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Letters: The Supreme Court and the next president

November 03, 2012
  • The Supreme Court has four justices in their 70s, so the next president will likely have vacancies to fill.
The Supreme Court has four justices in their 70s, so the next president will… (Pablo Martinez Monsivais…)

Re "Supreme importance," Opinion, Oct. 30

Richard Epstein, a professor at NYU Law School and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, argues that Mitt Romney would probably appoint Supreme Court justices who would "understand enough about the economic situation to restore these questions [on court decisions regarding economic policies] to the constitutional agenda." He contends that such a restoration would limit the number of "poorly conceived laws" that have, in his opinion, disrupted "the operation of competitive markets" and exacted a "heavy economic toll."

And what might some of these laws be to which Epstein refers? He cites rent-control and zoning laws, the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act, which have affected minimum-wage laws and overtime pay. So from his view, court decisions that have benefited the middle class somehow played a big role in leading to our "current malaise."

I suggest that our economic slump is far more rooted in the actions of those very interests Epstein would like to see unfettered by pesky laws, and that turning back the clock on such laws would disrupt our quality of life and exact a heavy economic toll on millions of Americans.

Sue Collins

Hermosa Beach

Epstein's piece raises the specter that Romney's election might shift the balance of power in the federal government toward the non-elected judiciary.

I already knew that whoever occupies the White House next year may well determine the survival of Obamacare, legal abortion and affirmative action. But I had not imagined that a Romney-influenced court might bring an end to rent- control and zoning laws, minimum-wage and overtime pay laws and other mainstays of modern life.

That's a constitutional revolution I hope never to see.

Kay Virginia Webster

Agoura Hills

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