Sotomayor’s decision poses increased risk to firefighters

I am a firefighter/EMT. Unfortunately, I have had to place my life on the line running into fires for rescue or extinguishment, going on medical runs during hostile criminal/police situations, and have participated in several high-risk hazardous materials events.

Not all my actions and decisions are under my control. Fire chiefs and high-ranking officers often see the larger picture because they have more information, knowledge and experience than I, who may be focused strictly on my assignment. I count on those officers to do their job right so I can do my job right with as low of a risk as I can possibly achieve when risking my life or injury.

I believe Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has based some of her judicial decisions on biased personal decisions that place my life at risk when doing my work.

Ms. Sotomayor has made policy from the bench when she decided that qualified firefighters who took and rated high on a fire department promotional exam should not be promoted because she believes in reverse discrimination.

My life is at risk when poor officers make bad decisions. And it is at risk by bad decisions made by a Supreme Court justice as well.

When and if I am injured or die from a poor decision made by an incompetent fire chief who was promoted only because of Ms. Sotomayor’s reverse-discrimination decision, will she take the blame?

Will she even lose sleep at night that my kids may be fatherless because she forced a less-competent person into a position of responsibility because of a decision based on empathy and reverse discrimination?

Judges do not make policy!  That is the power of elected officials who create the law. And they have to be reelected when each term expires.

Judges are symbolized by a figurine blindfolded and holding a set of scales that represents that cases are decided on by the law and not by personal feelings or empathy that is biased to one party or another. What Ms. Sotomayor is doing is risking people’s lives by pushing her personal agenda.

Judges base decisions on the law, not likes or dislikes or empathy or past experiences.

Please protect my life by preventing Ms Sotomayor from making law from the bench based on her feelings.

I am against Ms. Sotomayor.

Newport, Wash.

Healthcare nightmare illustrates reform need

From Kathryn Hanley

I am writing as someone who has the best health insurance, dental and medical. But my daughter, who works part time, has no health insurance because her husband’s company went under, and even though she and her husband paid their share of the COBRA the former employer didn’t. When they went to make a claim they were told the coverage they thought they had was just not there. So they and their young son who was born with a birth defect have no coverage at all.

As a child I too had no coverage. My sister had a long-term illness as a child and even though there was no evidence that it was genetic, my entire family lost coverage. The medical bills were 10 times my parents’ mortgage. They did not sue the doctors and they did not go bankrupt, but we did not go on vacation. We did not go to the emergency room for care — we just didn’t go.

I do not think that only the privileged should have health coverage. I don’t think that an irresponsible employer should be able to leave a young family in the lurch. We need affordable healthcare for all our uninsured. We need healthcare reform this year. It is too important and too immediate a need to wait any longer.