Should the Supreme Court Be Reformed?

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  • #188386

    • Total Posts: 5,309

    1. Impose term-limits. The Constitution doesn’t specify the length of service of a Supreme Court Justice. A fixed term would make the court more reflective of the times, and prevent justices from accumulating too much political power over the course of their tenure.

    2. Reinforce ethics standards on the Court. Currently, almost all federal judges sign on to some form of code of conduct — except for Supreme Court justices. These standards emphasize independence, integrity, and the avoidance of outside political activity. The Supreme Court should adopt the same standards. The Court should also institute a better system to recuse justices when conflicts of interest arise.
    3. Require justices to regularly disclose their finances online, including their stock holdings. Currently, justices are not required to submit the same financial information as other government officials or members of Congress. The public should know whether members of the Court have a financial stake in the cases before them.

    4. Add more seats to the Court. Under one proposal, the court would be expanded from 9 justices to 15. 10 justices would be selected through the existing process, and evenly split between Democratic and Republican appointees. Those 10 justices would then select 5 judges from lower courts for the Supreme Court to serve with them for a year. This solution would make the confirmation process less partisan and insulate the Court from politics.

    6. Alternatively, the Supreme Court could be comprised of a rotating panel of appeals court judges, who would cycle through the Supreme Court on a scheduled basis. Federal judges already serve on rotating panels on lower courts. Doing the same for the Supreme Court would eliminate the current high-stakes nomination process, and make the Supreme Court less partisan.

    Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

  • #188449

    • Total Posts: 1,305

    Take “Judicial Review” away from them for starters. That power was never given to them, it was assumed in “Mayberry vs. Madison” and not in the constitution. Now I have no idea how to do that of course.

    In America, “Liberty” means “Free to Die in Service of Capital” - Amfortas the hippie

    • #188633

      Cold Mountain Trail
      • Total Posts: 8,043

      Marbury v. Madison (1803)

      I don’t see who is going to “take away” judicial review from the SC at this point without a Constitutional Convention.

      “Article III states:

      The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. … The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority. .

      The Supremacy Clause of Article VI states:

      This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. … [A]ll executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution.

      The power of judicial review has been implied from these provisions based on the following reasoning. It is the inherent duty of the courts to determine the applicable law in any given case. The Supremacy Clause says “[t]his Constitution” is the “supreme law of the land.” The Constitution therefore is the fundamental law of the United States. Federal statutes are the law of the land only when they are “made in pursuance” of the Constitution. State constitutions and statutes are valid only if they are consistent with the Constitution. Any law contrary to the Constitution is void. The federal judicial power extends to all cases “arising under this Constitution.” As part of their inherent duty to determine the law, the federal courts have the duty to interpret and apply the Constitution and to decide whether a federal or state statute conflicts with the Constitution. All judges are bound to follow the Constitution. If there is a conflict, the federal courts have a duty to follow the Constitution and to treat the conflicting statute as unenforceable. The Supreme Court has final appellate jurisdiction in all cases arising under the Constitution, so the Supreme Court has the ultimate authority to decide whether statutes are consistent with the Constitution…

      Some have argued that judicial review is unconstitutional based on two arguments. First, the power of judicial review is not expressly delegated to the courts in the Constitution. The Tenth Amendment reserves to the states (or to the people) those powers not delegated to the federal government. The second argument is that the states alone have the power to ratify changes to the “supreme law” (the U.S. Constitution), and that the states should play some role in interpreting its meaning. Under this theory, allowing only federal courts to definitively conduct judicial review of federal law allows the national government to interpret its own restrictions as it sees fit, with no meaningful input from the ratifying power.”


      The conservatives wanted to do the same thing to the Warren Court, & FDR tried packing the Hughes Court.  Both failed.


  • #188631

    • Total Posts: 286

    I think it should be looked at really carefully by the next administration.

    Moderator note: Reply edited to comply with JPR terms of service. 

    American living abroad in South Korea and a proud progressive.

  • #188889

    game meat
    • Total Posts: 1,180

    Term limits, if nothing else. It sounds like the most doable reform and just makes too much sense. I can’t see why anyone would oppose it, but what do I know.

    Either way, whoever ends up as the swing vote has a frightening amount of power in shaping the country. We were at the mercy of the whims of Anthony Kennedy for years, and now it’s Roberts.

    Judges seem to already have their minds made up, and then interpret the constitution based on what they want it to say, the exact opposite of how they claim to reach their conclusions. There doesn’t seem to be any escape from the supreme court functioning as a partisan super congress, even if they wind up implementing the policy of comprising the sc of a rotating panel of appeals court judges. Term limits at least shake things up a bit.

  • #188990

    • Total Posts: 1,930

    Yep, and any jurist who feels that the Bible, or Koran, or other religious text is the divinely inspired word of god and the absolute truth, and therefore takes precedence over the US Constitution and democratic will of the People in their decision making process, should be automatically disqualified from serving as a justice on any federal court.

    “A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority.” ~ Booker T. Washington

    "When a society regrets economic loss more than loss of life, it doesn't need a is already sick."
    ~ Unknown

  • #189148

    So Far From Heaven
    • Total Posts: 5,110

    This is nonsense.

    It is impossible to make a truly impartial court of any size.

    That’s because we’re all human. And that means we have our biases. Each and every one of us. Without exception.

    IF you want them to have the same biases that you do, then get officials elected that have the same biases as you do. Then THEY can nominate the like biased individuals to the Supreme Court. And they will, of course, confirm them.

