Meese's Attack on Supreme Court

Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III's intemperate attack at the American Bar Assn. convention on the Supreme Court and its protection of individuals against state and local government by incorporation of the Bill of Rights into the 14th Amendment is as historically flawed as it is morally wrong.

The doctrine by which the rights safeguarded against attack in the Bill of Rights are protected against incursion by state and local government functionaries was not born in 1925, as Meese asserts. Rather, it began in 1897 in Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad vs. Chicago.

The doctrine of "incorporation" of the Bill of Rights by the 14th Amendment is neither liberal nor conservative. Rather, like the Bill of Rights, which it makes effective, it is a means to protect the rights of individual citizens from any overreaching actions of government officials.

We are all better off with a judicial check on government actions. Countries without such restraint are not places where individuals thrive.

Before he "pops off" on legal issues, one might suggest that an attorney general of the United States challenging the Supreme Court ought to do his homework more thoroughly. Perhaps those senators who resisted Meese's confirmation knew more than those who voted to confirm his appointment.

MICHAEL M. BERGER

Santa Monica

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