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NOTE TO SENATE: PLANS TO ALTER DOD’S LEGAL CHAIN OF COMMAND NEED DEBATE To the editor: Vanessa Blum’s June 16 article on the James Roche/Donald Rumsfeld effort to expand the general counsels’ offices at the expense of the apolitical JAGs [" Pentagon Aims at JAG Corps," Page 1] will, I hope, be a topic at the confirmation hearings of the secretaries of Army (Roche) and Air Force (TBA). In the Vietnam War, the Office of the Secretary of Defense insisted on nonjudicial punishment for Air Force pilots who inadvertently violated the rules of engagement. Concerns over that kind of politicized civilian oversight are not “overblown.” Speaking of ROEs, as I glance at the Army, Navy, and Air Force operational law manuals, drafted and maintained by JAGs, I wonder if the task of drafting them and ROEs is to be taken over by contract employees. Will Kellogg Brown & Root handle base contracting and legal assistance as well as trash removal at military installations bases at home and abroad? At the Pentagon, will the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have to rely on the legal advice of a civilian political appointee with an expected two year tenure in office? There are lots of questions for the Senate Armed Services Committee to ask during the confirmation process. I hope they’re asked. Michael F. Noone Professor of Law Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law Washington, D.C. ATTORNEY GENERAL OWES NO APOLOGY To the editor: It’s about time that someone sat down and protested the tiresome “defenses” that appear every day in the press about the treatment of illegal immigrants from Islamic countries. Symptomatic of this annoying trope is the commentary in the June 16 edition of Legal Timesby Stuart Taylor Jr. entitled “Why Won’t He Apologize?” [Page 78]. First of all, it should be emphasized that all of the persons for whom Mr. Taylor begs apologies from the attorney general are illegal aliens.As a lawyer, that tells me that these wretched souls lied, or worse, to get into our country and are likely to be legally deported. In other words, they are not the Best of the Finest to begin with. But, what I find even more offensive is the reluctance of commentators, such as Mr. Taylor, to acknowledge that these folks come from a culture that is viciously anti-Semitic and say and do things to and about Jews that are no different than those exact words and deeds that were actually perpetrated by the Nazis. We do not owe this ilk any apologies. The attorney general is a patriot and a public servant who is dedicated to his important job and to his country. He does not owe anyone apologies for doing what the law commands him to do. Allen G. Siegel Washington, D.C. WILL BARTLET FIND A WAY OUT OF CRISIS? To the editor: As an avid “West Wing” fan, I greatly enjoyed Evan Schultz’s analysis of the season finale [" Constitutional Crisis in Prime Time," June 2, 2003, Page 28]. It was comforting to know that I was not alone in consulting my trusty copy of the U.S. Constitution in an effort to follow the unfolding story line or in speculating on next season’s developments. While Schultz’s article scoped out many of the more intriguing possibilities involving the 25th Amendment, some others came to mind as I watched. One is whether, pursuant to Section 2 of the 25th Amendment, Acting President John Goodman (what an incredible casting coup!) might appoint a new vice president, who after confirmation by both House and Senate, would leave Bartlett stuck with a Republican vice president upon resuming the presidency. A more convoluted twist involves potential invocation of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president (can this be read to include the acting president? — not clear) and a majority of the principal officers of the executive department to craft their own written declaration that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. This would throw the issue of who is really president into the hands of the Congress, which has 21 days to decide (which, as we all know, could take half a season on network television). An implausible scenario? — not necessarily if Acting President Goodman can manage to stack the Cabinet with Republican appointees. Whatever plotline is chosen, I have no doubt that every lawyer/aspiring constitutional scholar will be riveted to their television screens this fall to see (and then critique) the result. At a minimum, this will surely be the most anticipated event of the upcoming television season, other than perhaps the question of whether Carmela can find it in her heart to take Tony back. Maury J. Mechanick White & Case Washington, D.C.

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