Supreme Court vacancy debate should be realistic

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Zuiko Redding, guest columnist

I read Steven Calabresi’s guest column with alarm and a bit of confusion and disgust, and I’m writing to protest the printing of things like his fantasies in a reputable paper. There are well-reasoned and grounded conservative editorial writers out there like Charles Krauthammer and you don’t need to print people who deal in fantastic scare tactics.

Calabresi says that replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with Merrick Garland would:

• result in the elimination of the personal right to own a gun unless you serve in the National Guard

• extinguish religious liberty to such an extent that the Catholic Church might lose its tax-exempt status because of its refusal to allow women to be priests

• lead to Supreme Court gerrymandering of every U.S. House of Representatives district

• lead to campaign finance laws under which challengers could never raise any money .

These are impossible outcomes used, along with his prestige as a university professor, to scare people into supporting his position. Our country has never limited the right to own a gun so severely and the Second Amendment and the people would not allow this. The ability to decide who becomes clergy is protected by the separation of church and state. And, again, Mormons and others who do not permit women clergy would also be denied tax-exempt status. The people also would not tolerate this. The last two are just plain silly.

People who might not take another columnist seriously might be likely to believe these things because of Calabresi’s credentials. They would think that someone who’s a professor in an endowed chair at Northwestern’s law school must know what he’s talking about. Reading his piece, I’m not sure why Northwestern keeps him on — he could possibly be fired for academic misconduct. Lying to people is surely that.

Please don’t publish things like this again. We are already divided enough in our city and our nation. We don’t need to hear fantastic projections from either side that further cause fear and division. And the Gazette needs to continue to be trusted as a source of news and opinion.

• The Rev. Zuiko Redding is the pastor at Cedar Rapids Zen Center and a longtime resident of Cedar Rapids. Comments: crzc@cedarrapidszencenter.org

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