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Politics of the bench

March 14, 2009

Re "We need judges, not partisan fights," Opinion, March 8

Castigating politicians for fighting for judicial nominees of their political persuasion is as quixotic as reprimanding squabbling siblings or Israelis and Palestinians.

The problem is systemic. Because we have given politicians power over virtually every aspect of our lives, almost all disagreements become legal battles to be settled by judges.

If we limited the scope of legislation to the protection of human rights, politicians would have little power, judges' caseloads would be small and a nominee's politics would be mostly irrelevant.

Jim Johnson

Hemet

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Dahlia Lithwick accurately portrays the sorry state of our federal courts. The judicial nomination process has deteriorated into ugly partisan discord unbecoming a civilized nation. Congress is an ideologue body with a pack mentality, unwilling to see matters in colors different from those of its own political interests.

One solution to this gridlock would be for the nominating committees to present a list of competent federal judges to the president, divided equally between the two parties, before sending it to Congress for consent.

This may not work for the Supreme Court justices, but it would go a long way toward helping appoint judges to the lower federal courts, where most of the nation's important legal matters are heard.

Jack Yaghoubian

Toluca Lake

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