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October 18, 1991 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-10-18

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily-- Friday, October 18, 1991

CE Mdtogan&atIl
20 Maynard Street
Arbor, Michigan 48109 ANDREW GOTTESMAN
747-2814 Editor in Chief

4
Ann A

v

Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

STEPHEN HENDERSON
Opinion Editor

i

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board.
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represvent the opinion of the Daily.
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n the state of Washington, a ballot measure is
pending a vote that could make it the first law in
the United States to legally recognize the the right
of patients dependent on life support to end their
lives.
This measure is long overdue. Patients with
terminal diseases and no foreseeable hope of re-
covery should be able to decide if they wish their
lives to be extended by life support devices. A
doctor's job should involve advising the patient of
all possible options, and if possible, carrying out
the explicit wishes of a patient of sound mind. But
what if the doctor is able to force a patient to remain
on life support against his or her wishes? This is an.
unequal power relationship that must be addressed
by the law.
The proposed measure would allow a patient to
request euthanasia or "aid in dying," providing two
doctors have concluded that the patient has less
than six months to live. Two witnesses who have
no family or financial ties to the patient must sign
the written death request.
A person in a coma, however, must .have a
living will in order for an "aid in dying" to be.
granted under the bill.
A living will is a written statement made by a
patient of sound body and mind, which states the
conditions under which he or she would want to be
removed from life support.

Cases of the past year show a definite need for
such a bill. In 1990, Nancy Cruzan died after an
exhaustive, three-year court battle - the first to
address the issue of a right -to die. Paralyzed and
withoutcognitive brain function aftera car accident,
she was removed from life support as her family
said she would have wished. Anothercontroversial
case is that of Christine Busalacchi. A car accident
left her in a vegetative state with little hope of
recovery. After three years, her father has still not
been permitted to have her taken off life support, or
even have her moved from the Missouri hospital to
one whose euthanasia policies are less strict.
.Busalacchi was 17 years old at the time of the
accident and now 20, is still considered legally
incompetent to make a decision to end her life.
If Cruzan and Busalacchi had living wills, the
removal of life support would have been easier.
The Washington "Death with Dignity" bill makes.
the process of euthanizing patients more clear.
More importantly, this bill gives patients who
are near death and still conscious the ability to
decide for themselves whether they wish to go on
with life.
Passage of the "Death with Dignity" proposal
in Washington would set an example for similar
laws in other states. Such legislation will give the
terminally ill more freedom to choose to live and
end their lives with dignity.

I

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Re-acl6rst'peak out on Tho as

Supreme Court
Highest court in nation is rapidly losing prestige

A lexander Hamilton remarked in the Federalist
Papers that the Supreme Court is inherently
the weakest branch of the government because it
has neither the power of the purse nor the sword. In
other words, the Court must rely on its prestige and
the faith of the American people if it wants its
decisions to be enforced by the other branches of
the Government.
In order to invoke the trust of this country, the
Court must fosterits image as a intellectual body of
high legal minds - a group capable of examining
the Constitution and precedence in order to "find
the law."
The confirmation of Clarence Thomas, along
with last week's three ring circus on the floor of the
Senate Judiciary Committee, were entirely de-
structive to the prestige of the.court.
There was a time in this country when it was
unquestioned that the President would only ap-
point to the Supreme Court only the most re-
nowned intellects. Now the President chooses his
nominees from our country's "ought to remain
unknown" list. In 1990 it was David Souter, the
stealth nominee about whom the nation knew
literally nothing. This year it was Clarence Thomas,
the only Supreme Court justice to ever not receive
theAmericanBarAssociation's "highly qualified"
rating.

Many people fear our new Court because of its
solid conservative majority. A woman's right to an
abortion, civil rights, privacy, and many other
fundamental freedoms likely will be eroded or
eliminated in the next twenty years. We can take
some comfort, however, in knowing that the Court's
decisions will probably be questioned, and possi-
bly reversed, by the other branches of the govern-
ment.
This is not be the first time the Supreme Court
has been out of touch with the American public,
and has made decisions that were reviewed by
Congress.
When Franklin Roosevelt was implementing
the New Deal, a conservative court stood in the
way of many programs which were needed des-
perately by the impoverished of this country.
Fortunately, Roosevelt and a Democrat-ic Con-
gress were able to effectively check the power of
the court, and rescue America from the Great
Depression..
In light of the testimony ofAnita Hill, Clarence
Thomas should never have been confirmed.
Nonetheless, due to his clear lack of qualifications
for serving on the Supreme Court, he will be less
influential than an alternative nominee would have
been. This is small comfort for those who value
their individual rights.

