View of civil rights troubling

George Parry's statement regarding the decisions that enabled the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act as "progressive social engineering" tells you all you need to know about his perspective on judicial appointments ("When new justices defy expectations," Feb. 5). It used to be a totally bipartisan, extremely centrist tenet that these accomplishments were long overdue and essential to the country moving forward to fulfill its full promise, but the center has been blown up by the far-right takeover of the Republican Party.

Judge Neil Gorsuch's rulings on multiple well-known cases leave no doubt that he will realize his self-characterization as a Scalia clone. In light of thetheft of this Supreme Court seat from President Obama and Merrick Garland, an actual centrist judge, there is similarly no doubt that his nomination should have been rejected not only by each and every Democrat, but also by those few supposedly centrist Republicans who meekly acquiesced to the thievery.

|Joe Magid, Wynewood

Democrats better wake up

The vitriolic rhetoric and violent outrages against President Trump do not reflect the mood of the rest of the country. Americans are getting sick of it. We want to have jobs and security in America. If Trump delivers on his promises, the Democrats will get thrashed in the next elections. They had better wake up and see how they are alienating so many voters, before it is too late.

|Al Zvarik, Collegeville,

Don't try to hide who Yoo is

The Inquirer does a disservice to readers when it describes columnist John Yoo as "a University of California at Berkeley law professor, a former Justice Department official, and an American Enterprise Institute scholar." I can't judge yet whether the article's headline, "Gorsuch is well within judicial mainstream," was accurate, but when Yoo says something is in the judicial mainstream - Watch Out!

Yoo does not know what the mainstream is. As deputy attorney general in the second Bush administration, Yoo was responsible for taking extreme positions, which included illegally justifying torture, violating the Fourth Amendment right of American citizens to be free from illegal searches, and personally violating the standards for lawyers.

So, Yoo is possibly correct in considering Judge Gorsuch to be in the mainstream, but Yoo is not. The source should be considered.

|Clifford B. Cohn, Villanova,

'Pro-choice' side won't move

Regarding Harold Jackson's commentary ("'Family' bridge in abortion divide," Feb. 5), not all "pro-life" people are Republicans who want to cut off social services. And many of them, myself included, did not vote for Donald Trump. However, the other option was a party that unyieldingly clings to unrestricted access to abortion. That means any kind of abortion, for any reason, at any time in the pregnancy. Hillary Clinton made it clear that a child, or fetus, has no constitutional rights even a day before birth.

The party that calls itself pro-choice is not open to any compromise on this issue at all. Where is the choice in that?

|Theresa Haggerty, Lansdowne,

Life begins at conception

I applaud Harold Jackson's article calling for better support services for pregnant women as a tool to help reduce the abortion rate and suggesting that the pro-life and pro-choice movements unite as pro-child or pro-family.

I also think that instead of saying unborn child we should say pre-born child. Pre-born connotes a child comes into existence at conception. As humans, we have a pre-born stage, infancy, toddler, juvenile, adult, etc.

There also should be more facilities that care for unwed mothers both before and after the child is born. In addition to learning how to care for their child, they could learn a skill that would enable them to go into the work force and live on their own.

|John J. Donohue, Newtown Square

Retool military for today's wars

I read with great interest "Reversing the decline in military readiness" by Thomas Spoehr (Feb. 6), and thought: Here we go again.

My sense is that the military-industrialists and their lobbyists are drooling. Yes, readiness is important, and I support it. But our having fewer warships than before World War I only matters when placed in context with the size of the navies of our potential adversaries.

President Trump's executive order initiating a build-up of the U.S. armed forces should include a review by professionals looking at how future conflicts will be fought. We don't need to recreate a military ready to fight trench warfare. The review needs to be done in lobbyist-free rooms.

We might learn from recent adventures that we require a new military, not more stuff to fight old-style wars. I support missile defense, offensive nuclear weapons that target small areas, and much newer and more sophisticated capabilities, maybe stealthy soldiers. If Trump wants to win, we must first refine and define the game.

|Gerald Skobinsky, Elkins Park