With the recent Supreme Court nomination process going on and how the two political sides are polarized because a conservative judge could possibly affect legal decisions for years to come, it got me thinking about “packing the court” and the pros and cons associated with it. Those in political power push agendas and whether you agree or disagree, the winner introduces policy that affects others for years to come. Packing the court is nothing new to us here in southeastern Utah. The Antiquity Act has been around since 1906 and drastic changes have occurred because those in power have used executive privilege to, in a sense, “pack the Act” to force states to accept huge tracts of public land into designations that many citizens and states did not or do not want. Bill Clinton’s designation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Barack Obama’s designation of Bears Ears National Monument are two such examples. President Trump’s reversal and modification of those decisions is another example of how the power of a president affects citizens and states.
President Trump’s executive order is being legally challenged by those who disagree with his decision. This may be a moot point if Joe Biden gets elected, as rumors are flying that Biden will immediately expand the monuments and perhaps do even more because the power of the Antique Act allows it. Packing the Act, in my view, is a great annoyance and disservice to those of us who live in southeastern Utah, as it keeps folks stirred up. I would like to see this settled once and for all by having Utah exempted.
Kelly Mike Green