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October 16, 1996 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-16

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NATION/WORLD

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 16, 1996 -- 7

South may be
key to Senate"
Los Angeles Times
CROWLEY, La. - It was jambalaya, alligator-on-a-stick,
and young mothers with babies on their hip two-stepping to
*listering Cajun music from hometown hero Wayne Toups at
the 60th International Rice Festival here.
And then, the way they like it in Louisiana, there was time
for just a taste of politics during the parade. Dodging the candy
that revelers tossed Mardi Gras-style from the floats rolling
down Parkerson Avenue, Republican Woody Jenkins and
Democrat Mary Landrieu got a workout Saturday as they hur-
ried up and down the parade route, shaking every hand they
could reach in the crowds that lined the sidewalks.
Jenkins and Landrieu are both sweating out the final three
weeks of a sprint-to-the-finish race to succeed retiring
emocratic Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Jr. And, with their eyes on
e battle for the Senate, both party hierarchies in Washington
are sweating right along with them.
Louisiana is one of four Southern states where the retire-
ment of longtime senators is forcing Democrats to defend dif-
ficult terrain, even as they drive to seize Republican ground
elsewhere.
Facing the threat that Democrats could capture Republican
seats in states such as Colorado, South Dakota, Oregon and
New Hampshire, the GOP is counting on offsetting gains in
these four Democratic-held seats to preserve its Senate major-
"If Republicans can pick up two, three or four of these
Senate seats, there is no way the Democrats can take back the
Senate;' said Atlanta-based GOP pollster Whit Ayres, who is
working in several of these races.
In the first months after their Sherman-like advance across
the region in 1994, Republicans were favored to win all of
these seats. Today, as the national currents have shifted, the two
sides appear much more evenly matched.
The Republican prospects are strongest in Alabama, where
polls show GOP Attorney General Jeff Sessions holding a 9-
percentage-point lead over Democratic State Sen. Roger
#edford in the race to succeed Sen. Howell T. Heflin.
Democrats have the upper hand in Georgia, where Secretary
of State Max Cleland, a disabled Vietnam War veteran, has
held a steady lead over Republican business executive Guy
Millner for the seat now held by Sen. Sam Nunn.
On the bubble are the races in Louisiana and in Arkansas. In
Arkans'as, polls show Democratic Attorney General Winston
Bryant clinging to a narrow lead over freshman Republican
Rep. Tim Hutchinson for the right to succeed Sen. David
Pryor. The latest Louisiana survey - released last week by
Baton Rouge-based Southern Media and Opinion Research -
Ohowed Landrieu, holding a slim 47 percent-to-41 percent lead
over Jenkins, but with his support more firm than hers.
Calif. prpsla

Court sets up
key ruling on
religious issues

WASHINGTON (AP) - By agree-
ing to study what once would have been
an everyday zoning dispute between a
Roman Catholic church and a Texas
city, the Supreme Court set the stage
yesterday for a key ruling on religious
freedom.
The justices said they will decide the
constitutionality of a 1993 law - the
Religious Freedom Restoration Act - -
that makes it harder for government to
interfere with religious practices. The
court's ruling, expected by July, could
clarify just when government is allowed
to do so.
A church in Boerne, Texas, invoked
the law after the city thwarted its
attempt to build an addition. The
church argued that Boerne's refusal to
issue the permit was an example of
governmental action banned by the
law.
City officials, in turn, mounted a
constitutional attack - contending that
in passing the law, Congress unlawfully
usurped power from state and local
governments and from the Supreme
Court itself.
"What's at stake is really any
meaningful expression of faith for
all Americans," said Melissa Rogers
of the Baptist Joint Committee on
Public Affairs, one of many religious
groups that pushed for the act's pas-
sage.
"We think the law is both constitu-
tional and vital to religious freedom,'

she said.
But the 1993 law has been particular-
ly unpopular with prison officials in
many states. They say it caused a flood
of lawsuits in which inmates challenged
regulation of apparel, diet and other
aspects of life behind bars as violations
of their religious beliefs.
In other action yesterday, the court:
Let stand a never-enforced 1991
Michigan court order that bars Dr. Jack
Kevorkian from helping people commit
suicide.
Agreed to decide in a New York
case whether states may tax the income
of hospitals run by employee welfare
benefit plans.
Voted to decide whether a Florida
state Senate district in the Tampa-St.
Petersburg area unlawfully favors black
voters.
Ordered a federal appeals court to
reconsider a ruling that had barred
California's use of poison gas in execu-
tions.
The 1993 law on religious freedom
was enacted in response to a 1990
Supreme Court decision that said laws
otherwise neutral toward religion are
not unconstitutional just because they
may infringe on some people's religious
beliefs.
The 1990 decision came in an
Oregon case about Native American rit-
uals. The court found there is no consti-
tutional right to take the hallucinogenic
drug peyote as a religious practice.

