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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 30, 2005
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Constitutional reality not so clear-cut

I had mixed emotions after reading Kara Karlson's column ("Appoint a chief justice, not an enigma"). First, I thought it might be a breath of fresh air. Boy did I ever appreciate how Ms. Karlson cleared up a lot of issues that were nagging me during the past three years of law school, and so succinctly! It seemed so clear!

For instance, there was this lucid bit: "(Supreme Court Justice Clarence) Thomas analyzes the actual language of the Constitution, rather than change it to fit whatever agenda he may be pushing. His opinions are based on the actual definitions of those words, and the spirit of the Constitution."

For a moment, I thought I had figured out what had really been going on in James E. Rogers College of Law's Dean Tony Massaro's Constitutional Law II class last year: We were all wasting our time!

Yep, according to Ms. Karlson, all that confusing material could be simplified, if only those "five Supreme Court jokers in the majority who need to brush up on the purpose of government" would just stick to the Constitution's text.

But, sadly, my excitement wore off. I remembered the names of two famous cases: Bush v. Gore and Brown v. Board. The former case proves that everyone on the court has an agenda. Everyone. The latter case proves that everyone with a shred of decency agrees that we have to construe the Constitution more broadly than the rigid construction Ms. Karlson supports.

In the end, I realized, the euphoria was ephemeral. There are indeed no facile answers to complex problems inhering in interpreting the Constitution. Clear-cut solutions, such as that which Ms. Karlson proposes, might work well in the space allocated for 700-word columns. However, as experience proves, they don't jive in the gray constitutional reality.

Dillon Fishman
UA alumnus

UA students make lasting contributions to Tucson

I would like to say that Wendell Niemann is definitely a concerned citizen of this city, but we must look at these issues from all perspectives ("Tucson citizens tired of disruptive students"). First of all, not all students are partying and causing problems as claimed by many of our neighbors. Next, as a result of the having a university in a poor city like Tucson, many small businesses have started catering to students, faculty members and university staff member needs.

A great deal of revenue is generated each year when alumni choose to stay at various hotels, the unpaid athletes of our university create much-needed income for the university, various employees who sell UA apparel in sports shops around the town and various sports bars, etc.

Also, the UA is the largest employer in Southern Arizona. It is responsible for directly and indirectly generating business in the city. The IIF building and the new student union helped create jobs for various construction workers. Many real estate investors now depend on students and faculty for their rental income.

Many out-of-state students are volunteering for our various city soup kitchens and Campus Pals (university division of Big Brothers, Big Sisters), and even the fraternities and sororities spend a lot of time doing community service.

Many students choose to stay in Tucson after they graduate. Some alumni have started businesses in this city and thus are paying corporate and income taxes. The most notable would be www.trisports.com, created by a UA hydrology student who loved biking. We need more entrepreneurs like him.

I would like to thank Wendell Niemann and all Arizona taxpayers who invest in our students. Whatever Arizona residents pay in taxes to cover educational expenses for the UA, Arizona State and Northern Arizona universities (as well as community colleges) is returned back to the state with a return on investment. Because of my education and experiences at the UA, I have started my own business.

Ahmad Saad Nasim
UA alumnus

Money for Women's Plaza better spent elsewhere

Once again the UA has decided to build something useless on campus. Women on this campus should be outraged at the construction of the Women's Plaza near Centennial Hall. According to the Wildcat article Tuesday ("Women's plaza to be dedicated Friday"), the construction of this project cost $818,000 and was funded by individual donors, foundations and some fundraising.

I understand that women alumnae feel underappreciated because there are few buildings named after them, but do you really think that constructing some arches and benches was the best way to allocate that money toward the women on this campus now?

Instead of building another useless monument, why didn't the women who donated to this project spend their money on funding 34 female students with one-year scholarships to the university? Or how about retaining eight female faculty members who this university will lose when they cannot afford to pay them? Or better yet, donating to the department of women's studies so that it can expand its curriculum.

Granted I am not a woman, but I also do not think that female students' lives will be any more enriched by extra concrete laid down for this project. However, more funding toward education would help them get into classes they need, graduate sooner and help to continue to make strides for women all over the world.

How about the next thing that our school builds is a plaza dedicated toward classes? Because with the money this place wastes, we will need something to remember what it was like to get into them.

Dmitry Rashnitsov
journalism junior

Women's Plaza a small step toward equality of the sexes

While I congratulate Karl Kox on the strength of his masculinity, my entire class had to laugh at his ignorant comments in yesterday's Wildcat ("Men's greatest accomplishments more deserving of a plaza"). His blundering critique of the Women's Plaza rather ignorantly and unsurprisingly neglects to understand that most of the dedicated buildings, plazas and memorials at the UA - wait, in the world - are dedicated to what he calls "the unsung efforts" of the "true heroes" in our female lives: men.

