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I write in response to the open letter from Judge Marilyn Hall Patel to Judge John Roberts [NLJ, Aug. 1]. I respect Judge Patel’s point of view, but beg to differ that the sponsors of ads addressing the critical issues involved in the appointment of life-tenured judges “have little respect for the courts,” and this lack of respect “motivates them to treat [Judge Roberts'] nomination as just another political campaign.” Indeed, quite the opposite is true. It is in fact a respect for the Constitution and the power of the judiciary that motivates many organizations and their cumulative millions of supporters to demonstrate their concern. There is no ignoring the fact that politics plays a role in judicial appointments since they evolve through the political process. The politicization of the judicial appointment process began before organizations figured out that they could affect that process. Let’s be fair to the organizations that have chosen to exercise the constitutional rights to speak and to encourage citizens to associate and petition the government. They and their many mass communications have arisen in response to perceived problems and important public policy issues. As one lawyer who has been around Washington long enough, I know that the millions of Americans represented by these battling ideologically and politically diverse organizations have in fact suffered the inability to reach and influence the Senate, especially compared to the high-priced lobbyists and power brokers of that city. It is out of respect for the Constitution, the judicial branch and individual judges that those organizations and their grassroots supporters themselves spend the time and money it takes to break through the barriers of power. Mark J. Fitzgibbons Manassas, Va. The writer is president of corporate and legal affairs at American Target Advertising Inc.

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