Sitring 'em up
Former U.S. Army military police officer Joseph Malta, of Revere, Mass., demonstrates a hang-
man's apparatus yesterday as he discusses his role as hangman of WWII Nazi criminals in
West Germany, 50 years ago today.
quiet subject in '96 race

complete lecture notes. These notes can make great supplemental study guides.
Anthro Cult 385 GeanSc111 PsoLScL395

Chem 10
-- E-onA2__
--English-3l3_._

Ge.rman 101_
-- __.PbysA2 _-

Psych.330
APsych.350
_Psych AOO._
-Slavu395S-

Newsday
LOS ANGELES - David Duke had
just finished congratulating his audi-
nce for keeping an open mind about
his controversial views on race and
affirmative action when the first disrup-
tion bubbled to the surface.
A. student in a red T-shirt covered
with anti-racism slogans rose and strode
toward the Klansman-turned-politician,
shouting insults that were lost in a
cacophony of competing cheers and
boos as he was hustled away by securi-
ty officers.
10 The rest of the debate between Duke
and a black activist over a ballot
proposition that would curtail affirma-
tive action in California was peaceful
enough - inside the hall. Outside,
however, dozens of protesters bent on
disruption chanted, pounded on win-
dows and skirmished with police. By
day's end, the detritus of battle -
hurled rocks and bottles, torn placards
and the lingering odor of tear gas -

clung to the normally placid campus of
California State University,
Northridge, like beach debris after a
storm.
But if Duke's appearance last month
generated predictably fierce emotions,
political observers have been surprised
by how quiet and relatively passionless
the broader campaign over the ballot
initiative has been - and how little of it
has spilled over into the presidential
contest in this vast, vote-rich state.
When the affirmative-action proposi-
tion first surfaced last year, most
observers identified it as a potential
wedge that could be driven deep into
the Democratic base. The initiative,
they reasoned, would force President
Clinton into a no-win choice of alienat-
ing either his core constituency of
minorities or white swing voters, both
of whom are essential to his prospects
for carrying California and its 54 elec-
toral votes.
Backers of the proposal, such as Gov.
Pete Wilson, who made it the center-

piece of his own abortive presidential
campaign, touted it as the latest in a
long line of California ballot initiatives
to touch off a national trend. Opponents
of affirmative action in several other
states readied similar propositionsrais-
ing the prospect that the issue would
resonate across the country in the midst
of the presidential campaign.
But things haven't worked out that
way. The initiative, known as
Proposition 209, remains popular and
headed for apparent victory, according
to several recent polls -but so does
Clinton, despite his opposition to it.
Republican nominee Bob Dole
endorsed 209 but rarely mentions it;
running mate Jack Kemp dropped his
opposition to it to match Dole's stance,
but said recently that it would not be a
major campaign focus because of its
divisive nature.
That has angered some California
Republicans, who argue that Dole and
Kemp are blowing a golden opportuni-
ty. "It's unfortunate that they've made a

decision to stay away from the issue,
said Dan Schnur, a former political
adviser to Wilson. "It's not an issue that
will elect a president by itself.... But as
part of a broader message, it's a very
effective way to draw the distinctions
between the two candidates."
Dole's California campaign manager,
Ken Khachigian, dismisses such criti-
cism as "second-guessing." He calls
affirmative action an important issue,
but added: "It never was or was thought
to be the crown jewel. ... I've never
viewed it as a wedge issue.
Democrats assert that the Dole cam-
paign's decision is based on reality. "It
just hasn't panned out as the great polit-
ical wedge Wilson planned it to be:'
said Los Angeles political consultant
Bill Carrick, an adviser to the Clinton
campaign. "On the other hand, there is
a lot of energy among the opponents.
So it may energize people who are part
of the Democratic base. He (Wilson)
may turn out to be have been too smart
by half."

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