    The power to stack the court is in OUR hands. If the electorate wants god in our lives and they elect more people like minded, then you gonna get god in your lives. It’s quite literally that simple.

    That’s why the opposition has the stacked court and we don’t. They have the power and we fail to take it away.

    You want a court that reflects your views? Then get it.

    Quit blaming others for what is. The litany is long. “The powers that be.” “They didn’t let Bernie win.” They, they they they.

    What a crock of shit.

    The powers that had enough votes to get what they want are running roughshod over us, and we keep letting them get away with it.

    The facts of the matter is that we fail to show up at the polls in enough numbers in states where it matters. There is no reason whatsoever that the Republicans can control things EXCEPT that we fail to stop them. We have the numbers, except when it counts.

    Make it a federal law that everyone that can vote has to vote or get penalized. Take away the privilege to not vote. Get the fucking youngsters to show up. Mandatory. They can still submit a protest no vote, but I bet fifty bucks to a donut hole that will still increase the numbers of votes cast for candidates.

    • #189213

      Ohio Barbarian
      • Total Posts: 12,760

      @sffh I don’t have a problem with stacking the court, or at least threatening to stack the court, as FDR did. I’m undecided on term limits, like ten year terms. I can make an argument either way. I also don’t have a problem making voting mandatory with a nominal fine, so long as any adult citizen can just show up and vote.

      They do that in Australia and they have a much higher voter participation rate.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

    • #189393

      • Total Posts: 1,930

      We’ll have to elect a progressive House, Senate, and President in order to make the changes necessary to get anything constructive done.

      We elected a Democratic House, Senate, and POTUS in 2008, and they took all constructive progressive ideas, agendas, and legislation off the table, spent two years reaching spinelessly reaching across the aisle cowering in fear of Republicans, and sold us out to the highest bidder.

      Then they got slaughtered in the 2010 election, because, after two years with large majorities in both Houses, they didn’t even attempt to do what we elected them to do. Spineless New Democrats spent all their time kissing Republican ass and did nothing to protect us, the country, and their Democratic majority from the Machiavellian anti-democratic agenda of the fascist RW.

      They took Medicare for All off the table, and gave us Obamacare instead, in order to appease Republicans and Business As Usual.  And now, Obamacare is on the chopping block, because they built loopholes into Obamacare, allowing Republicans and the Healthcare Industry a means to make it less effective, and possibly ultimately destroy it.

      Yes indeedy do, they did that all that by they bad selves.

      Then, at the end of Obama’s second term, the Republican Senate spent 10 months blocking Obama’s pick for SCOTUS, Merrick Garland, and were able to do so because of them, the New Democrats who lost the farm.

      So the only viable solution is to elect way more progressives than New Democrats everywhere, or else we will watch as the New Democrats sell out us, and the progressives we elect as well, and subsequently lose any mandate they get through legislative majorities, once again failing to pass legislation designed to protect us and our democracy from fascism, because they are top busy kissing Republican ass in the sacred name of bipartisanship.

      And trust me, they, the New Democrats, will do everything they possibly can, to prevent a progressive majority in the House and Senate, and to prevent a progressive POTUS from being elected.

      So, because of them electing an effective and constructive progressive House, Senate, and POTUS becomes an absolutely monumental task – essentially, bringing about a miracle.

      I’m totally in to do what it takes to get it done, but just please don’t try to tell me that they, the New Democrats, are not largely responsible for our current fascist state of the union, because they damn fucking well are.

      “A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority.” ~ Booker T. Washington

      "When a society regrets economic loss more than loss of life, it doesn't need a is already sick."
      ~ Unknown

    • #189417

      Cold Mountain Trail
      • Total Posts: 8,043

      “The facts of the matter is that we fail to show up at the polls in enough numbers in states where it matters. There is no reason whatsoever that the Republicans can control things EXCEPT that we fail to stop them. We have the numbers, except when it counts.”



    • #189505

      • Total Posts: 308

      “This is nonsense.”

      I agree. There seems to be a lot of authoritatian fantasies from the Dems. And I’ve quit taking commondreams and their writers seriously for some time now as they go off the rails more often than not.

      I don’t agree with “mandatory voting” at all. That’s the antithesis of freedom

  • #189497

    Babel 17
    • Total Posts: 3,295

    “10 justices would be selected through the existing process, and evenly split between Democratic and Republican appointees.”

    A law that would enshrine two specific political parties as having special privilege? I don’t see that as happening.

    They could go with term limits and grandfather it in so as to only apply to new appointees. To do otherwise undermines whatever thinking regarding age that went into earlier appointees. Which might be OK, but it should be recognized that it’s what would be done.

  • #189573

    • Total Posts: 3,612

    IMO, since the Constitution is pretty much useless and the only thing in it that’s honored at all anymore  is the 2nd Amendment and it’s now considered to be nothing but “a Goddamn Piece of Paper” (GW Bush), I think the Supreme Court should be completely abolished. It’s not honorable anymore – Bush v. Gore. They lost all credibility after appointing Bush president instead of letting the recount continue. PURE POLITICS AND FUCKING ILLEGAL aaaaaand shredded the Constitution.

    It’s nothing but an arm of the Repub Party which is what the Federalist Society has spent 20 years plotting and executing. Lifetime appointments are the worse thing for that court. It’s too RADICALLY  political now.

    Abolish it. We’re already a banana republic, so WTF.

    Think of all the tax dollars we would save.

    I do like what Bernie plans to do to it when he’s president. That’s way better than what we have now.


  • #189638

    • Total Posts: 776

    Cementing a two party system would be a terrible idea.

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