Thomas confirmation
is disheartening
To the Daily:
Our nation is in a sad state of
affairs with the confirmation of
Judge Clarence Thomas to the
U.S. Supreme Court. It is dis-
heartening that our representatives
in the Senate were so easily
scared off from seeking the truth
with Thomas' charges of a "high-
tech lynching of an uppity Black
man." Such antagonizing charges
clearly show why this man should
not be on the Supreme Court.
Thomas' reasoning for not
listening to Professor Anita Hill's
testimony was that he had "heard
enough (lies)." How can this man
be a fair judge if he will not even
listen to all sides of a case?
Again, Thomas retorted that he
felt this was a personal matter in
which he was being attacked.
What is going to happen when a
race related issue comes before
the Supreme Court? Will hehave
already have formed a judgment?
Will he listen objectively to the
testimony on both sides?
Allegations that Hill came
forward with this information for
some personal gain are ludicrous.
She had nothing to gain by
coming forward, she has every-
thing to lose. If she ever decides
to seek another job she will
always be known as a whistle-
blower, and whistle-blowers are
not looked at kindly by employ-
ers.
Many Senators, including
David Boren (D-Okla.), Slade
Gordon (R-Wash.), and Richard
Shelby (D-Ala.) voted in favor of
Thomas by giving him "the
benefit of the doubt." If there is
any doubt in their minds, no one
- male, female, black, white,
green, blue, or purple should
be confirmed to such a powerful

position. This is a terrible mistake
by our president and our Senate
that we are all going to have to
live with for a very long time.
Heather Wade
LSA dunior
Steiner piece
'disgraces' Daily
To the Daily:
Shame! Shame on the Daily
and Julie Steiner! Shame on the
Daily for printing such an .
outlandish set of falsehoods
perpetrated by none other than the
"infamously open-minded"
Steiner. Not only has she dis-
graced the Daily (which you need
no help doing), but she has
allowed an issue as sensitive, as
sexual harassment to be tarnished
by her series of unfounded
allegations against Judge Clarence
Thomas.
In her piece entitled "Anita
Hill challenges norms," Steiner
has all but convicted Thomas with
her ridiculous series 'of charges
which have no basis in fact
whatsoever. Anita Hill's testi-
mony was hardly credible, as
Steiner denies, but even assuming
that Hill is telling the truth (a big
assumption), Steiner says,
"Women who know in their gut
what you have been through when
you worked with Clarence
Thomas..."
In short, Steiner has convicted
a man who has just as much, or
more I believe, credibility than
Anita Hill. What ever happened to
"innocent until proven guilty?"
For Steiner to lower the issue of
sexual harassment, as well as the
Senatenomination process, to the
level of petty, sexist, bigoted
remarks is beyond comprehen-
sion! At least we now know
where Steiner will stand on an

Michael.

J. Corbin
LSA Senior

issue where she, and other liberals
like her, cannot get her way
through fair play, decency, and
concrete evidence.
The nomination of Clarence
Thomas is such an issue, and I,
for one, am getting sick and tired
of people like Steiner getting all
the press. In short, Steiner should
just do the country a favor and
shut up.

*I

t

Iran-Contra hearings
Elliot Abrams' admission of guilt is evidence of cover-up.

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'Presumed innocent' doe

lliot Abrams has finally admitted his guilt. The
formerAssistant Secretary of State for Central
America for the Reagan Administration admitted
lying under oath before two congressional com-
mittees in October 1986. He lied to the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee about official U.S.
support for the Contras and to the House Intelli-
gence Committee about funding for the anti-
Sandinista resistance.
Abrams is the first and only State Department
official to face criminal charges for the cover-up of
the Iran-Contra affair. He joins a long list ofReagan
Administration employees to face investigations
or to plead guilty to charges relating to the scandal.
Lawrence Walsh, special prosecutor for the Iran-'
Contra affair, has investigated Oliver North, John
Poindexter, Robert McFarlane, Albert Hakim,
Richard Secord, Carl Channel, Alan Fiers, and
several other officials for their involvement in the
affair.
Last July, Alan Fiers pleaded guilty in a plea

