More than 400,000 people joined a petition urging a presidential Supreme Court commission to reject reforms that include court-packing, the Washington Examiner reported Wednesday.
Leading legal figures such as former Attorney General Edwin Meese are among the people who signed on to a letter filed to the co-chairs of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States, the Examiner said.
President Joe Biden in April named the panel to study potential Supreme Court reforms, such as adding justices or instituting term limits.
"Partisan 'court reform' proposals threaten the civil liberties of all Americans, and the political manipulation of our judiciary threatens the integrity of our constitutional democracy," the group First Liberty Institute wrote in its letter to commission co-chairs Bob Bauer and Cristina Rodriguez and other panel members.
"An overwhelming majority of Americans reject proposals to ‘reform’ the Supreme Court of the United States by adding to the number of justices and by limiting judicial review. Our own nation’s history — and the experience of other countries — offer strong cautions against restructuring the judiciary."
First Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford, who wrote the letter "on behalf of 402,537 Americans," told the Examiner that an independent judiciary is essential.
"Court-packing is a horrible, dangerous idea that Americans view as an act of pure political revenge, threatening our courts and the civil liberties of all Americans," Shackelford said.
"An independent judiciary is an essential check on the power of the executive and legislative branches and the fleeting political whims of the culture that preserves our constitutional republic."
The letter said progressives see reform as a way to restructure America.
"Today, the far Left sees judges who interpret the Constitution according to its original public meaning as substantial obstacles to restructuring society according to misguided progressive values," the letter said. "The political opposition to the nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett provides an apt example.
"In the minds of progressives, Judge Barrett and other judicial nominees in recent experience who adhere to the tenets of originalism are viewed with suspicion and met with cynicism. Their qualifications for office are questioned based on little or no substance."
The letter cited prior attempts at court-packing.
"Given such resounding trust for the Supreme Court and the judicial system, the sobering examples of other nations, and the enormous risk to our constitutional freedoms and democratic structure, partisan court reforms would be a mistake of historic proportions," the letter read.
"As the 1937 ‘Report on the Reorganization of the Federal Judiciary’ issued by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee concluded, court-packing’s ‘ultimate operation would be to make this government one of men rather than one of law.
"Then, as now, politically motivated court reforms lack historic precedent and legitimacy. Now is the time for staunch, bipartisan opposition to any plan that would subject the Supreme Court to a deeply politicized and damaging packing scheme."
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