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June 15, 2009 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2009-06-15

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Monday, June 15, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109





Unsigned editorials reflect theofficialposition of the Daily's editorialboard. Allother signed articles and illustrations represent solely
the views of their authors.
Rerlouting priorities
Ann Arbor should maintain The Link in face of funding woes
Ann Arbor seems to have developed a split personality regarding
buses. This fall, The Link - the purple bus that circles downtown
Ann Arbor - may see part of its route discontinued. But at the
same time, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority is adding a new com-
muter bus route to nearby Canton Township. These changes are sending
mixed messages about Ann Arbor's commitment to mass transportation.
While establishing a new bus route is commendable, shutting down the
buses that service downtown would be a blow for students and staff that
rely on free, easy transportation. The city of Ann Arbor shouldn't cancel
this important bus service. Instead, it should continue to provide afford-
able mass transportation options to residents and workers.

A president's enduring legacy
is often not the legislation passed
during his term or the executive
orders he signs. Often, it's the jus-
tices he nominates to the Supreme
Court. President George H.W.
Bush will forever be remembered
for nominating Justice David
Souter (a liberal) to the bench,
despite the fact that Souter's phil-
osophical ideals turned out to be
quite different from the former
president's. His son, President
George W. Bush, nominated two
conservative justices to the bench,
Justice John Roberts and Justice
Samuel Alito, whose political ide-
als will echo Bush's for years. Now,
President Barack Obama has his
first opportunity to put his philo-
sophical fingerprint on the highest
court in the land. But, unfortu-
nately, his nominee has more than
a few skeletons in her closet.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor has
a history of controversy deeper.
than just her famous comments
concerning the experiences of
Latinawomen. Sotomayorhas had
four out of six appealed decisions
overturned and has been cited
by the Supreme Court as using
faulty reasoning to reach one of
her decisions in a 2006 case. In
addition to these concrete legal
issues, Sotomayor has publically
expressed her support for judicial
activism. "The CourtofAppeals is
where policy is made," Sotomayor
said at a conference at Duke Uni-
versity Law School in 2005.
But it'sthe job of the legislature,
not the judicial system, to decide
policy. The courts are where laws
are tested, not -where they're
made. Legal decisions should be
based on impartial interpretations
of the law. Middle school civics
students can tell you activism on
the bench should be discouraged.
Politics aren't within the realm
of judges, though it would appear
that Sotomayor mayudisagree.
Congress should examine
another comment from Sotomay-
or. "I wonder whether by ignoring
our differences as women or men
of color we do a disservice both to

the law and society," she said at a
symposium at the University of
California, Berkeley in 2001. This
comment has worrisome implica-
tions for those who could be judged
on their genetic characteristics.
More importantly, what would
we say if a white man echoed sen-
timents that he should consider
race in his decisions? We would
be outraged, and rightfully so.
When a defendant goes before a
court, he or she is owed the neu-
trality of the judge.
Another area that requires
careful examination prior to con-
firmation is Sotomayor's record.
One case that stands out as trou-
bling is the oft-pub'licized Ricci v.
DeStefano. This New Haven, CT
case involved 18 firefighters who
passed a city promotions test but
were denied their promotion due
to the fact that no black firefight-
ers qualified for the promotion.
The firefighters, most of whom
werewhite, then sued the city for
racial discrimination. Making her
decision based on her own liberal
tendencies, and possibly with race
in mind, Sotomayor ruled in favor
of the city, upholding the idea
that although the 18 firefighters
studied and met the requirements
for their promotions, they should
be denied due to their ethnicity.
Sotomayor should have fought
racial preferences - even against
white men - instead of engaging
in judicial activism that denied
these firefighters their rightfully
earned positions.
Sotomayor will 'be subject to
mandatory congressional confir-
mation hearings, though Obama
has strongly indicated that he
would like to see her confirma-
tion occur by Aug. 7. But Soto-
mayor isn't the caliber of judge
we have come to expect on the
Supreme Court. Judicial activism
has no place on the highest court
in America. And Sotomayor's sup-
port of it makes her a candidate
requiring careful consideration.
Asa Smith is an
LSA sophomore.

At Ann Arbor's Downtown
Development Authority board
meeting on June 3, the $70,000
grant that funds The Link
wasn't renewed. When The Link
service, which is ordinarily sus-
pended in the summer, restarts
this fall, it's likely that most of
its route will be removed. Only
the eastern loop - which ser-
vices the University and Oxford
Housing - will remain.
But while the DDA cut fund-
ing for The Link, the AATA
announced on June 11 the for-
mation of a new commuter bus
route between Ann Arbor and
Canton Township. The route is
funded by a U.S. Department
of Transportation grant and
will open by late August. The
bus will be available for only
$125 per month. For University
employees, there's another perk
- the University will cover half
this cost.
While Ann Arbor is making
strides by adding the new com-

muter bus route to Canton, it's
also taking away busing options
within the city that residents
and students rely on. There is
no fare to use The Link buses,
making them the ideal trans-
portation option for Ann Arbor
residents and workers down-
town. For the University stu-
dents and staff that choose to
live in Kerrytown, The Link
ensures that travel around Ann
Arbor is an affordable option.
But the consequences of los-
ing The Link are more far-
reaching than just the cost for
passengers. Without the buses,
residents and workers down-
town will be forced to drive in
an already congested area. This
will increase street traffic and
strain on parking spaces. And
a good public transportation
system cuts down on air pol-
lution caused by cars. Cutting
bus routes like The Link that
help reduce pollution is coun-
ter-productive to the goal of an

environmentally-friendly trans-
portation network.
The new commuter bus route
to Canton is addressing all of
these problems on a larger,
regional scale. There are already
plenty of commuters on the
roads traveling to and from Ann
Arbor every day, contributing
to traffic, parking and pollution
problems. About 3,000 Univer-
sity employees live in Canton
and two of its neighboring cities,
Plymouth and Westland. With
the new bus route's fare being
offered at a low cost, getting to
Ann Arbor will be easier and
cheaper for these commuters.
There is no questionthatbuses
like the new commuter route to
Canton are good for the people,
the city and the environment
of Ann Arbor. The city should
give itself more mass transpor-
tation options by keeping The
Link's purple buses running
once students return for school
in the fall.

'I \

Editorial Board Members:
Raghu Kainkaryam, Erika Mayer, Asa Smith, Brittany Smith, Vivian Wang, Patrick Zabawa

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