bargain that would help in the prosecution of other
key figures. Now that Fiers and Abrams have both
pleaded guilty to lesser offenses in similar plea
bargains, Walsh must ensure that Abrams holds up
his end of the bargain in orderto convict higher-ups
without merely giving Abrams a slap on the wrist.
The successful prosecution of Abrams con-
firmed what investigators had said for years: Reagan
administration officials continually lied to Congress
in order to increase funding for the Contras. These
lies denied Congress its ability to check the ex-
ecutive branch when wrongdoing occurred.
Walsh achieved this victory after persevering
through long months of a seemingly fruitless in-
vestigation. But many questions remain. A crowd
of government bureaucrats, and perhaps top ad-
ministration officials, still need to be brought to.
justice before Iran-Contra can be resolved.
Administration officials should learn from Elliot
Abrams' conviction that not only is lying to Con-
gress unethical, it just might send you to prison.

by Elizabeth Cole
The woman in my exercise
class said, "Well, it's up to her to
prove it. He's innocent until
proven guilty." Everyone knew
she was talking about Clarence
Thomas and Anita Hill. It's the
story that had Americans on the
edges of their collective seats. It
was.the media extravaganza that.
rivaled the Gulf War for its
round-the-clock addictiveness and
day-time TV for its voyeuristic
pleasures. It was the chance for'.
whoever runs C-SPAN to feel like
it was sweeps week at a major
network and Joe Biden's opportu-
nity to live the fantasy that he was
Geraldo Rivera.
But the hook in this story was
the question of credibility. Sexual
harassment is a private indiscre-
tion; it was her word against his.
And if these two protagonists
seemed equally trustworthy with
their composed stage presence,
their humble-beginnings-made-.
good credentials, and their casts,
of supporting character witnesses;
then ultimately the jury should
have returned a verdict of not
guilty. There was an assumption
of n T annn. .nP"P arcrhr

moment of his life was submitted
for evidence. Watching.television,
we could scrutinize the mahi's
every pore. We could observe any
expression that played ever so
faintly across his face. We could.
look to see the reaction of his
wife. Alone at that great table, we
witnessed the trace of moistness
on his face bely his stoic de-
meanor. It-appeared that this was
an individual on trial, with his,
reputation - if not his life - at
stake. And across the country,
people argued in homes and
offices, bars and gyms that
certainly Thomas, the citizen,
deserved the presumption of
innocence.
It seems that we had all been
seduced by the intimacy and
immediacy of television. What
was undertaken as a public
hearing to determine a judge's
suitability to serve on the Su-
preme Court had been reframed
as the perhaps unfair indictment
of one man. As viewers, we lost
sight of the fact that the "verdict"
in this case affected each of us;
whoever was to fill that seat will
spend a lifetime shaping laws. To
makel~ a ulnnie.nn . . urit e- fr-

as't apply
and they inevitably are - that
they will more often be of the
second type.
'Could we have afforded this
presumption in this case? If
Thomas was innocent of harass-
ment and he was denied a seat on
the Supreme Court,'it would have
represented a personal tragedy for
one man and his family. Instead;
he-was found "not guilty," and
was appointed to the Supreme
Court. If he is the.man Anita Hill
testified that he is, this is a
national tragedy that will affect all
women and their families, well
into the next century. In this case,
the second type of error will be
far costlier than the first.
The medium of television has
created the illusion that the
hearings were Thomas' trial, and
that he had the'right-to his seat on.
the bench unless Anita Hill could
prove that her allegations were
true. There is no such right. If it
seemed that there was even a
small chance that the women who
accused Thomas are truthful, we
cannot privilege his individual
right to the presumption of
innocence over our collective
,' crht to n-~ rnnrt r,'nmrgTWA nf'

Nuts and Bolts
Z- eSEYou o vouT
HAtR SACK. - -\

(HAD HAIRL)ONOJRS.

WSLL LWATSOt.
2 UNT3RSTAND
as a imai9

by Judd Winick
$UT FRUMPY JYOU PON'TI
HAVE MCH+ S HO AVED
MY LE,S
AND PIT.5.

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