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The Post and Courier provides a forum for our readers to share their opinions, and to hold up a mirror to our community. Publication does not imply endorsement by the newspaper; the editorial staff attempts to select a representative sample of letters because we believe it’s important to let our readers see the range of opinions their neighbors submit for publication.

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Letters: End secret oversight of lawyer discipline

lawyers letter 2

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel, an arm of the state’s judicial branch, is responsible for investigating misconduct allegations against lawyers and judges. 

Recent news articles concerning the conduct of attorneys in South Carolina have brought to light the secretive oversight provided by the state when it comes to lawyer discipline.

Unlike just about every other licensed professional working in South Carolina, only the most egregious legal offenders have their professional offenses made public; most discipline is meted out in private correspondence with the individual.

A summary of disciplinary actions by the South Carolina Supreme Court, the adjudicating body, is provided on an annual basis but is broken down numerically by the type of offense with no names attached.

Of the more than 2,000 complaints filed against attorneys during the last reporting period, fewer than 4% received any public accounting.

In layman’s terms, you can find out more about the behavior of licensed hairdressers in the state of South Carolina than you can about an attorney representing you in a major case.

Rule 413 under the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement is the basis for disciplining attorneys through the S.C. Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

I should point out that this is a rule, not a law, and can be amended by the state Supreme Court.

Considering the potential impacts to our legal system and the empirical evidence that abounds, perhaps the Supreme Court might want to revisit how it maintains a fair, just and transparent system of attorney discipline in this state.

Timothy C. Kiel

Pelzer Drive

Mount Pleasant

Exemption dangers

Vaccines are crucial in preventing communicable diseases like measles and polio, which is why they are required for children in public school or day care.

I’m concerned about employers with vaccine mandates giving religious exemptions to employees who want to avoid getting vaccinated against COVID-19. This could expose other people to the disease.

An adult should have maximum decision-making freedom on issues that involve them alone. However, since all viruses are contagious, ethical considerations demand taking into account how declining a vaccine may affect others.

The only explanation I have found for religious objections to the vaccine has to do with fetal cell lines, which some people associate with abortion.

In the case of COVID vaccines, such fetal cell lines were developed decades ago and used to develop and test the vaccines, which is common in pharmaceutical research. The vaccines themselves do not contain any fetal cells.

Before granting such a religious exemption, people should have to attest that they do not take any medicines that used fetal cells during research, testing or development, including Tylenol, aspirin, Pepto Bismol, Tums and many others, which can be found at bit.ly/webmdfetaltissue.

How many people requesting a religious privilege exemption are simply using it as an excuse to avoid taking the vaccine?

One of the earliest opponents to vaccines, Timothy Dwight, president of Yale University from 1795 to 1817, said: “If God had decreed from all eternity that a certain person should die of smallpox, it would be a frightful sin to avoid and annul that decree by the trick of vaccination.”

He was speaking against Edward Jenner’s new medical invention called vaccination. More than two centuries later, we should not allow religion to be used as a reason to recklessly endanger other people.

HERB SILVERMAN

George Street

Charleston

Unmasking elites?

I read Post and Courier freelance columnist Steve Bailey’s commentary on Sunday about lawyer Tom Fernandez, particularly the part regarding the party he threw with 300 unmasked guests that was described as a possible superspreader event.

What constitutes a “superspreader event”?

Apparently a college or pro football game with unmasked fans might become a superspreader, but the congressional baseball game with an unmasked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden hobnobbing with players and posing for pictures doesn’t qualify.

Mr. Fernandez’s party might qualify, but Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser officiating a wedding with hundreds of guests doesn’t.

And let’s not forget former President Barack Obama’s 60th birthday party in Martha’s Vineyard with an estimated 200 unmasked guests dancing and partying away is certainly not a possible superspreader.

I wonder if this is elites telling the common folks to eat cake, or do they know something we don’t?

MICHAEL SHEPARD

27th Avenue

Mount Pleasant

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