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Politics on the Bench: Inevitable, Regrettable

January 09, 2003

Re "Keep Politics Off the Bench," Commentary, Jan. 5: Professor Bruce Ackerman decries the "politicization of the courts." Are we to believe, following the good professor's logic, that had the court ruled otherwise in Bush vs. Gore it then would have escaped the taint of politicization? Is his logic so blinded by prejudice as not to recognize that had the court not intervened it would have in effect designated Al Gore as president, and this would have been an equally political decision?

Would he then be arguing that sitting justices should not retire until the next election? Does he believe that had the court not intervened and allowed the politicized decision of the Florida Supreme Court to stand and thus allowed that court to select the president we would now be in a higher state of judicial purity?

Jack Isken

Encino

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As a conservative I agree with Ackerman that politics should be kept off the bench. However, it is the professor's fellow liberals who are responsible for politicizing the courts. It was liberal, activist jurists who ignored the separation of powers, rewrote the Constitution and converted the courts into a super-legislature to serve their own liberal political views. Thanks to these liberal jurists, we live in a form of judicial oligarchy. I do not agree with the professor that the decision in Bush vs. Gore was politically motivated. But what sweet irony if it were, for then the liberals would have been bitten by the very monster they created.

Gordon L. Peterson

San Clemente

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I'm probably just as liberal as Ackerman, but nowhere near as naive. Bet the mortgage that at least two justices (William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O'Connor) will retire at the end of this term. I appreciate his sincere effort to appeal to their honorable instincts in penning his column, but his folly is assuming they have any. Remember O'Connor's blurted remarks regarding Gore on election night as proof of her plans for the future.

The grim truth is that the members of the current Supreme Court rewrote the rules to name the man who will appoint their successors (and numerous lifetime appellate court justices). To assume for a moment any of the five conservatives now sitting would consider the will of the majority would be to grant them a sense of fairness and decency they have yet to show. I thank Ackerman for raising the issue, in the faint hope that some discussion of the matter will, at least, inspire some courageous Democratic senators to filibuster when the inevitable occurs.

Mark Diniakos

Thousand Oaks

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