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Advisor

Another modest proposal

If we really wanted better government I think it would be a good idea to put a 20 year term limit on Supreme Court tenures, as opposed to life.

 

The SC is the long game that everybody plays and I think most certainly if there is a ground zero of the conservative culture backlash it is the legacy of the New Deal SC majority that held sway into the 60s and 70s.  Probably would have been better had there been some natural turnover.

 

Admittedly, I'm spurred to thinking on this as I observe Thomas and Scalia who have both become fairly ridiculous as their terms have worn on. And BTW, both would have termed out under a republican president.

 

I don't suppose either side would be willing to give up the chance of permanent placement of one of their wild cards in the long game. And isn't going to happen as it would require a constitiional amendment- nobody's going to go to that trouble.

 

But as far as the wisdom of the founders, if it was 1800 several of the current justices would probably be dead by now.

 

Also as far as the long gmae goes, court appointments are one reason that it may actually make sense for people of political sensibility to support bad candidates from their tribe such as a Clinton or Bush- because at least they get a less bad court appointment than if the other tribe wins.

 

And anyway, given the parlous state of the Republic, I don't think anybody is really too concerned about slightly altering a dynamic that will only play out 20 to 40 years in the future.

6 Replies
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Honored Advisor

Re: Another modest proposal

I could go for a 7 year term for SCOTUS`s, they could serve more terms but have to be reappointed like the fed chairman. 

 

But think about it, all the SCOTUS that were sold as "conservative" but once appointed revealed to be liberal rotten to the core.  They really are the most powerful people in the world really and not at all beholding to the people and now they`ve discovered that their duties include actually "writting" legislation beyond the traditional interpeting laws.

Highlighted
Advisor

Re: Another modest proposal

I think there is plenty of wisdom in the original notion that the SC be the slowest of the three branches of government.

 

Hence your comments lead me to retract the suggestion. The status quo is preferable to opening it up being a second legislature.

 

20 years is pobably quite long enough to ensure stability. But in the end it would probably be like term limits in slow motion. Even though legislative term limits are a populist silver bullet my study of states where they've been enacted don't indicate any improvement in the quality of governance- you just get more jokers trying to make a name for themselves during their limited tenure so they can make their next move up in the food chain.

 

And in theory, gerrymandering, money and all, you can unelect a legislator.

 

As I said, at this juncture where a substantial portion of the electorate likely wonders whether The Republic will stand another 20 or 40 years we're not probably so much into fine tuning for the long haul.

 

Highlighted
Advisor

Huh

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/07/supreme-court-poll_n_5279535.html

 

Hadn't seen this before putting forth my musings.

 

My point of view is actually more respectful of the founder's intent as opposed to a matter of partisan policy leanings.

 

Was just thinking more specifically aobut Thomas and Scalia and the fact that they've both become clueless old codgers, regardless of the need for partisans to defend them as their clueless old codgers.

 

The same certainly could have been said, perhaps more, about liberal icon William O. Douglas who probably would have left a much better legacy had he left after 20 years.

Highlighted
Advisor

Re: Huh

As I mentioned in the original post, as far as partisanship goes, both Thomas and Scalia would have termed out at 20 under GWB.

 

For liberals, I sincerely doubt that another Roberts of Alito would have been preferable, merely awake.

Highlighted
Advisor

Re: Huh

And while I haven't checked Linkedin I'm certain that there are plenty of resumes of Catholic Federalist Society graduates of top law schools angling for the Federal bench at least.

 

Equally true of the slightly more diverse group of candidates from the other tribe.

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Senior Advisor

Re: BA You expect the impossible

Judges that think exactly like you do 100% of the time.  You could assume they are scholarly judges that diifer with you at times. Or you want to fire them when they do. Exactly why they are lifetime appointments so that public opinion does not direct their findings.