Leave SCOTUS alone

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The battle that is fixin’ to explode over the nomination fight regarding the U.S. Supreme Court may include a skirmish I hope does not occur.

Shall the court expand from nine justices to some greater number, say 11 or 13? I believe that is unwise.

Senate Democrats are threatening to seek a court expansion if they gain control of the Senate after the Nov. 3 election. They want to add more progressive jurists to the high court in the event another conservative joins the court after Donald Trump nominates her and the Senate confirms his selection.

Don’t mistake my motives here. I do not want Trump to win a second term. I want voters to elect Joe Biden as president. I do not want this election decided by the Supreme Court. I want it decided cleanly, clearly and without equivocation by voters across the land.

What’s more, if this matter heads to the Supreme Court in a court challenge, I clearly do not want a court with a newly installed Trump nominee having a say on whether Donald Trump should remain in office. If I could define “conflict of interest,” such an occurrence would be Exhibit A in that definition.

I say all this while cautioning against taking drastic action to change one of our nation’s governmental bedrocks, the judicial branch of government. Granted, the U.S. Constitution does not specify that the Supreme Court must comprise nine justices. The number of justices has fluctuated between five and 10 but since 1869 the number has been set at nine.

President Roosevelt tried to enact a court-packing scheme when he took office, but that effort failed.

What’s more, none other than the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — whose death has prompted this monumental political fight — argued against adding to the justices serving on the court. She was a traditionalist.

So … am I. 

If the aim is to seek some sort of judicial balance on the court, then my own preference is to elect presidents who will ensure it. That is far better in my own mind that tinkering with the number of justices. What, for example, would prevent a more conservative Senate from adding even more justices if the Supreme Court tilts too far to the left? It never ends.

I doubt, moreover, that the founders would want one branch of government meddling so intrusively in the affairs of another branch of government.

Leave the Supreme Court alone.

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