Letter to the Editor: Court packing is not the answer to abortion rights | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the Editor: Court packing is not the answer to abortion rights

James P. Tuthill

Susan Knopf writes in “A woman’s right to choose” that we should “add justices to rebalance the court to reflect the beliefs of the American people.”

While I agree with Knopf that women should have the right to decide whether or not to have an abortion, her recommendation to pack the U.S. Supreme Court to reflect the “beliefs of the American people” is extremely dangerous.

First, who will determine what the beliefs of the American people are? Isn’t that what Congress is supposed to do?

Second, legal decisions are not, fortunately, based on public beliefs. If they were, objectivity would be lost. In effect, criminal defendants would be tried in the public forum. How many times have we witnessed a verdict that is contrary to public opinion? The jury hears all the facts — news and internet reports do not. Does Knopf advocate eliminating the presumption of innocence and instead relying on the “public beliefs” for guilt or innocence?

Third, and most significantly, proposals advocating for court packing would fundamentally alter our form of government. It would remove any vestiges of the Court’s independence and firmly establish it as a political institution. Decisions would be whipsawed by public opinion. The court would no longer be a check upon the two other branches.

Liberals advocating for such a change have forgotten the former Chief Justice Earl Warren court of the ‘50s and ‘60s which ushered in many civil liberties. At that time, conservatives criticized the court and called for Warren’s impeachment. Would court packing advocates have supported altering the Warren court?

The court is not perfect because humans aren’t. But no society so far has developed a better form of government. Retaining the Supreme Court’s independence from total political influence is essential to our freedoms and the tyranny of the majority.


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