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INSURERS OF HOMES AND CARS MAY NEED HELP TOO To the editor: In his Aug. 15 essay [ "Who Pays for Terror?" Page 31], Joseph Carabillo makes a compelling case for Congress to establish a permanent public-private insurance system for losses from terrorist events. He reminds us that the threat of terrorism affects “every one of us.” Following 9/11, Congress adopted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), a financial backstop for commercial property insurers. In adopting TRIA, Congress recognized the important role insurance plays in sustaining the American economy and way of life. Without the availability of terrorism insurance, policy-makers faced the possibility that commercial construction would halt and signature events would suddenly be held before empty stadiums and theaters throughout the country. A financial backstop was and still is a necessary component in preventing the terrorists from winning. Our understanding of the terrorist threat has evolved since 9/11. By most accounts, the threat appears much broader than car bombs and suicide bombers targeting trophy buildings and events. Many experts predict that the next mass terrorism attack could be a nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological event. This type of event has the potential to destroy not only businesses and commercial properties but also a lot of cars, homes, and neighborhoods, and these risks are currently not addressed by TRIA. Today, protection for terrorism is a patch-quilt approach, with a mixture of public and private involvement. Insurance coverage, where it exists, may be limited and dependent upon a multitude of factors, such as the nature of the loss, where it occurs, and how long it takes to restore the property to a usable or livable condition. As a result, there is little doubt that the government will be drawn in after a major terrorist attack. The public deserves a long-term comprehensive solution for how to better prepare and protect Americans from all the perils associated with a possible terrorist attack. As Congress explores the extension of TRIA and other long-term options, it must recognize the changing landscape of the terrorist threat and consider the interests of both the commercial sector and the everyday consumer. America will not have true economic security until we have determined the best and most efficient way to provide protection to everyone. Allstate concurs with Carabillo’s conclusion that Congress should extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to Dec. 31, 2007, and establish a study to examine options for a long-term solution. But such a study also should include an analysis of the threat to individual consumers and the long-term options for protecting their most-prized possessions. David G. Nadig Assistant General Counsel Public Policy Analysis & Development Allstate Insurance Co. Northbrook, Ill.
HIS LEGAL OPINION WAS NOT TARRED BY DOD SERVICE To the editor: It is amusing — but not laugh-out-loud amusing — to read a story that suggests that my comments on judicial recusal are tarred because I worked in the Department of Defense for one year ending nearly three months ago [ "Warning: This Case May Contain Conflicts," Aug. 29, 2005, Page 3]. That story criticized me over an opinion letter that I had written for Sen. Arlen Specter, defending Judge John Roberts Jr.’s decision not to recuse himself in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case. I’ve been teaching and writing about legal ethics for 30 years. I have written opinion letters for Democratic and Republican politicians, major law firms, small pro bono clients, Fortune 500 companies, and death row inmates. The American Bar Association has published my treatise on legal ethics. I’ve written so much (fortunately, trees are a renewable resource) that I’m on the record on most legal issues, and I can’t (and won’t) tailor my opinions to fit the politics of the moment. Plus, my former employment is no secret; it’s posted on my Web page (along with some lawyer jokes). I’m proud that I was able to work for my country. While I was at the DOD, I was not assigned to the Hamdan case. I don’t know if the DOD has any official policy regarding judicial recusal, but I know I didn’t work on that, either. Moreover, where I worked can’t affect the untidy little fact that my opinion merely quoted the case law. That exists no matter where I used to work, and it undermines any charge that Judge Roberts violated the federal recusal statute. Professor Ronald D. Rotunda George Mason University School of Law Arlington, Va.

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