Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat: The Boston Globe: Opinion- Jeff Jacoby- ‘If Supreme Court Had Term Limits, Confirmations Wouldn’t be So Bloody’: How to Reform The U.S. Supreme Court
For the life of me I don’t understand why two of the most important jobs in America which is being a U.S. Justice and public school teacher, don’t have to deal with the same accountability and in some cases no accountability as everyone else in America. Why is it that U.S. Justice’s and public school teachers don’t have to prove they deserve to keep their jobs and are doing a good job. And have to make a case to their superior that they should continue working in that same position. With their superior saying that they either deserve to keep their job, or perhaps should be released, be promoted, given a raise, or a pay cut.
But that is how the U.S. Supreme Court and the broader Federal judiciary operates. They’re given lifetime appointments and once appointed they can only be removed through impeachment and conviction by Congress. And only through serious ethical and criminal violations. Not for simply doing a bad job. And where I agree with Jeff Jacoby (for perhaps the first time in my life) is that is a big problem. And why Congress is so partisan right now, especially in the Senate where the two parties have to work together just to run the place properly. Because the Supreme Court and judiciary is always in play every two years during the Congressional elections with both parties fighting to win back or keep control of the Senate. To appoint or block Federal judicial appointments.
My other issue with the U.S. Supreme Court is the simple size of it. We’re a huge country of three-hundred and twenty-million people, with fifty states and some states that would make big countries. Like Alaska, California, Texas and Montana. And yet we only have nine U.S. Justice’s including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. And they have all of this power and can literally throw out laws passed by Congress and executive orders from the President with their judicial review that has become very political. And in many cases looks like laws get thrown out, because 5-9 Justice’s disagree with the laws. Instead of ruling on the constitutionality of them. Even though the Supreme Court has no one to answer to and has practically hundred-percent job security. Short of committing ethical or criminal violations.
Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress gets regulate the size and scope of the Supreme Court and broader judiciary. There’s no set limits for how large or small the court should be. You don’t need a constitutional amendment to reform the court. We need to start holding U.S. Justice’s accountable for their decisions. I’m not talking about making it democratic, but simply accountable. We need to end lifetime appointments and have Justice’s come up for renomination after their terms are up. And let the President decide if that Justice should be reappointed or not. With the Senate deciding on that reconfirmation. Or weighing in on a new appointment for that seat from a new nominee. And then expand the court to 50-52. One Justice for each state so the whole country can be represented on it.
The old phrase ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’, could have been written for the U.S. Supreme Court. This is too important of an institution for it to be unaccountable in a country this large, free, democratic and important. U.S. Justice’s and Judges in general, should have to prove their qualifications and job performance on their job just like most if not all Americans. (Except for public employees. Ha, ha!) And you do this by holding them accountable for their judgment and expanding the court so more Americans are represented there. Not with a vote, but knowing that someone who comes from their state is up there representing them and defending the U.S. Constitution. And will need to do a good job in order to keep it.