Photo Illustration by Michelle Budge and Alex Cochran

Public confidence in institutions is already low. Adding justices to the Supreme Court would make it worse

The debate over enlarging the U.S. Supreme Court would be largely unnecessary if Congress would take its power to legislate seriously.

Even so, history has plenty to offer on the subject, clearly demonstrating that court size has been used as a political weapon before. No one should doubt that, once unsheathed again after lying dormant for 152 years, it would be weaponized again.

The nation’s high court has, in recent decades, become pivotal in battles over culture-war issues. That includes cases involving limits on abortion rights, such as a recent one striking down a Louisiana state law that imposed hospital-admission requirements on abortion clinic doctors. And in the Hobby Lobby case that exempted private corporations from regulations its owners objected to on religious grounds. And in Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado, which ruled in favor of a baker who refused to make a cake for a transgender woman, to cite just three examples.

Each time a case arises, one side or the other hopes for a ruling that provides a decisive broadside establishing vital precedents for their side. Nearly every time, each side is somewhat disappointed. Court cases frequently fall short of being the decisive word either side desires.

But these struggles have been waged with a court set at nine justices — a level rarely challenged, until now.

Recent decisions by Republican-controlled U.S. Senates — first in declining to consider President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016, then in quickly pushing through the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett close to the 2020 election — have raised cries of “stolen seats” from the left. In turn, some on the left …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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