To the editor: UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky tells us that Supreme Court justices have biases. We already knew that.
The interesting questions are, first, what would the founders think of our institutions today, and second, if we had the opportunity, what kind of institutions would we create based on the lessons of nearly 230 years under the Constitution?
Did any founder express a desire that the White House be a party headquarters? Would anyone in the Continental Congress believe that today’s model works? We know that citizens don’t, according to polls that show they believe the government works mainly for wealthy special interests.
For the Supreme Court, it’s becoming common to choose wet-behind-the-ears partisans so they might sway the court for decades. Its complement of nine was fixed in 1869, and we are supposed to believe that this number is untouchable.
From the White House to the Supreme Court, our government is prey to personal quirks and accidental crises, but we are supposed to believe our system is untouchable. That’s why democracies fail.
David Dietrich, Temecula
Yes, judges are more than “umpires,” but there is a Constitution that contains the words “a well regulated militia.” Believing that part of the 2nd Amendment to be superfluous is odd, since the authors did not edit it out. They left it in and even rearranged the sentence to emphasize it.
Words have meaning, or they should, particularly when they're put in writing for legal reasons. Otherwise, they’re just so many sounds, and to pretend otherwise is intellectually dishonest.
The 2008 Heller decision, cited by Chemerinsky as an example of how judges are not merely umpires, is exactly that.
Ronald Webster, Long Beach