It amazed my students that it would be necessary to point out to an adult that the reason men have been responsible for "nearly every great accomplishment in modern history" is inevitably due to the historical oppression of women. Mr. Kox may be unaware of the fact that it is only in the last century that women were given the right to vote, making it difficult to participate in ground-breaking historical innovation.

As an instructor here at the UA, letters like these often make me concerned that this is the mindset of the general public, but the outrage that my students felt at reading this letter made me feel a bit of relief. While one plaza dedicated to the accomplishments of women (even though we women may have had nothing to do with the Magna Carta) hardly works to equate long-standing inequality, it is a step in the right direction.

Amanda Gradisek
English literature graduate student

Seniors should get priority for basketball tickets

I found out Tuesday for the fourth straight year that I did not get men's basketball tickets. Along with 20 or so of my senior friends who also did not receive season tickets, this leaves me to be very pissed off and frustrated at the way this school deals with basketball tickets.

Let's take a look at how we have dealt with tickets the past few years. First, there was my freshman year, when there was a riot and full-on fight to get in line to get tickets at 6 in the morning. Even though I am 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, I still was not able to push my way through to get tickets.

Then the next two years there was a random drawing for Zona Zoo members where the odds of me getting tickets were the same as me dating Jessica Simpson. Finally, my senior year, the school decided to give us somewhat of a student section, giving us seniors better odds to get season tickets if we've been Zona Zoo members all three years (which I have).

I only know about one senior of about 20 so far who got tickets. How about those odds? Am I bitter I didn't get tickets? Yes! Will I cry? Maybe! But it is only because the pride and love I have for Arizona basketball and Arizona athletics is hard to put into words.

Todd Scanlin
political science senior

No problems with Zona Zoo ticket system

Considering that students are already paying for the tickets to men's basketball games and have to purchase a package of tickets to sporting events that they may not even want to attend just to enter a lottery to buy basketball tickets, I think we have a decent system of determining if the people who are going to the games are dedicated enough.

I hardly see how making people wait in line for days is going to accomplish anything more than filling the stadium with students who don't go to class and definitely don't have jobs.

Thomas Harris
computer science junior

Supreme Court justices not political candidates

In response to Kara Karlson's column, "Appoint a chief justice, not an enigma," I have one thing to say: Judges are not politicians. The popularity or unpopularity of their decisions should not govern whether they are fit to serve on the Supreme Court. John Roberts, or any other nominee for that matter, has no obligation to reveal whether the space he occupies on the political continuum is left or right of the middle.

The Senate doesn't need to know where he sits on any one specific issue, be it gay marriage or abortion or eminent domain, to send him to the high court. All it needs record of is his character, his intelligence and his willingness to interpret the Constitution carefully, thoughtfully and independently of any personal agenda.

We elect officials with the knowledge that they will then appoint judges on our behalf. We do not elect judges specifically because the framers of the Constitution wanted to preserve judicial integrity (meaning, they wanted judges to interpret laws purely on their reading of the Constitution without worrying about pleasing their constituents).

Once we jump on the "pick him, he's a liberal, he disagrees with the decision on eminent domain" soapbox, we throw the idea of judicial integrity out the window. Liberal or conservative or moderate or some mixture of the three, it is time that we stop demanding that our judicial branch be accountable in the same manner as the other branches of government.

It is also time that we stop waiting until a Supreme Court justice is nominated to start caring about the political process. Yes, I appreciate the whole "the courts are important" sentiment that the Wildcat editorial staff has chosen to highlight as of late. Jumping into things this late in the game, however, is akin to looking in your rearview mirror after you switch lanes. All you see is what you've hit (or narrowly missed). The time to care is now, but the time to act is before the election.

I don't want to see potential judges made into politicians. Essentially, if given the choice between a politician and an enigma, I'd rather an enigma.

Kara Waite
UA alumna

UA marching band just can't compare to ASU

Matt Stone must have picked a bad semester to stop sniffing glue. I've watched the "alternative-lifestyle" marching band at UA for more than two decades, and with the single exception of a couple good years in the 1980s, when Jack Lee was hip-deep in hookers, the marching band hasn't been able to blow their noses, let alone their horns. What does a band do when it can't play and march at the same time? It plays something off the radio charts so everyone is too busy singing along to notice how lousy it is. Think Stanford, but less interesting.

Busting on the Sun Devil band, Matt? When you've been to the Rose Bowl, let alone marched in the parade (twice) and won the Sudler Trophy, you might have room to run your pie hole. I was finishing the Rose Bowl Parade when you were in diapers and the ASU Band has owned your group ever since. Practice, practice, practice.

J.D. Williams
Arizona State University alumnus

No problems with Zona Zoo ticket system

Considering that students are already paying for the tickets to men's basketball games and have to purchase a package of tickets to sporting events that they may not even want to attend just to enter a lottery to buy basketball tickets, I think we have a decent system of determining if the people who are going to the games are dedicated enough.

I hardly see how making people wait in line for days is going to accomplish anything more than filling the stadium with students who don't go to class and definitely don't have jobs.

Thomas Harris
computer science junior



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