With all due respect to Judge David H. Souter's erudition: Why put another man -- and a bachelor at that -- on the Supreme Court just when it is destined to debate the most subjective aspects of women's lives? RUTH J. SMOCK Silver Spring

I disagree with George Will's July 25 op-ed thesis that it is appropriate to ask a Supreme Court nominee "what he thinks about the {court's} reasoning in Roe v. Wade." Asking a nominee about the reasoning of a court in any decided case is tantamount to asking the nominee how he or she will likely decide a case involving the same issue(s). That line of inquiry is not germane to a nominee's qualifications, which should be the sole standard used to judge a court nominee.

Further, even if such questions were appropriate, the nominee's answers would certainly not prevent the nominee from later changing his or her mind and deciding a case differently. What is the purpose, therefore, of indulging in that line of inquiry except to create controversy? RICHARD C. JOHNSON Falls Church

Surely we can all put aside our apprehensions about the latest nomination to the Supreme Court and join the Senate in giving the deserved credence to the president's rationale for this nomination. Hasn't he, in effect, clearly and repeatedly said: "Read my lips -- no litmus test"? GEORGE L. PAYNE Garrett Park