Letters to the Editor: Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation cheapens the Supreme Court. Joe Biden must reform it

Amy Coney Barrett takes the oath to join the Supreme Court.
President Trump watches as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administers the constitutional oath to Amy Coney Barrett on the South Lawn of the White House on Oct. 26.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: If Joe Biden wins the presidency by a substantial margin, he will have something of a voter mandate. So might the Democratic Congress, if the Democrats win control of the Senate.

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority, which now includes the newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett, will have no mandate of any kind. Its ascension has resulted primarily from the historical accident of which justices died or resigned when which party held the presidency. In the period during which current members of the court were appointed, Democrats and Republicans each held the presidency for 16 years.

To a lesser extent, the court’s conservative majority results from the Republican Senate’s hypocritical refusal to consider an appointment by President Obama in early 2016, while accepting an appointment by President Trump in late 2020.


If such a court majority, born of historical accident and legislative manipulation, asserts its essentially minority views too vigorously, President Biden and the Democrats will have every justification to open the question of court expansion or other reform options.

Walter Zelman, Malibu


To the editor: Barrett didn’t have to answer a single question during her confirmation hearings to show us all of us what kind of Supreme Court justice she would be. She showed every American very clearly exactly when she accepted Trump’s nomination.

Simply, no decent jurist with any sense of fairness would have consented to being a part of this Republican farce.

I never thought the debacle of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation could be topped, but sadly, I was mistaken. His and Barrett’s presence cheapens the court. The fact that they sit in judgment of all Americans is a vile disgrace.

Mark J. Diniakos, Thousand Oaks


To the editor: I was delighted to see our duly elected president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint Barrett as a justice of the Supreme Court.

I remain perplexed about my liberal friends being incensed over the possible reversal of a nearly half-century precedent (Roe vs. Wade) and not the least bit concerned about a reversing of a century and a half precedent (nine Supreme Court justices).

Barry L. Friedberg, Corona del Mar


To the editor: Journalists have repeatedly used the phrase “court packing” to refer to what options might be used in the future to reform the judiciary.

I believe that it is the Republicans who have been “court packing” given their abandonment of all Senate rules and traditions on these issues, but journalists seem to use this phrase to refer only to Democrats’ future choices rather than to Republicans’ current behavior.

Either adopt a neutral phrase like “court reform,” or use the term “court packing” evenhandedly.

Lyn R. Greenberg, Los Angeles