The Post has a right to its opinion that the recently passed anti-crime bill was a policy improvement over broader versions passed earlier by the House and Senate {"The Crime Bill: Less Is Better," editorial, Nov. 6}, but I find it remarkable how willing The Post is to jettison the democratic process in order to achieve its policy goals.

I will grant that some controversial provisions, such as gun control or reform of the exclusionary rule, had only been approved by one chamber and would have been difficult to resolve at the end of the session. But two important provisions, one restoring the death penalty to a number of federal crimes and one limiting the number of habeas corpus petitions, had overwhelmingly passed both chambers in very similar form.

By advocating the exclusion of these provisions, The Post is essentially arguing that congressional conferees should ignore the overwhelming votes of elected representatives and simply enact their own agenda during conference. Such editorial advice is shocking coming from a newspaper that prides itself on being a supporter of the democratic process around the world.

Even more shocking was an earlier editorial arguing that the House should not even be allowed to vote on a habeas corpus reform provision {"The House Crime Bill," Sept. 17}. The amendment was hardly an election year stunt offered by some unimportant back-bench members. In fact, it was a proposal that embodied the recommendations of a committee set up by the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and was sent to Capitol Hill by the president. It was supported by district attorneys and law enforcement officials from across the nation.

Civil liberties will not stay intact very long if we toss aside the ability of our elected representatives to decide on issues of national importance through meaningful votes in open session.

LAWRENCE COUGHLIN U.S. Representative (R-Pa.) Washington