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Letters to the Editor: Adam Schiff’s democracy reforms won’t work without the people’s righteous anger

Rep. Adam Schiff talks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Feb. 28, 2019.
Rep. Adam Schiff talks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Feb. 28, 2019.
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

To the editor: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) wants to enact reform legislation to prevent future abuses by a president such as those perpetrated by Donald Trump. I would surely like to see such abuses prevented, but I fear Schiff is being a bit naive.

Democracy depends on the willingness of those who wield power to live by the rule of law. A lawless president supported by a lawless attorney general and a lawless political party are not restrained by the law.

It is said that when Joseph Stalin was urged not to provoke the Vatican, he derisively responded, “How many divisions does the pope have?” Similarly, Congress has little power to constrain the president if the executive branch chooses to ignore the law and the Department of Justice declines to enforce it.

Real reform will not come from Congress; it will come from the righteous anger of the people. Those in power will resist change with every means available. Implementing reforms will take determination and courage like that shown those who fought for civil rights.

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The people are not angry enough yet.

Eleanor Egan, Costa Mesa

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To the editor: Schiff’s list of much-needed democracy reforms should include legislation to curtail the ability of presidents to appoint “acting” officials in top government posts and allowing them to serve almost indefinitely.

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Abusing this constitutional provision, Trump has assembled a team loyalists, many of whom are unqualified for their jobs or have conflicts of interest.

Changes need to be enacted that would strengthen the constitutional requirement that calls for the advice and consent of the Senate on these appointments.

Claire Montgomery, Los Angeles

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To the editor: For decades I have been waiting to see legislation that addresses blatant abuses of presidential power. Finally, Schiff’s new legislation would put into place reforms that will hopefully prevent future attacks on our democracy — attacks that resonate around the world.

If the abuses of presidential power during the George W. Bush administration, most notably the prosecution of the deceitful “war on terror,” had been addressed by Congress, perhaps the current administration would have thought twice about being so blatantly unethical.

If President Obama had signed such legislation during his first time in office, when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, we might not have found ourselves in such an inconceivable nightmare right now.

Yasmin Netervala-Iseli, Los Angeles


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