Rehnquist, an occasional basketball game with Justice Clarence Thomas and an insider’s view of the evolution of American law, to name a few.
It almost goes without saying that there also is the prospect of a very bright professional future.
Former high court law clerks include three current high court members: Rehnquist, Stephen Brayer and John Paul Stevens.
The competition to land such a job is fierce. You probably need not apply if you did not finish at the top of your law class, preferably at one of the nation’s most prestigious law schools, or distinguish yourself as a writer or editor on a law school journal.
Most often, a year’s apprenticeship as a law clerk for some lower court is required too.
But increasingly, justices say they are looking for well-rounded individuals who are more than brilliant and bookish.
David Kravitz, now clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, appears to
fit that description. He earned his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Swarthmore College and his masters in music from the New England Conservatory before heading for the University of Michigan law school. 1
But he also is one heck of a baritone who performed as a soloist in Bostoir-area operas and recitals while clerking for then-Judge Brayer on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kravitz was a standout performer at a recent musical gathering sponsored by the court. The program also featured Margo Schlanger, a Yale grad who’s clerking for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and playing the viola in the Washington Symphony Orchestra.
Today in history
By The Associated Press
Today is Palm Sunday, April 9, the 99th day of 1995. There are 266 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On April 9, 1865, with the Civil War at a virtual end, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.
On this date:
In 1682, the French explorer Robert La Salle reached the Mississippi River.
In 1833, the first tax-supported public library was founded, in Peterborough, N.H.
In 1939, singer Marian Anderson performed a concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington after she was denied the use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
In 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway.
In 1942, during World War ll, American and Philippine defenders on Bataan capitulated to Japanese forces; the surren
der was followed by the notorious “Bataan Death March," which claimed nearly 10,000
In 1959, NASA announced the selection of America’s first seven astronauts: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard and Donald Slayton.
In 1963, British statesman Winston Churchill was made an honorary United States citizen.
In 1966, the newly built Houston Astrodome featured its first baseball game, an exhibition between the Astros and the New York Yankees. (The Astros won, 2-1.)
In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger ended its first mission with a safe landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Ten years ago: Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Naka-sone called on his countrymen to help reduce overseas trade friction by buying more foreign-made goods.
Five years ago: The baseball season opened a week late because of a labor dispute. Humorist John Henry Faulk, who’d challenged 1950s black
listing in the entertainment industry, died in Austin, Texas, at age 76.
One year ago: Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali ordered UN troops to use “all available means" to roll back Serb military gains in the Muslim enclave of Gorazde. The space shuttle Endeavour blasted off on an 11-day mission that included mapping the Earth’s surface in three dimensions.
Today's Birthdays: Former U.S. Sen. Abraham A. Ribicoff (D-Conn.) is 85. Playboy magazine founder Hugh Heftier is 69. Satirist Tom Lehrer is 67. Singer-songwriter Carl Perkins is 63. Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo is 62. Comedian Avery Schreiber is 60. Actress Michael Learned is 56. Actor Dennis Quaid is 41. Golfer Sevenano Ballesteros is 38. Actress-model Paulina Porizkova is 30. Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam is 16.
Thought for Today: “There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all." — Dame Rebecca West, Irish-, bom author and journalist (1892-1983).
The Survey says...
Responses split on Haiti question
Four readers responded to last week's survey question "Did President Bill Clinton handle the Haiti situation well?" Two thought the president handled it well and two thought he botched it.
A sampling of the responses:
■ President Clinton did a very fine job. He is the first president in 30 years to put a stop to boat people arriving illegally into Florida from Haiti and Cuba. These people are put on SSI-Medicaid and welfare and continue on it for life. It should be stopped nationwide.
■ At first I was quite nervous about sending troops into Haiti, but none of our boys were killed. We restored order and restored the president the people had elected democratically. Our country used to think democracy was worth fighting for. I still do.
■ When in Haiti over 20 years ago on a painting trip Haiti was unstable. The U.S. is not threatened by Haiti. It is not our province to correct on internal long-standing internal affairs of another country.
■ I have no favorable opinion toward Bill Clinton because of his personal actions during the Vietnam War. He does not deserve to be the commander in chief of our aimed forces, period.
This week, the Herald-Zeitung is asking readers how they feel about Retama Park racetrack opening in Selma. Take a minute to fill out the coupon above and return it by Saturday to be part of next week's article.