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Letters to the Editor: The current Supreme Court is an abomination, but court packing would make it worse

President Trump with Amy Coney Barrett at the White House
President Trump celebrates with Amy Coney Barrett at the White House on Oct. 26 before she is sworn in as a Supreme Court justice.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

To the editor: UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky argues for court packing to fix a Supreme Court that he finds ideologically disagreeable. This solution is remarkably shortsighted, as it invites Republicans to do the same when they return to power, resulting in a tit-for-tat feud that may never end.

There is no question the Republicans have been playing hardball on court appointments, but responding with court packing sends the message the Democrats can’t win by the rules.

The better long-term improvement would be to adopt term limits for the justices, perhaps 15 years. This would address concerns beyond partisanship and provide the court with a reliable influx of fresh, contemporary thinkers.

Bruce Bates, Laguna Beach

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To the editor: Other than the thwarted nomination by President Obama of Judge Merrick Garland in 2016, it is simple happenstance that Republican presidents have picked more Supreme Court justices in recent years.

I also note that Chemerinsky fails to mention that the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg decided to remain on the court, evidently assuming Hillary Clinton would be president instead of Donald Trump. She could have resigned under Obama to assure another Democratic nomination.

Finally, Chemerinsky notes the Catholic majority on the Supreme Court. How about bemoaning all the Ivy League representation? One would think those law schools are the only ones turning out attorneys worthy of being on the court.

I do agree with having term limits because of increased life expectancy. That is the only point that did not reflect Chemerinsky’s personal bias.

Jacqueline Brady, San Juan Capistrano

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To the editor: Chemerinsky argues that packing the Supreme Court is preferable to having a super-majority of conservatives possibly for decades.

The professor’s time would be better spent advocating for legislators to craft laws whose intent is sufficiently clear to minimize the likelihood that “interpretation” morphs into “amendment.”

“Moderating the court” by changing a legal structure that has stood the test of time is hardly a solution to sloppy law making.

Richard George, Woodland Hills

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To the editor: Expanding the Supreme Court is only a temporary solution. Civil rights and environmental issues are presently in danger because of the makeup of the court.

The latest member, whose affiliation with a conservative religious group suggests she believes that control by men is the natural order, is frightening.

The Constitution has to be brought into this century. Too many laws to protect the people and the environment are easily expunged because the founding fathers had no way of realizing how civilization would evolve.

Yes, even the Constitution needs to be reevaluated.

Lynne Okon Scholnick, Long Beach

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To the editor: As an independent voter, I am dismayed by the gamesmanship being employed to tilt the judiciary toward the parties’ respective ideologies. Republicans displayed flagrant hypocrisy and unjust calculation in their deliberate effort to cement a far-right majority for decades to come.

But is expanding the Supreme Court the only long-term solution?

To me, the most just resolution would be to maintain the Supreme Court as a body of nine justices, but to remove Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett and replace them with Garland and a nominee chosen by the next president.

It is unjust to be bound for decades by the naked actions of Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to game the system. Reinstate the Senate filibuster for Supreme Court picks to promote more centrist judges, and set term limits.

The highest court in the land must be restored to legitimacy.

Jonathan Breton, Mission Viejo


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