Supreme Ideas

With good cause I have often criticized the Supreme Court. I am far from alone. Many ideas have been floated to help reform it. On December 11th, the Washington Post published Jennifer Rubin’s op-ed entitled, There is a path to save the Supreme Court from itself. That was the most comprehensive yet concise articulation of solutions I have read and it, in part, was the catalyst for this article.

Confidence in and respect for the Court is at an all time low. One of the reasons are the scandals that keep surfacing. All judges, including all federal judges, have a code of ethics that they must adhere to. That is with nine exceptions – the nine justices of the Supreme Court. A simple fix is to make the code of ethics apply to them and have a dedicated inspector general enforce it.

Another common reform offered is a combination of terms and term limits. The proposals of the length of a term range between 10 and 18 years. All proposals I am familiar with or would support call for a one and done term limit. If you allow multiple terms you defeat the entire concept of other than a lifetime term.

An often expressed reform is to simply expand the Court thereby diluting the current conservative (I’d say reactionary and un-democratic) majority. This one is certainly constitutional but it is also dangerous in that succeeding administrations (with the backing of at least the Senate if not the entire Congress) could just simply keep expanding to the point of accomplishing nothing other than making the Court even more partisan.

The most interesting idea I have heard is allocating/limiting appointments per presidential term or at least presidency. I’d like to see more details about this proposal. It would seem to reflect the will of the electorate a bit more. A Court could skew more to one political philosophy or the other but only if the electorate kept electing presidents of the same party.

If you notice I threw out a lot of ideas without making any solid recommendation(s). I simply don’t know the answers to the problem but I certainly know it exists. The Court needs to save itself and we, Congress and the President may have to lend a hand.
If you want to further explore this topic a great place to start is with Rubin’s op-ed. Here is the link:

This article was written well ahead of publishing in order to accommodate my year end hiatus and is the property of Its content may not be used without citing the source. It may not be reproduced without the permission of Larry Marciniak.