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Jackson's name belongs on new federal courthouse

Just over 65 years ago on Oct. 5, 1946, The News, in that day's lead editorial, praised Justice Robert H. Jackson for his "statesmanlike vision" in "the emphasis he has laid on the Nuremberg trial's meaning to the world of today and tomorrow." The News went on to note that the justice's words "were directed to the world as well as the United States."

The editorial was prompted by a speech Jackson made the day before at the ceremonies commemorating the University of Buffalo's centennial. Jackson had just returned from his responsibilities as chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial when he journeyed to Buffalo to deliver his first public reflections on what he had experienced and witnessed at Nuremberg.

The 1946 speech was one of three occasions within a decade that the justice chose to speak at UB, culminating in his important 1951 speech inaugurating the Law School's Mitchell Lecture. That speech, "Wartime Security and Liberty Under Law," still holds lessons for us 60 years later in a post- 9/1 1 world.

It was not an accident that Jackson felt comfortable appearing in Buffalo to speak to its legal and educational communities. Though he had served as U.S. solicitor general, attorney general and associate justice of the Supreme Court, he remembered his roots in Western New York and Buffalo, and honored us by returning to participate in our civic life. It would only be fitting that we now respond by naming in his honor our new federal courthouse, a building dedicated to the symbolic importance in a democracy of the rule of law that Jackson cherished and spoke of so eloquently.

Alfred S. Konefsky

Distinguished Professor

University at Buffalo School of Law

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Members of Congress don't care about citizens

It has been said that politics is the second-oldest profession, but given the recent incompetence of Congress, it may have moved into first place. Our lawmakers' inability to get anything done with the budget, the economy and the employment situation, while many of them concentrate on insider trading, checking their extremely generous pension and health care benefits, paid for by taxpayers, all point to their indifference to their constituents. Now they are on vacation.

At least with the other profession, you get what you pay for and both parties get something done. The American public gets very little for the taxes we pay and nothing gets done. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, "Congress is the last refuge of scoundrels."

D. John Bray

West Seneca

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Republican candidates are on the right track

We all agree that the Occupy people are swell, even though there is ample evidence that many of them are anarchists and socialists. We all know that the "rich," those making more than $250,000 per year, should be taxed more, in order to transfer this wealth to those who need it, even though we have real-life examples that tell us that these people are actually small businesses, and we're taxing them and putting them out of business. Their businesses, and the jobs that were once here in our state, are gone.

We've all decided that we'll vote for people who tell us that they will protect us from those who would take our Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, even though we can see that these programs are going broke and can't be sustained in their present form.

We all know that medical care, food and basic sustenance should be provided by the government, and that everyone should be guaranteed a living wage, even though we can see the result of such a guarantee unfolding in Greece. All of us can agree that we should follow the example of the socialistic governments of Europe, even though economic growth is almost non-existent in these countries.

We all know that the nutty 9-9-9 plan espoused by that guy running for president is crazy, even though a flat tax and the closing of the loopholes that corporations use to not pay taxes are necessary.

We believe in this guy who was elected president, and we know that some day things will turn around, even though it seems that everything he touches goes wrong. He can't be so wrong that he can't lead this country. And we watch "NBC Nightly News" and we read The Buffalo News and our views are reinforced. All of our friends believe the same things that we do. And so it goes.

Patrick McLaughlin

Tonawanda

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Blame Fannie, Freddie, not the Baum employees

Almost 700 people are losing their jobs because a group of people with incredibly poor taste and extreme insensitivity pulled a really stupid stunt. My husband works -- soon to be worked -- at the Steven Baum law firm. He worked hard to do his job and had neither contempt nor ill will toward the people who were on the other side of the foreclosure cases he worked on. He is a very moral, sensitive person.

I saw no indication that there was a pervasive or top-down institutionalized mandate that those being foreclosed on were to be treated maliciously, or that underhanded, illegal activity was supported or encouraged in the process of working these cases. People seem to be forgetting that the Baum firm did not create this crisis that has led to so many people losing their homes.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are the biggest contributors to the housing crisis and are now coming off as heroes for exposing this firm. They received bonuses, not pink slips. They are scapegoating and I'm sure jumping for joy that they get to use this situation to be seen as heroes. That is ridiculous. Now the people from the law firm can get in line with all of the others who are losing their homes.

Linda Sudano

Kenmore

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Smokers need to stop using world as ashtray

In the last few weeks, people have expressed their feelings on the smoking subject. As a past smoker (two packs a day), I side with nonsmokers for various reasons, mainly health and expense. As a free country, smokers have a right to disregard any and all health warnings, etc. But at least respect the land that gave you the right to risk your health and life and not make the country your ashtray. Take your empty packs home (don't throw them out your car window) and carry an ashtray for your butts. Please give us nonsmokers this much.

Frank C. Maddock

Lancaster

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Hold elected officials accountable on all laws

I applaud Rep. Louise Slaughter for sponsoring a bill against insider trading in Congress, but if Congress would simply pass a bill making all members of Congress and their staff answerable to all laws they pass on the public, this bill would not be necessary.

Mike Hinde

Lewiston