Superdelegates should know they’re in dangerous waters

In your article “Superdelegates say, we will decide” (May 7), one paragraph, I feel, needs to be amended: “Some Democratic strategists fear that if Obama leads in delegates and popular votes after June 4 and party officials decide to give the nomination to Clinton, it would anger many black voters. They warn that significant numbers of black voters could stay home in the fall, hurting Democrats in congressional races around the country.”

Please believe that not only blacks who have voted for Obama will be angered. There are a vast number of white voters who are very strong supporters of Obama who will be just as angry, and just as likely to turn their backs on the Democratic Party if justice isn’t done in the end. Make sure the so-called superdelegates understand that they are playing in very dangerous waters.

Colorado Springs, Colo.



Guard FISA safeguards

From Caroline Fredrickson, director, American Civil Liberties Union, Washington legislative office

Regarding the article “Blue Dogs on Hoyer’s FISA leash” (April 30), I’d like to make a clarification. The article states that if Congress doesn’t pass legislation updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by Memorial Day, the intelligence community will be hampered with preparing “dozens of individual surveillance warrants.” This claim is flat wrong.

First, there is absolutely no Memorial Day deadline affecting surveillance as it pertains to the disastrous Protect America Act (which the House wisely let expire). The deadline is an artificial date set by leadership to propel movement on FISA legislation. Memorial Day will come and go without any effect on our nation’s intelligence-gathering abilities.

Secondly, we at the ACLU take issue with the idea of individual warrants being “cumbersome.” As recent reporting confirmed, the Justice Department obtained 2,300 warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year. Getting a few dozen more would not be an overwhelming burden. In an emergency the government can begin a wiretap immediately. Individual warrants are required by the Fourth Amendment when collecting information from American citizens on American soil. Until lawmakers can guarantee this kind of stringent, constitutionally mandated protection for their constituents, I recommend they leave FISA well enough alone — artificial deadline or not.

Washington

Franken’s foes

From Paul Rozycki

There is more to the Minnesota Senate race than you mention (State by State section, May 5). A Democratic challenger to Al Franken, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, is on the rise and is mounting a serious challenge to Franken for the party endorsement. He was doing so before the Franken tax problems, but now he is being considered even more seriously by the party delegates. There are no other serious candidates, and Mike Ciresi is not anywhere close to as likely to be in the race, unless, of course, Franken drops out, which is very unlikely. The race is between Franken and Nelson-Pallmeyer now.

Minneapolis