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March 16, 2012 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-03-16

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4 - Friday, March 16, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - Friday, March 16, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arhor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Imran Syed is the public editor. He can be reached at publiceditor@michigandaily.com.
Ensure integrity
Supreme Court should follow ethical guidelines
A n ethical judiciary is an integral pillar of a well-functioning
democracy. In an appeal for the United States Supreme Court
to adhere to a high ethical standard, a petition signed by more
than 100,000 citizens, 212 law professors and three members of Con-
gress calls for the court to formally observe the Code of Conduct for
United States Judges - a set of ethical guidelines designed to maintain
judicial integrity. The Supreme Court doesn't abide by the code, and
it should embrace these guidelines and establish a clear standard for
recusal from cases in which justices may have a conflict of interest.

The issue of judicial ethics has gained atten-
tion as the Supreme Court prepares to rule
on the constitutionality of President Barack
Obama's signature legislative achievement -
the 2010 healthcare reform law. Progressives
argue that Justice Clarence Thomas should
recuse himself from the case. Thomas's wife,
virginia, has worked against the implemen-
tation of the ACA, calling for the repeal of
the law in question. Likewise, conservatives
maintain that Justice Elena Kagan shouldn't
hear the case because she served as Obama's
solicitor general while the law was meander-
ing its way through Congress. The solicitor
general represents the U.S. federal govern-
ment before the Supreme Court.
This individual case highlights the necessi-
ty of having a clear and coherent set of recusal
guidelines for the Supreme Court, especially
since judges in all lower federal courts are
bound to follow them. The standards are
not unreasonable - they generally commit
judges to uphold integrity, avoid impropriety,
perform duties fairly and refrain from politi-
cal activity. Formalizing these rules for the
Supreme Court could, at the very least, stop
calls for recusal and provide a set of stan-
dards to facilitate public appeal in the inter-
est of reasonable judgments. In the case of
the healthcare law, people calling for Kagan
or Thomas to refrain from ruling would have
legal backing for their arguments through
specific provisions of the Code of Conduct.
The highest court in the land should

undoubtedly be bound to the same, or high-
er, ethical code as all other federal judges.
The decisions of the Supreme Court carry
the most weight and effectively serve as the
final say short of Constitutional amendment.
The Supreme Court has decisively shaped
the American legal system with rulings on
wide ranging and controversial issues such as
school segregation and abortion - issues that
have immense implications for individual
rights and legal precedent. It follows that for-
malized judicial ethics must be the foremost
concern of the court, not an afterthought.
Regent Denise Ilitch (D-Bingham Farms),
Chair of the University's Board of Regents,
excused herself from the board's vote last
month on whether the NHL's Winter Clas-
sic could be played in the Michigan Stadium,
because her family owns the Detroit Red
Wings. If Ilitch can recuse herself from a deci-
sion with a far smaller impact, the Supreme
Courtshould - at the very least - adopt a gen-
eral set of guidelines for Justices' behavior.
It's true the Supreme Court's formal accep-
tance of the Code of Conduct for United States
Judges could contribute to additional politi-
cization of the court with frivolous partisan
calls for recusal, but the benefits outweigh the
costs. The Supreme Court is too influential of
a legal entity to not exercise appropriate pru-
dence when it comes to potential conflicts of
interests. While justices are already trusted
with high integrity, formal guidelines would
serve to maintain the bar they've set.

