Inside the Beltway

By McCaslin, John | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 17, 1996 | Go to article overview

Inside the Beltway


McCaslin, John, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


LET'S GO FISHING

In last Wednesday's column, we revealed that the U.S. Information Agency Office of Civil Rights was excluding boys from its "Take Our Daughters to Work Day" program later this month.

Now, the Washington-based Independent Women's Forum (IWF), whose leadership is well versed in legal issues related to sex-based differences, notes: "The `Inside the Beltway' report . . . should be galvanizing news to the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, which recently argued in the Supreme Court that the Constitution forbids excluding persons from government programs on the basis of gender."

The IWF recalls that Deval Patrick, assistant attorney general for civil rights, argued in the case United States vs. Virginia Military Institute: "Women are entitled to equal access to all benefits that VMI seeks to provide exclusively to men."

"Where is the Civil Rights Division when its comrades in the USIA Office of Civil Rights (and, we strongly suspect, other federal offices) declare that they intend to violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution on `Take Our Daughters to Work Day'?" the women now wonder.

One IWF member, herself a lawyer, points out: "It could raise Eighth Amendment [cruel and unusual punishment] problems. The only constitutionally permissible remedial program would be `Take Both Our Daughters and Our Sons to Work,' or `Leave 'Em Both at Home,' or else `Go to School With Them,' or `Hell, Take the Day Off and All Go Fishing.' "

TAKING NOTES

"Fifty-seven hubcaps, two mufflers, and one tire and rim."

- What Kevin Long, press secretary to Rep. Dan Burton, Indiana Republican, counted around one large pothole in the northbound lanes of Interstate 395, approaching the District's Francis Case Memorial Bridge.

GLAD TO SERVE

In February, while other lawmakers took a much-needed winter break from legislating, we disclosed that Sen. Fred Thompson, Tennessee Republican, was serving jury duty in a Nashville courthouse.

Mr. Thompson and his peers ultimately found one William Chapman guilty of drunken driving, "but that's not the main thought I came away from jury duty with," the senator notes now.

And what is remarkable or unusual about this drunken-driving case?

"Nothing. And that's the point," the senator says. "Day in and day out, in courtrooms across Tennessee and the nation, there are countless numbers of cases being disposed of by public officials and private citizens wherein justice is served. These are the cases you seldom hear about."

Cases too often getting the publicity, the senator notes, are the "wrong-headed criminal verdicts" or "the hot-coffee case where a jury awarded . …

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