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Thomas: Supreme Court is too powerful and bicoastal

The Supreme Court is too powerful, and could benefit from justices from places other than the East and West Coasts, Justice Clarence Thomas said last week.

Some of the issues that the nine Justices settle would be better hashed out by lawmakers and other elected officials, Thomas told students and faculty members at the University of Nebraska College of Law Thursday.

“The really hard calls ought to be made by citizens and their political leaders,” Thomas said, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. “Other branches ought to make (those) decisions. That’s more democratic.”

“Our role is too great,” Thomas said of the Court. “I don’t know any more about these big moral questions” than other people do.

As for the justices, Thomas, who is from Georgia,  said he wishes there were more justices from different parts of the country.

“There’s nobody from the Heartland,” Thomas said, adding that the Court would benefit from geographic diversity that “reflects the fact this is a big country, not just the Northeast.”

Six of the nine justices were born in either New York or New Jersey: Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.  Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer hail from California.

The only heartland connection on the Court comes from Roberts, who moved to Indiana with his family while still in grade school.

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