LIoIIlL 'I ("'R !R
@TornadoWarning thanks for wasting
2 hrs of hw time... we were trying to
12) get ahead for #St.Potrick'sDay
Sourcing your coverage
T he other day I decided to accessible, 24/7 news society is that on a downward spiral of immense
go on a Twitter rampage in news is easily and inevitably person- polarization. In the eyes of count-
attempt to follow every news alized - and maybe too much. Itread less Democrats, Rush Limbaugh
source I could numerous articles every day regard- will continue to become the devilish
think of. I felt ing the disaster of the never-ending face of the Republican Party and for
like I had to in GOP primary, issues pertaining spe- many Republicans, Barack Obama
order to stay up- cifically to college students and this will steadily become less and less
to-date. Twitter so-called "war on women." With so "American."
now breaks news many news options available, there's
first.I was some- no incentive to continue reading if
what selective we aren't entertained or agree with
in adding these ADRIENNE the article we're reading. New s is never
news sources,ARBENTE This is true especially in college.
however. Any- ROBERTS We all have extremely busy and truely objectve
thing Fox News- sometimes solitary lives that don't ,
related didn't leave room for social and political it is biased.
exactly make the cut. Why? Because discussions. It's almost a require-
I can't stand the thought of seeing ment to bring your laptop and home-
an endless stream of liberal bash- work with you to meet up with
ing. Also, I just didn't feel like read- friends, even if you're just going out Each news source does have some
ing tweets from a news source that I for dinner. When I first came here as element of truth. Every second, we
disagree with 99 percent of the time. a freshman, the first thing I noticed are bombarded with varying types
Looking back on my decision, it's is that we live in a bubble that of news, and it's our responsibility
easy to see why this country, myself secludes us from the real world. If to critically read a plethora ofsourc-
included, is so biased and uniformed news doesn't pertain to us as college es. Uniformed consumers of news
on certain issues. News is now more students, we probably won't know make for more uneducated debates
available than ever before. When I about it unless we seek that informa- and deeper misunderstandings.
was younger, my family would wake tion out. Even if an article doesn't pertain
up to the Detroit Free Press in the News is biased. No matter how to you specifically, it doesn't mean
morning and faithfully watch NBC objective a news source claims to it won't have an effect on those
Nightly News with Tom Brokaw at be, it's not, and never can be, com- around you. It's crucial to read and
6:30 every evening. Those were my pletely objective. Each reporting watch news with an open mind
only sources for news each day. This decision made in an article you're because that small grain of truth,
is hardly the case anymore. Now, reading- from the angle of the story portrayed in something you may
each morning I get up and check to the seemingly extraneous facts not completely agree with, is some-
Twitter, scrolling through and read- that are edited out - is a choice, and one else's belief. And no matter how
ing articles written by people I fol- that choice creates a certain bias many liberal-bashing tweets come
low and find interesting. News is for anything, harmless or not. Once from that dreaded news source's
constantly being updated, and if you we accept that news will always be Twitter account, maybe it's worth
don't check your television or the biased, we will realize that we are it to follow them, if for nothing less
Internet for two hours, you could inadvertently inhibiting our own than entertainment's sake.
miss something huge. capacity for knowledge.
In theory, I'm doing better than News is destined to remain a per-
some. At least I'm paying attention vasive factor in our society. Until - Adrienne Roberts can be reached
to the news. But the underlying we recognize our own flaws in how at adrirobe@umich.edu. Follow her on
problem with the advent of the all- we engage with it, we will continue Twitter at @AdrRoberts.
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor and viewpoints. Letters should be fewer
than 300 words while viewpoints should be 550-850 words. Both must include the writer's full
name and University affiliation. Send submissions to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.
Take out the (space) trash

Aida Ali, Laura Argintar, Kaan Avdan, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Harsha Panduranga, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne
Roberts, Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Seth Soderborg, Caroline Syms, Andrew Weiner

Keystone XL pipeline would
threaten major water source

depletion of the Ath
which extends into
Park - due to unfe
ment, is hardly "ove

TO THE DAILY: Obama recognizes
Kyle Smith omits many important consider- won't allow constru
ations from his March 12th viewpoint, "Focus pipeline. He happen
onjobs,notre-election".Asoilused to be,water cial interest enviro
is viewed as an endless resource, the conserva- port him" and this
tion of which is therefore not necessary. to "anger" them, is t
Smith's article was brought about by our Corresponding spec
current oil crisis. Living in an affluent country, undoubtedly angere
we notice a shortage of oil much sooner than able energy, whichi
one of water, but unlike oil, water is necessary able than oil from C
for life on our planet. The fact that Smith fails are far more jobs toI
to even name the Ogallala Aquifer reveals deep there are by constru
ignorance of environmental issues with water. On top of all the:
Because it provides 30 percent of the ground- Smith's article, and
water used for crop irrigation, contamination that any presidentn
oftheOgallalaAquiferwouldtherebycausethe he does not conce
nation to suffer if it were to be contaminated. A dates have certainly
good argument would at least take into account before job creation:
the name of that "aquifer in Nebraska", which
actually extends into 7 other states as well. Juliana Ley
This threat, along with contamination and Engineeringsenior

abasca River watershed -
beautiful Jasper National
ettered tar sands develop-
rblown." President Barack
this and consequently
uction of the Keystone XL
ns to agree with the "spe-
nmental groups that sup-
, rather than not wanting
the reason for his decision.
cial interest oil groups are
d by a movetoward renew-
is even more safe and reli-
anada. Furthermore, there
be created in this areathan
ction of a pipeline.
se facts that are lacking in
even when we grant him
eeds a plan for re-election,
de that Republican candi-
y been putting other issues
as well.

