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Nonpartisan Supreme Court Judicial Reform


vcczar
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Most conservatives and moderates want to keep the Supreme Court as it currently is. 

Most Liberals and Progressives want to expand the court by 4 justices. 

I have a nonpartisan solution: 

  • Justices will be limited to 20-year terms. 
  • Every two years, a new justice will be nominated/confirmed and the oldest serving judge will be retired. This means there will be 10 SC justices. 
  • The oldest serving justice is automatically Chief Justice, which means every justice will likely be the chief for their last two years. 
  • If there is a 5-5 tie, the decision in the lower court stands, which is the current rule for ties. 
  • If a judge retires/dies before their 20-year-term is up, an acting justice fills the rest of the term. This justice must be a chief justice of a lower federal court. 
  • Nominees to the court must have previous experience as a federal judge as this is the highest federal court. 
  • Nominee must go through three screening processes: 1) They must pass a review from the SC justices who will judge the nominees knowledge, etc. It will be a non-ideological review. 2) The must pass a Senate Judicial hearing. 3) They must have positive recommendations from 2/3 of all living and mentally fit justices (i.e. don't have dementia) that have served with them on Federal courts.
  • If the nominee passes all three screenings, then only a 50% Senate vote is needed for confirmation. If the nominee does not pass all three screenings, then a 60% vote is needed. If the nominee fails two of three screenings or more, then they cannot be the nominee.
  • If necessary for support, Joe Biden would be grandfathered out so he can't make these nominations, and the sitting SC justices would be grandfathered so that they don't have to retire. This would mean the 2024 or 2028 president would make the first pick under this reform, and we may temporarily have extra justices.

Here's what the Supreme Court would look like now if my system had been in place for years.  

  • John Roberts, Chief Justice *Bush's 2nd appointment* and the next set to retire in 2024.
  • Samuel Alito *Bush's 3rd appointment*
  • Other Bush appointed justice, *Bush's 4th appointment*
  • Sonia Sotomayor, *Obama's 1st appointment*
  • Elena Kagen, *Obama's 2nd appointment*
  • Merrick Garland *Obama's 3rd appointment*
  • Other Obama appointed justice, *Obama's 4th appointment*
  • Neil Gorsuch, *Trump's 1st appointment*
  • Brett Kavanaugh, *Trump's 2nd appointment*
  • Biden appointed justice, *Biden's 1st appointment, nominated on the retirement of Bush's 1st appointment*

Under this system, were in place, we'd have a 5-5 court at the moment. Had Trump won in 2020, it would have been 6-4. 

 

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Make the SC a rotating panel of judges.  Every year randomly draw names, one sitting judge from each of the 12 circuits.  That will be the SC for the year.  That would reduce the influence of individual judges and make it harder for ideological judges to drive certain views through the certiorari process, since it would be a different panel that would hear the cases.  Rotating panels would also help prevent the judicial favoritism toward certain lawyers or groups that currently plagues the court. Incorporating judges from different jurisdictions would mitigate this problem since new justices would likely be less familiar with the usual power players and therefore less inclined to grant them special treatment. Moreover, because the panel’s composition would change regularly, patterns of favoritism would be less likely to emerge. Ultimately, the result would be a fairer and more objective bench.

Once a judge does a year on the SC they would be ineligible to be drawn again for a period of time.  If you think it necessary, a minimum time on the bench of X years can be required before a judge is eligible to be drawn.

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