Readers React: Liberals worried about the Supreme Court need reminding: It’s a court of law, not opinion

Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh meets with US Senators, Washington, USA - 11 Jul 2018
Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh meets with U.S. senators on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
(Michael Reynolds / European Pressphoto Agency)

To the editor: Disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court does not sufficiently “reflect the true range of lay and scholarly thought” on several important legal issues, UCLA law professor Jon D. Michaels asks for louder voices of dissent among the liberal justices.

A more aggressive dissent, he asserts, “can expose and undo the court’s ideological pathologies.”

Apparently, only views opposed to his own can be ideologically pathological. He believes that the court’s “blind eye to the realities of structural poverty, racism, sexism and homophobia” can be rejected by a more assertive progressive court. With only a passing mention of Congress, he wants the court to reflect his opinion of the “legal, political and demographic changes wrought by modernity.”

To the professor, only a select group of judges can plot the proper path for America. Michaels makes it clear that he prefers a court of opinion rather than a court of law.


Scott Perley, Irvine


To the editor: Michaels objects to conservative jurists like Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, because they adhere to a strict reading of the Constitution. This strictness, the law professor laments, sees the modern world with a “blind eye to the realities of structural poverty, racism, sexism and homophobia.”

Oh, goodness, did not those realities exist when the Constitution was written? Of course they did. What changed were the values of morality then and now.


Michaels would have us adopt his “progressive” values, and to heck with what the Constitution meant in the past. In sum, let’s make the Constitution mean what we want it to mean.

Rafael Villa, Brea


To the editor: Retired Superior Court Judge R. William Schoettler urges confirmation of Kavanaugh because he is “intelligent, experienced, and of a judicial temperament to handle the job.”

Those are good qualities in a Superior Court judge, who applies and follows the law. The Supreme Court, however, is a political body that makes law in light of particular interpretations of the U.S. Constitution.

Temperament is hardly a serious consideration. What matters is that Kavanaugh will make the Supreme Court a bastion of right-wing views for years to come.

Phil Brimble, Los Angeles

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