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Letters to the Editor: Expanding the Supreme Court is the ugliest kind of politics. Don’t do it, Democrats

People gather at the Supreme Court to honor Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Nothing shocks me anymore in this annus horribilis, but I was surprised and disappointed to read UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky suggest that Democrats expand the Supreme Court to 13 members in retaliation if the GOP-controlled Senate promptly confirms President Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The GOP is a party of hypocrites, but it is doing exactly what the Democrats would do if they controlled the White House and the Senate.

To ratchet up the war game is a measure of how debased politics has become, when even distinguished legal scholars offer extreme strategies to recover a pound of flesh.

Frances O’Neill Zimmerman, La Jolla

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To the editor: Chemerinsky is correct to say that the Democrats have few cards to play right now. However, they are reaping what they sowed.

In 2013, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used the “nuclear option,” scuttling the 60-vote cloture rule on most executive branch nominations, in order to get President Obama’s appointments to the federal court approved. Mitch McConnell, then the minority leader, strongly argued against this parliamentary procedure but lost.

Reid’s use of the nuclear option did not extend to Supreme Court appointments. In 2017, McConnell, as the majority leader, invoked it for the Supreme Court.

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If Reid had restrained himself in 2013, the two appointments by Trump to the Supreme Court would not have been confirmed without the consent of the Democrats.

Phillip Doppelt, San Jose

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To the editor: Democrats should read Chemerinsky’s piece as a strategy guide if the Republican Party continues to put itself above the interests of the American people by bulldozing a Supreme Court appointment before Nov. 3.

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Democratic leaders need to make it clear that if they win the White House and the Senate, they will increase the size of the Supreme Court to 11 or 13 judges. The Republican Party must be made to pay a price for ignoring the American voters, and there should be no hesitation to legislate that payment.

In ordinary times, enlarging the Supreme Court might be a debatable idea, but if the Republican Party chooses to ignore voters, it is reasonable and necessary.

Charles M. Weisenberg, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: Chemerinsky reflects the self-righteousness that afflicts many liberals.

He conveniently has amnesia for Reid’s behavior when he was Senate leader and the Robert Bork nomination in 1987. Might I add that he also ignores the Democrats undermining the duly elected president from Day One.

Unfortunately, our politics have become bare-knuckled. The Democrats have given as well as they have gotten. Get real.

Barry F. Chaitin, Newport Beach


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