Returning Credibility to SCOTUS: A humble recommendation

With the increasingly political nature of court appointees it is necessary to protect the institution now and going forward from either other branch of government. SCOTUS was intended to be independent of politics and independent of Congress once seated.

I’m proposing a four-part set of changes to accomplish a reset and to prevent any one president or party from imprinting their will on the country.

1) Increase the court size to 11 to rebalance ideology and political taint.

The majority of the current justices were sat by presidents who didn’t win the popular vote. The most recent president sat fully 1/3 of the court, the last to the dismay of the majority of Americans. This is the most since Roosevelt. A court out of step with the sentiment of the country and whose barristers hold little respect (at least two have been accused credibly of sexual harassment) we need to add two justices from a more moderate viewpoint to ensure litigants get a fair and balanced hearing and ruling.

2) Set term limits based on lifespan.

The concept of a life term meant something different when the Constitution was written. That isn’t interpretation, it’s fact. Originalists should have a hard time arguing with this change. My thought 20 years max. This ensures a circulation of ideas and approaches such that it will grow with the country but at a steady and moderated pace

3) Go back to  supermajority for confirmation. 

Seriously, do we have to discuss this? OK, fine. Let’s force compromise so there are fewer risks of extremism on either side. It used to work, it can work again.

4) Set limit on number of appt for any president in any single term.

No one President should be able to reconstruct the court in their image, no matter which party they’re from. Roosevelt was the last to do this till now. Set a limit of 2 justices per 4 year term. With 11 justices on the court, the loss of even a few would allow for a enough people on the bench to settle cases. A president that managed to get re-elected, at least implying they still represented the people, would have a chance to add more to the court in their second term.

With these changes, the court would be balanced, stable and, with a bit of luck, relatively inviolable to political whim, whimsey, or, as we’ve seen recently, corruption. The court serves the people and the law…and the law is a living, breathing thing that must, in turn, serve the people. The Constitution was never meant to be static…if it was we’d not have gotten rid of slavery, made it clear that every citizen had a vote, or even allowed those old enough to serve in the military to vote… and so much more, and more to come.

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