Letters to the Editor: A deal on packing the Supreme Court that Republicans can't refuse

·2 min read
NEW CASTLE, DELAWARE - OCTOBER 12: Wearing a face mask to reduce the risk posed by the coronavirus, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden talks to reporters before boarding a flight to Ohio at New Castle County Airport October 12, 2020 in New Castle, Delaware. With 21 days until the election, Biden will campaign in Toledo and Cincinnati. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Former Vice President Joe Biden talks to reporters before boarding a flight at New Castle County Airport in Delaware on Oct. 12. (Getty Images)

To the editor: I strongly support Joe Biden for president, but I agree with those who criticize his campaign for ducking the question of whether he would go along with an effort to expand the Supreme Court.

Proposals to reduce politicization in Supreme Court selections are numerous. Among the most prominent is that of non-renewable, staggered 18-year terms for justices. Every president would get two nominations in a four-year term.

An entirely defensible public position for Biden would be that if Democrats control the presidency and both houses of Congress after the election, they will say to Republicans: "Join us in a bipartisan measure to reduce court politicization before the 2022 midterms, or we'll put four new Biden appointees on the Supreme Court as soon as we can abolish the filibuster and confirm them."

Such an offer might yield positive change without court packing. But if the Republicans turned it down, the Democrats could say they were left no alternative.

Further, a Republican refusal could help persuade wavering Democratic members of Congress to go along with expanding the court.

Tom Rowe, Marina del Rey

The writer is a professor emeritus at the Duke University School of Law.

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To the editor: My suggestion of a riposte by Biden whenever he's asked about packing the court:

"Here's how I'm going to keep answering that question: If you want the highest court of the land to be packed with judges looking to overrule a woman's right to choose; if you want it packed with judges willing to overturn the right of millions of Americans to affordable healthcare; if you want it packed with judges able to ignore or deny the effects of climate change, then you know how to vote. And if you don't, you know how to vote."

Sheran James, Laguna Beach

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To the editor: Before a single op-ed piece or letter to the editor is published on the topic of court packing, I request that the author submit proof they passed a simple eighth-grade civics test.

The number of justices on the Supreme Court is determined by Congress, not the current occupant of the White House. Whether Biden does or does not favor court packing is a specious waste of time when other topics deserve more attention.

Sharie Lieberg-Hartman, Oxnard

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.