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madison2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:24 PM
Original message
Is there something wrong with the way we choose Supreme Court
justices? (Or rather, the way we let them be chosen for us.) Maybe when life spans were shorter this was ok...
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. alternatives? n/t
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madison2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. terms?
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 12:28 PM by madison2000
I mean its icky waiting for people to die.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #2
18. Life terms made sense before antibiotics
and heart surgery. They died off frequently enough that bad ones were soon gone.

Life terms were instituted so that no political party could control them. Once they got in, they didn't have to bow to either party. The founders never considered that one party might be given to zealots and appoint only zealots to the bench. They never considered blind loyalty to ideology over country.

Life terms could still make sense if presidents considered country over party or over ideology when appointing them. When a party appoints men who have fallen down the rabbit hole, they don't make sense at all.
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Spacejet Donating Member (162 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. Partly right
you overlook the fact, however, that at the time constitution was written the founders had VERY little thought about political parties.

The founders wanted life terms to

1. Keep the courts an equal, independent branch of government. (this is why the constitution stipulates, for example, that congress can not lower a judges pay) Obviously a judge having to go back and get reconfirmed by the senate all the time would screw up that independence.

2. To keep the courts free of inappropriate influence. Justice is blind, you know.

In other words, when the SCOTUS was hearing Brown v. the Board they didn't want a judge to be thinking "All facts lead me to believe that segregation in public schools should be abolished, but gee that mob outside that will be voting for me in a month sure sounds pissed.... maybe segregation isn't that bad after all..."
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
3. Not changing selection, but terms would be ok.
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 12:33 PM by K-W
You want the justices to be independent of public control. It would create a massive conflict of interest to have them elected.

Terms could work, but only for the supreme court, only long terms and no reappointments.

We dont help anything by increasing the ties between the judicial branch and politicians.
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Dr.Phool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
4. I propose a 10 year term for all federal judges
With them being eligible for re-appointment. A lifetime term is way too long.
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madison2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. especially when they turn out to be really lousy appointments!
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Judgest can be removed.
Term limits arent the answer to incompetence, removal is.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. No that is going way too far.
You cant have judges making rulings thinking ahead to the next time a politician will decide thier job status.a

I would support terms for supreme court justices ONLY and no reeappointment.
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Spacejet Donating Member (162 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Bingo
Glad someone gets it.
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Spacejet Donating Member (162 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. It's tragic
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 12:44 PM by Spacejet
that so many people have so little understanding of WHY the founders wanted judges to have either life or extremely long terms. Unfortunately it's do to the the poor gov/history education in this country.

Here's a hint - if we had it your way (terms) schools would still be segregated.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Seriously.
And this isnt the only issue where it seems many people have fundemental misunderstandings about the ideas behind our government. And if its this way on this forum, think about what it is like in the general populations.

And people call themselves americans thinking loyalty to a government they dont understand has something to do with what the founding fathers celebrated.
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madison2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. The misunderstandings aren't on this forum so much as at the
highest levels of our government. If Bush understood the fundamental ideas behind our government and the presidential powers he wouldn't staff his cabinet with clones and threaten to do the same thing to the courts.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Many of them understand it.
They just dont support democracy.
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Spacejet Donating Member (162 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. Blame the congress
they SHOULD be keeping his ass in check. If they were the system would be working. By even the lowest standards he should have been impeached multiple times by now.

There's nothing wrong with the way things are set up. There IS something wrong with congress not doing its job.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Theyve allowed the executive branch to become tyrannical.
Which was like #1 on the list of things the founding fathers wanted congress to watch out for.
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Spacejet Donating Member (162 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Yup
and the citizenry look more to the president as being superior to the courts and congress.

This is a serious problem with the party at the moment. Every election seems to be 90% focused on winning the presidency and 10% on winning congressional seats.

Ideally your representative SHOULD be representing you. NOT the president. And in turn the president should be answering to your representative - NOT the other way around. That's what the founders intended. Unfortunately with the majority of americans not even having a clue WHO there representative is the system is broken, allowing a single mad man to take us all down the road to hell.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #4
23. 10 yrs for the Federal bench, eligible for re-appointment,
and a single term of 25 yrs for SCOTUS. Long enough to allow for independence, and too long to leave them jockeying for jobs after the term is over, making them indebted to no one. Would also help prevent under qualified young judges from wanting it, because it is supposed to be their legacy job. Would Thomas have taken the job if he knew he would be out on his ear at 70?
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WI_DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
6. Only in the last 15 or 20 years has it gotten so politicalized
It is worth remembering that the ABA used to send recommendations to the president and the president often recommended an ADA approved candidate. We often got some excellent justices from some surprising places. Eisenhower for instance, appointed two of the staunchest liberals the court ever had: CJ Earl Warren and Justice William Brennan. Nixon appointed Justice Blackmun who wrote the Roe v Wade ruling. Ford appointed Justice John Paul Stevens the last liberal on the court.
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Spacejet Donating Member (162 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. Politicalized
Isn't the right term. Try right wing propaganda. "Activist judge" and other such BS designed to influence the public in a manner that will allow neocons to corrupt/destroy the courts and thus eliminate any potential check on them.

The people here calling for terms/elections that are completely oblivious to the disaster that would cause (for anyone who isn't a fascist, that is) is a sign the propaganda is working.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Systemic corruption.
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 12:43 PM by K-W
Is what it is.
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 01:05 PM
Response to Original message
21. I think there's a responsibility of them though
that when they are no longer able to function at a high level, then they need to retire.

That should be up to them to judge, but there should be an assumption that they will retire when it's their time.

BTW - It is Senator Byrd's time. I hope he doesn't run for reelection again and in four years be a 90-year old with very advanced Parkinson's disease being wheeled into the senate once a month for a close vote. No term limits is okay, but that brings with it a responsibility for the officials to step down when it's their time.

Obviously some people, often named Strom, don't know when their time has passed, and when it would be irresponsible to keep running.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Bull! It is the responsibility of the people
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 01:10 PM by K-W
to elect competent representatives.

The problem is that our system of electing representatives is corrupt. There is nothing wrong with Robert Byrd wanting to stay in the senate.

There is a reason we stopped trusting government to regulate itself.
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