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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: How to prevent any single president from reshaping the judiciary

Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington.
(Michael Reynolds / European Pressphoto Agency )

To the editor: I agree that Americans should think more critically about the function and configuration of the U.S. Supreme Court. It’d be instructive, as the op-ed article writers state, if those running for president offered more than the assertion they’d be “open” to adding justices or implementing term limits, which is just about all they’ve said to this point.

But to me, judicial reform lies squarely in Congress’ court.

Lawmakers have written statutes — upheld by the Supreme Court — that govern the justices’ recusals and financial disclosures and where and when they meet, so it follows that they have the authority to fix deficient structural elements.

A statute ending life tenure in favor of a system that rotates justices back to a lower court after, say, 18 years should be popular with both parties. Such a law would keep our top jurists in the judiciary for life, per the Constitution’s guarantee, while ensuring our nation’s laws are no longer contingent on the health of octogenarians.

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After impeaching an Article II officer this week, Congress would be wise to recall there’s a third branch that also needs to be reined in.

Gabe Roth, New York

The writer is executive director of Fix the Court, a federal judiciary watchdog group.

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To the editor: The op-ed article on the stealthy stacking of our courts with lifetime judges appointed by Trump is truly terrifying, especially since many of the new judges were rated as “not qualified” by the American Bar Assn.

The implications for the erosion of our rights should be apparent to anyone who cares about the future of this country.

I agree that something must be done about this, but it might already be too late. Given the very distinct possibility that Trump will be reelected, we can look forward to the courts jammed with judges of this caliber.

Anneke Mendiola, Santa Ana

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To the editor: The new judges, and older ones as well, would do well to bear in mind that the Constitution says nothing explicit about a lifetime appointment.

Instead, it provides that federal judges serve “during good behavior,” implying that misbehavior can result in impeachment and removal from office. No one is above the law.

Eleanor Egan, Costa Mesa


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