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Keep hands off the Court

President Joe Biden signed an executive order last week setting up a commission to study changes to the U.S. Supreme Court, specifically to study expanding the court or creating limited terms for Supreme Court justices.

We think the administrative and legislative branches should keep their hands off the Supreme Court. It is about the only part of the federal government that works the way it is supposed to.

The Supreme Court is supposed to be free from political influence. Justices are appointed, not elected, and they are lifelong appointees. No need for re-election campaigns and political promises.

Politics enters into the appointment of the justices. The president nominates, and the Senate confirms or rejects. Partisan politics took over late in the Barack Obama administration, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused for 10 months to entertain Obama’s nomination to replace the late Antonin Scalia. Later, McConnell rushed through the nomination of Amy Coney Barret so that President Trump could get his pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg in before the election.

If any changes should be made in the Supreme Court process, it should be on the legislative side. There should be definite deadlines for nominating new justices, and definite deadlines for holding confirmation hearings to prevent the political hostage taking that marked the appointment of successors to Scalia and Ginsburg.

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