Readers React: Why Democrats are right to talk about expanding the Supreme Court

The west facade of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington.
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

To the editor: John Yoo and James Phillips want us to accept the Supreme Court status quo. They’re correct only if you are a conservative who believes in unchecked presidential power, that corporations have human rights, or that voter rights laws are too robust.

What the authors do not point out is that since 1980, Republican presidents have appointed 1,030 federal judges and nine Supreme Court justices, whereas the Democratic presidents have been limited to 721 federal judges and four Supreme Court Justices.

Now that the Republicans have the courts stacked, of course they don’t want anyone to challenge their new-right order.

Whether the Supreme Court should be expanded or not deserves honest debate and not the partisan smackdown that Yoo and Phillips offer in their effort to keep the courts firmly conservative for decades to come.


David Higgins, Los Angeles


To the editor: I find it amusing and disingenuous that the two conservative authors of this article single out gay marriage and abortion rights as examples of topics that have politicized the courts and, by inference, should not have been a subject of judicial review.

I can only suspect that they hold a different opinion concerning the issue of corporate personhood or the 2nd Amendment.


Courts have always been politicized. The problem is a society that is severely split on critical issues. All branches of government are in play. The power of the courts is not lost on anyone.

If and when the day arrives where our differences are not so great, you will then see a court relatively free of politics.

Steven Codron, West Hills


To the editor: The substance of this piece aside, I continue to be amazed that Yoo holds any position of prestige, much less the credibility to warrant publication of an opinion he may have.

As a deputy assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, Yoo wrote the heinous memos condoning “methods of interrogation” that were condemned by international definitions as torture. How many people suffered unmitigated horror because of his opinions?

I am appalled that Yoo is awarded any kind of recognition as being a source of respected legal or political opinion.

Julie Sullwold, Santa Barbara


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