A study is a study

April 18, 2021


Cal Thomas’ column of April 14 regarding the Supreme Court and President Joe Biden’s appointment of a commission to study Supreme Court reform was outrageous in its accusation that the president’s real goal is
court packing.”

The hypocrisy of that statement ranks right up with the hypocrisy shown by most Senate Republicans, especially Sen. Mitch McConnell. McConnell’s reaction to the Biden commission: “This faux-academic study of a nonexistent problem fits squarely within liberal’s year long campaign to politicize the court, intimidate its members and subvery its indeendence.”

That is the height of hypocrisy because if anyone has had a “years-long campaign to politicize the court,” it’s Republicans. They have worked for more than four decades to pack the lower courts with ultra-conservative judges, and for the entire eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, they blocked many of his nominees to district and circuit appeals courts.

That culminated in McConnell’s blocking of Obama nominee Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia.

McConnell would not even sallow Judge Garland the courtesy of interviews by a single Reppublican senator.

McConnell’s hypocrisy was further exhibited in his refusal to schedule hearings for Judge Garland, saying that, with a presidential election coming up “the people” should be allowed to be heard in filling a Supreme Court vacancy. That statement was made a full nine months prior to the 2016 presidential election. The sear was held open until Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch within three months of taking office in 2017. That was followed by Trump appointing Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

McConnell’s hypocrisy was boldly front and center in 2020 when President Trump was allowed to fill a vacancy created when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died. In spite of the upcoming presidential election, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the court on Oct. 27; election day was Nov. 3. It’s obvious McConnell believed Trump might lose the election and he needed to ensure that seat went to a known conservative. So much for the “people” being heard.

Throughout Trump’s term of office, and while McConnell was Majority Leader in the Senate, nominees to the lower courts were rushed through hearings and confirmations. Some who appeared for hearings were clearly unqualified, having no court experience, and one so ignorant of basic language of the courts that his nomination was an embarrassment.

McConnell knows about court packing.He has a history of it. But Mr. Thomas, like many conservatives, ignores that fact, and makes an accusation that appointing a commission to study the Supreme Court is an affront to the Constitution.

A study is a study. What it’s not is court packing. What it’s not is a violation of Constitutional rights. And it’s certainly not a politicization of the courts.

Charlotte Costello, Bullhead City

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