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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Term limit justices




The death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at 79 after nearly 30 years on the Supreme Court points out the oversized power of the court. The power is so great that our court is packed with Gollums who refuse to give up the ring. They have overstayed their welcome. The average age of the justices is 75. Four of them -- half the court -- have been there more than 20 years.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg will turn 83 next month. FDR was sworn in 11 days before her birth on March 15, 1933. She is not deciding the cases. Her staff is. They are all young socialists. Get rid of her.

Anthony Kennedy is 78. Retire him.

Stephen Breyer is 76. His best-used-by date expired six years ago.

Clarence Thomas at 66 may have a few good years left, but he has been there nearly 25 years. Time to retire, bud.

My plan is simple: A constitutional amendment that allows justices one term for 20 years or until the justice's 70th birthday. That's it. If you are sworn in the day before your 70th birthday, too bad. You serve one day. The amendment would not grandfather in current occupants but would apply upon ratification, meaning any justice who was there 20 years or was 70 or older would be out of a job.

As for other federal judges, they get to stay until they are 75 under federal law. Fine. The Constitution provides that Congress set up the inferior courts.

But the people set the rules on the Supreme Court through amendment. The time has come to amend.

13 comments:

  1. First, why no comments on previous post?
    NO, then it would be even more political than it is now.
    Also had the first two picks you do in the campaign, will go with Trump until he is the actual nominee. He is unstable as far as I am concerned.

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    1. Thanks, I forgot to hit comment button. Sorry

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  2. I wouldn't use an age cut-off. Let's make it 20 years but allow for extensions to keep any president from being able to nominate any more than 1/3 of them during his total stay in office.

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  3. I've said all along that I'm perfectly OK with Trump.

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  4. 1 term, no more than 6 years
    elected by all Americans

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  5. 1 term, no more than 6 years
    elected by all Americans

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  6. This will never happen and if it did it is hard to see how the court would become more constructionist. I think GW was the only R to win the poular vote in a generation and the Senate has been under R control even less. The best way to keep the court reasonable is to win the presidency over and over again. Tinkering with the Constitution during periods of political turmoil is not. If the R win this one and the next the court will be conservative enough for 20+years or more. "Now" is more important than "then"

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    1. When the country was founded, the prospect that a lifetime appointment meant someone would serve on the bench for 20 or 30 years was unthinkable. Term limits would help to restore the balance of authority between Articles I, II, and III of the Constitution as originally conceived.

      Term limits, however, are neither the real problem nor the complete answer. The problem is the ever-growing power of the national government at the expense of state governments. If the Federal government were as weak today as it was at the founding of the Union, the decisions of the Supreme Court would have much less impact than they now have. Adding to the problem is that over the years, the courts at the federal level have acquired more power at the expense of the other two branches of federal government, especially Congress.

      Term limits will not solve the essential issue here, which is the loss of Federalism. What is needed is a formal mechanism for the states to assert the authority they thought they had in the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights, which the federal courts have neglected to acknowledge and protect. One proposal I've seen that would work to restore the balance of power between the national government and the states would give states the right to overturn any decision by the Supreme Court by a 2/3rds vote of state legislatures...in other words, a procedurally shortened version of Article V of the Constitution with respect to amending the Constitution.

      It's something that should be considered because, experience shows, there's apparently no way to keep the hubris of our unelected black-robed judges in check. That's just human nature at work.

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    2. Interesting, thoughtful read.

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  7. Here's a quote, Don, from your favorite president, Franklin Roosevelt: "We think it so much in the public interest to maintain a vigorous judiciary that we encourage the retirement of elderly judges by offering them a life pension at full salary."

    Got that? FDR was in favor of the retirement of elderly judges. And by retirement, he meant under their own power, not by way of an EMT gurney or undertaker's hearse.

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    1. Yeah, but he was trying to stack the Court with his appointees.

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  8. Agreed. Also, they must pass a Constitutional Competency Test. The bottom line should be, "Where the Constitution speaks, we speak. Where the Constitution is silent, we are silent." - Elric

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