In recent years the legitimacy of the Supreme Court has come under question as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans have bent the nomination process for their own political gain.
At the same time, the Court has rewritten the rules of our democracy. In just the last few years, it has rolled back the Voting Rights Act, given corporations even greater power over their workers and consumers, and given the green light to partisan gerrymandering.
Many Americans – including several presidential candidates – have begun asking whether the Supreme Court should be reformed.
Here are 5 possibilities for strengthening the Court and rebuilding public trust:
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.
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.
The Supreme Court derives its strength not from the use of force or political power, but from its integrity as an impartial adjudicator. In an era of increasing political polarization, we should rethink how the Court is organized in order to rebuild public trust.
With neither the sword nor the purse, trust is all it has.
Ted Cruz mocked for tantrum about Gorsuch siding with Native American rights: ‘Way to channel Andrew Jackson’
In a surprise move on Thursday, Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch sided with Native American rights, ruling that Oklahoma must honor a treaty granting tribal sovereignty over much of the eastern portion of the state.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took to Twitter to vent his outrage over the decision.
Neil Gorsuch & the four liberal Justices just gave away half of Oklahoma, literally.
Manhattan is next. https://t.co/Ic9gqqznJp
Trump is cracking as his distraction superpowers falter amid the coronavirus pandemic
Donald Trump is dumb — so dumb he literally suggested on live television that scientists should explore injecting household cleaners into people's lungs to cure the coronavirus. But due to what appears to be a serious and undiagnosed personality disorder — his niece Mary Trump, who is a clinical psychologist, suggests it's likely narcissism or sociopathy — Trump managed to stumble backwards into a strategy that works well with the 24-hour cable news ecosystem of national politics. Actually, "strategy" may be too strong a word, but it's inarguable that Trump's short attention span, impulsive nature and all-consuming corruption have meant a constant deluge of scandals and outrages, with each one knocking the last one out of the headlines.
The Supreme Court just wimped out on Trump’s tax returns — and handed him a political victory
A cowardly Supreme Court punted today on the criminal investigation into whether Donald Trump and his Trump Organization are major league criminal tax cheats.
The high court held that while Trump cannot shield his tax and business records from New York State prosecutors, the president is entitled to pursue procedural challenges. That could means months, even years, of delay in the criminal investigation by Manhattan prosecutors into whether Trump is a garden-variety tax criminal.
In its weaselly Trump decision the Supreme Court stood yet again for the idea that you can get as much justice as you can afford, as I’ll explain below.