The modern sum of man-
made waste has gotten to be
out of this world - some of it
quite literally.
According to
NASA's web-
site, more than
21,000 pieces
of debris larger
than 10 centi-
meters, 500,000
pieces 1 to 10 KRISTEN
centimeters, and KILEK
more 100 million
pieces less than
1 centimeter are currently orbiting
our planet.
Orbital debris - useless bits of
man-made metals, paints, human
waste and other random objects
introduced by humans into Earth's
orbit - are becoming increas-
ingly dangerous to contemporary
space navigation and satellite func-
tion. NASA estimates that a piece
of debris smaller than half an inch
could cause an impact similar to a
bowling ball moving at 300 miles per
hour if it collided with a satellite or
Though scientists have been
aware of the growing galactic gar-
bage mass for decades and many
national space programs have
instituted policies to monitor its
movement and reduce future addi-
tions, very little of what's already
out there has been eliminated. A
September 2011 report assessment
from the National Research Coun-
cil called upon NASA to develop
technologies that actively remove
debris from space. It also stated
that the amount of orbital debris
is approaching a "tipping point,"
when so much material will be in
orbit that it will continuously col-
lide and multiply.
Most orbital debris originated
from satellite collisions. The Union
of Concerned Scientists' Satellite

Database alone lists more than 900
active commercial and government
satellites currently orbiting Earth
- and the number is increasing.
The 2009 collision of U.S.-sourced
Iridium 33 and Russian Kosmos 2251
satellites serves as a prime example
of the massive potential for orbital
debris generation. This single event
accounts for one-third of all cata-
logued orbital debris.
Though the United States has
made great strides in monitoring
orbital debris, it needs to step up
on its remediation strategies. Last
month, Switzerland announced its
plans to lead the world in orbital
debris removal. The Swiss are cur-
rently developing CleanSpace One
- endearingly referred to as "the
janitor satellite" - a prototype for a
line of satellites they'll send into the
cosmos to pick up decommissioned
satellites within the next three to
five years.
CleanSpace One will be a very
small device - only about 10 centi-
meters by 10 centimeters by 30 cen-
timeters - and is aiming to offer a
relatively inexpensive method for
space disposal services. It will travel
at 17,400 mile per hour, latch onto its
target with its appendages and then
fly toward Earth on a kamikaze-like
mission, with both masses burning
up as they re-enter the atmosphere.
Here's the catch though - the
United Nations' Outer Space Treaty
of 1967 prohibits the reclamation of
any other country's object in space.
This means that the CleanSpace
satellites from Switzerland will
likely focus on remediation of orbital
debris hailing only from Switzer-
land. In addition to the extensive
amount of time it would take to get
each space-faring nation to reme-
diate its rubble, there is also great
potential for miscommunication and
misunderstanding among nations
claiming individual space objects as

their own property.
I have a feeling that no matter
how much pride a nation has in their
spacecraft, it's a bit difficult to dif-
ferentiate between scraps of metal
speeding around the Earth at rates
upward of 20,000 miles per hour.
These pieces of junk, though, are
a nuisance to all space exploration,
no matter who they belong to. This
situation represents a tragedy of the
commons in which everybody has
to take responsibility to tackle the
Orbiting debris
is approaching a
tipping point.
Though there is no specific inter-
national treaty on orbital debris,
many leading space agencies have
come together through the Inter-
Agency Space Debris Coordination
Committee to limit future growth
of orbital debris. NASA also reports
that the United Nations Committee
on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
has discussed orbital debris since
Though a difficult undertaking,
Switzerland's innovation in the area
of orbital debris remediation dem-
onstrates that viable options are
surfacing. It's about time that major
space-faring nations get together
and clean up their messes - not
only to reduce our footprint on the
universe but also to allow for the
successes of current and future tech-
nologies in outer space.
-Kristen Kiluk can be reached
at kkilukumich.edu. Follow her
on Twitter at @KristenKiluk

Backlash over column on
sexuality was beneficial

Just be safe, heal
Looking back,
footing. Not yet f
I was, instead of

TO THE DAILY: felt I was on the'
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the in my life, but I:
readers of The Michigan Daily, especially those it was. It could 1
who took the time and effort to comment on my my new job as a
opinion piece last summer, Pandora's Box." At abroad, assisting
the time, the criticism was very hard to take in ing the Daily opir
stride, and I was overwhelmed with feelings of going to be, it ne
embarrassment. But in actuality, reading those chance. Good, ba
comments was incredibly helpful in learning move, and I ende
a hard lesson - I made a mistake. I put myself I'm luckythat
out there and fell flat on my face in front of the will live forevert
entire University. But that's okay. - it's a part of m
I want to make clear that the attitude deny or hide fron
expressed in my previous piece is no longer an I can only ta
accurate portrayal of myself. My understand- personal growth
ing of sexuality has grown significantly since I edge I've gained1
wrote my "sex column" last summer. It's more
sophisticated and mature, and frankly I won't Molly Payton
be commenting on sexuality anytime soon. LSA sophomore

thy and happy.
,I see myself still finding my
had I come to terms with who
f who I thought I should be. I
verge of something significant
couldn't quite figure out what
have been a myriad of things:
bartender, possible semesters
a local band on tour or join-
nion staff. But whatever it was
eded my willingness to take a
ad, or ugly I needed to make a
d taking a wrong turn.
this hiccup in my adult career
thanks to the Daily's archives
y history and I'm not going to
m it.
ke this as an opportunity for
and try to balance the knowl-
with the experiences I've had.

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