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Faults Law Journal for Invoking Constitution Where It Doesn’t Apply

Dear Editor:

In disparaging Seton Hall University for criticizing its law school’s honoring of a federal judge who struck down New Jersey’s Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, your April 26 Winners & Losers column [ 176 N.J.L.J. 263] opined that “faith beats the constitution at this law school.”

What nonsense! The constitution does not apply to private law schools, much less compel them to bow down and worship abortion and the judges who protect and promote it. Nor does the constitution prohibit criticism of law schools or even federal judges and the decisions they render. On the contrary, the last time I heard, the constitution protects criticism of public figures – even if the criticism is based on one’s faith! Yes, the constitution permits public expressions of faith, even when those expressions disagree with the constitution (as distorted by federal judges). I am reluctant to assume that this is news to the Law Journal. So what is the Law Journal‘s excuse for the demonstrably fatuous sound-bite that “faith beats the constitution” at Seton Hall?

While the Law Journal has the right to participate in the misguided and ultimately doomed propaganda campaign designed to eliminate any utterance of religious or moral principles from the public square, at the very least it should have the intellectual honesty not to invoke the constitution where it manifestly does not apply. Please give your readers a little credit; we may not occupy the same exalted heights as the Law Journal, but we can still see through sloganeering that makes no sense.

Richard F. Collier Jr.

Somerset

Let’s Not Forget the Volunteer Mediators

Dear Editor:

I have read the editorial entitled “A New Judiciary” appearing in the April 26 issue [ 176 N.J.L.J. 282]. While I, too, am enthusiastic in applauding the work of former judges serving as mediators, the editorial should have included the fact that many actively practicing lawyers are doing the same helpful work, usually at a substantially lower cost to the litigants.

The editorial points out that the retired justice/judge “can command the fees they were deprived of.” The editorial omitted the fact that there are hundreds of lawyers, who were never jurists, mediating cases under both the federal and state programs. These volunteer lawyers are required to devote free hours (federal: six; state: three) and in federal cases can charge only $250 an hour.

Former jurists have a commercial right to charge higher rates (and no free time) than a lawyer who never judged. Plaudits, though, should be given to the lawyers who devote free and reduced rate time to aid courts in settling cases.

Donald A. Robinson

Newark

Pledge Dad Forgets: Child Comes First

Dear Editor:

Michael Newdow is a piece of work [" Pledge Challenger Will Face the Court Alone," 175 N.J.L.J. 1143, March 22]. As the divorced father of two, I know the system is unfair to the lesser custodial or noncustodial parent most of the time. However, the key and only relevant fact is that the best interests of the children must be the beacon to guide all decisions about the children. They need stability; they need familiarity and routine. All of these things are severely impacted by constant movement from one house and way of doing things to a different house and way of doing things.

Mr. Newdow needs to stop thinking of himself and put the best interests of his child before himself.

John Currie

Belmar

Rocky Ravaschiere Remembered

Dear Editor:

I add my voice to the many matrimonial attorneys across this state who mourn the loss of Rocco (Rocky) Ravaschiere. Rocky represented all that is good in our profession. He was a student of the law; always prepared, courteous to litigants, adversaries and the court; and eager to ease the conflict for those going through divorce. He was a gentleman and a gentle man, a role model for every family law practitioner. His kindness towards me and the many others that Rocky touched during his long and illustrious career will never be forgotten.

John P. Paone Jr.

Woodbridge

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