• 32°

Opinions around the state

On Supreme Court race:<!—->.

Wednesday, November 01, 2000

On Supreme Court race:

Races for the Ohio Supreme Court usually are low-profile affairs. Not so this year, as the battle for control of the ideologically divided court has put Justice Alice Robie Resnick on the firing line.

So-called ”soft money” groups seeking to change the makeup of the court have run television ads which have cast doubt on the integrity of Justice Resnick, who has been depicted as ”selling” her votes on the court in exchange for campaign contributions. That’s a harsh characterization, one which does a disservice not only to Justice Resnick but effectively undermines public confidence in the integrity of the state’s high court as well.

Regardless of the outcome of the Resnick race, something must be done to put an end to the disgraceful excesses that have made this court contest a demeaning spectacle.

– The (Kent-Ravenna) Record-Courier

On peace in the Middle East:

If a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace is to be secured, it seems a forlorn hope that Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat will be its architects.

But in apportioning blame for the collapse of the peace process, it would not be fair to condemn both leaders equally. They are not equally culpable.

Arafat has been unable or unwilling to face down the hard-liners on his side. Either from weakness or by design, he has failed to line up popular support for the peace process as it has unfolded.

The current reality is that President Bill Clinton’s valiant efforts to broker a truce have failed.

Barak responded by calling a ”time-out” in negotiations with the Palestinians, and began talks with opposition leaders, such as rightist Ariel Sharon, to form a government of national unity.

For his part, Arafat said Barak could ”go to hell.” But he and Barak already inhabit a hell of sorts – one created by the flames of rhetorical excess that, with the violence they provoke, are now incinerating the peace process.

– The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer

On testing teens for alcohol:

Ottawa Hills may think that offering parents a police assist to determine if their children have been drinking is a pro-active, preventive way to deal with underage alcohol guzzlers. It is anything but. The idea that police would be summoned by parents to deliver a portable alcohol-testing device to their homes so they could test their kids blood alcohol level in private is bizarre.

Would not a simple in-your-face sniff by a suspicious parent provide all the clues one requires to solve that mystery? Would not the usual suspects like slurred speech and unsteady gait also suffice to draw a conclusion without enjoining the Ottawa Hills police department?

Ottawa Hills may think it was helping good parents be better by offering to put the police department at their disposal with alcohol-testing machines. But from the outside it looks like a silly, somewhat suspicious gimmick to keep illegal, intolerable underage drinking all in the family.

– The (Toledo) Blade

On keeping highways safe:

Everyone wants to make highways safe from the havoc of drunken drivers. Despite contradictory studies from its own agencies, the federal government has set a national standard for drunken driving. Ohio is one of 31 states in which a driver is legally drunk when the blood alcohol content is 0.10 percent. Congress has lowered that to 0.08 percent, a figure used in 18 states and the District of Columbia.

States that fail to comply with the national standard by 2004 will lose federal highway money.

Richard Finan, president of the Ohio Senate, has called this blackmail. He’s right.

Not only could this mandate cost the state money it needs for highways, but it could also affect county justice systems, which would have to cope with whatever additional arrests the new standard prompts. It’s a bad law.