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Former Solicitor General Charles Fried’s letter ["Scoring unfair political points," Jan. 9] distorted the issues surrounding the appellate court nomination of Carolyn Kuhl. In particular, Fried’s letter implies that Kuhl’s tenure at the Justice Department was that of a young researcher and junior staffer, and that it is somehow unfair or inappropriate to consider her record there in connection with her pending nomination. In fact, Kuhl served as a political appointee in the Justice Department from 1981 to 1986 in positions of increasing authority, first as special assistant to the attorney general, then as deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Division, and then as deputy solicitor general. The dismissive and intellectually dishonest characterization of Kuhl’s DOJ tenure contained in Fried’s letter contradicts his own portrayal of Kuhl’s role in his 1991 book, “Order and Law: Arguing the Reagan Revolution — A Firsthand Account.” In Fried’s letter, for example, he downplays Kuhl’s “minor role” as “a very junior staff member” in the preparation of a brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. In his book, however, Fried wrote that among the memoranda he received from within the Justice Department about whether the government should even file a brief in that abortion rights case, to which the federal government was not a party, “[t]he most aggressive memo came from my friends Richard Willard and Carolyn Kuhl in Civil, who recommended that we urge outright reversal of Roe.” (p. 33) Kuhl was deputy assistant attorney general for the Civil Division at the time, certainly not a “very junior staff” position. Moreover, in “Order and Law,” Fried describes the “Reagan Revolution” campaign against federal judicial rules and doctrines that were perceived to assist “left-liberal orthodoxies” using the judiciary as “the engine for realizing their values.” Fried writes, “my Deputy and Counselor, Carolyn Kuhl, launched a frontal attack on this trend” with her effort to overturn the important and well-established legal doctrine of associational standing. Kuhl argued to the Supreme Court that an organization should not generally be allowed to bring suit to assert the individual rights of its members. As Fried’s book acknowledges, this attack was opposed by an ideologically diverse array of business, civil rights and other public interest organizations, and the Supreme Court rejected it without dissent. (pp. 16-17, 207) At the time, Kuhl was deputy solicitor general. [. . .] The significant opposition to Kuhl’s confirmation in the U.S. Senate and among a broad coalition of public interest organizations is grounded firmly in a long public record demonstrating that from the bench, from the bar and at the Department of Justice, Kuhl has been an obstacle for individuals seeking justice. Fried’s claim that we have ignored her relevant experience as a judge is utterly inaccurate, and his descent into ugly personal attacks does nothing to further public understanding or debate. Ralph G. Neas Washington, D.C. Editor’s note: Ralph Neas is president of People for the American Way. This letter originally appeared in Legal Times , a Recorder affiliate in Washington, D.C.

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