Letters: Responding to ‘equal justice’; Work continues amid fight to fix preemption

Responding to ‘equal justice’

John Diercks’ Aug. 31 letter (“Equal Justice in the US?”) revisits right-wing grievances and conspiracy theories, misstates facts and fails to mention others.

The “Clinton email scandal” was investigated by Trump’s DOJ and concluded with no charges. Trump’s FBI determined Clinton did not act with criminal intent.

Diercks claims the Mueller investigation into Russian election interference was a “witch hunt” because no indictments were issued. Does he forget that Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn and Rick Gates were indicted and convicted (or pleaded guilty) of charges, or that the Mueller Report identified numerous examples of obstruction committed by Trump himself? No indictment was sought due to the DOJ’s policy of not indicting a sitting president.

Diercks draws false equivalency between the Biden and Trump documents cases. Biden fully cooperated with the DOJ, voluntarily turning over classified documents after his own lawyers discovered them. Trump took 325 classified documents to Mar-a-Lago, including some 60 “top secret” files, fought to retain them, lied about their return, and obstructed the government’s efforts to reclaim them.

The current Democratic DOJ is treating the Pence and Biden document cases identically. Where’s the double standard?

Hunter Biden’s tax charge was a misdemeanor (delinquency), not a felony (evasion). The gun charge stems from lying about his drug use on an application to purchase a gun, something the Republican backed gun lobby has long argued should not be on the permit application!

So, yes, there’s equal justice in the U.S., and perhaps, finally, even for Teflon Don.

Karen Stoehr, State College

Work continues amid fight to fix preemption

I was gratified to see Jesse Barlow’s recent opinion piece discussing state preemption.

Pennsylvania is a harsh environment for local advocates seeking to support workers. Policies like local increases to our stagnant state and federal minimum wage are off the table, and many pro-worker policies are restricted for all but the largest municipalities like Philadelphia — the only city of the first class in our commonwealth. All other municipalities are prohibited from passing regulations “(determining) duties, responsibilities or requirements” of private businesses, making intervention to support workers difficult.

Blanket preemption has been used by big business and their anti-worker extremist allies in Harrisburg to block progress for too long. While we work toward fixing unnecessary preemption, we must look at what we can do to achieve progress in the current environment. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has determined that items like providing paid sick leave are permissible on public health grounds, allowing municipalities to ensure workers have access to appropriate time off while sick. Cities across the country, like Durham, North Carolina, have pioneered worker boards and councils to investigate and highlight conditions and problems within local sectors of the economy, providing critical information and advocacy for workers. Not every policy will fit our communities, but those that do should receive consideration.

While we fight to fix blanket preemption, let’s work locally where we can to achieve progress, and demonstrate through doing that allowing our communities to take initiative is a strength.

Connor Lewis, State College. The author is the president of Seven Mountains Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.