This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat
Reforming the U.S. Supreme Court is something that I've been thinking about for five years now which is also when I started blogging. And is something I take very seriously especially considering how important the Supreme Court is where it can essentially kill bills on it's own and can practically rewrite legislation on their own. By saying "we accept this part of the law, but this is what must go. And if you reform this part of the law, we'll accept it later on".
This is not about 'judicial activism'. I mean seriously judicial activism is something most of us can probably define either on the Right or Left. Which is laws that are written from the bench. Meaning judicial rulings that change the meaning and effects of laws. But as U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham has said Republican from South Carolina no moderate by any real definition. "Judicial activism are judicial rulings that you disagree with". Which is sort of a simplistic definition, but the Senator is correct. Because when one side loses they tend to claim judicial activism pretty quickly.
We live in a country of over three-hundred and ten-million people with fifty-states. We have a bicameral Congress with five-hundred and thirty-five members in total from the House and Senate. Yet we have a Supreme Court that in a lot of ways is just as powerful as Congress and even the President in some cases, but they only have nine members including the Chief Justice. Where none of the states have a representative on the court as far as representing them. And where they all have lifetime appointments and never have to reapply for a job regardless of the job they do and all live off of the taxpayers dime.
I'm not looking for a democratic Supreme Court and to turn them into official elected politicians. I'm not even looking for time limits as far as how long someone can serve on the Supreme Court. What I want to do is make the Supreme Court accountable to the people it serves which are the people who pay their salaries. As well as more representative to the country it serves in. Again not talking about making it an elected body, but increasing the size of the Court and holding the Justices accountable to the people.
So here is what I would do. Have fifty Justices one for each state. As well as perhaps some type of delegate for the U.S. territories, but perhaps without full voting power. The Chief Justice and their deputy would be an at-large member. And there would be a new position representing the opposition or minority on the Court as well with certain duties and responsibilities. That would lead the opposition in representing the opposing view and alternative when there is a clear partisan divide.
Each U.S. Justice would be their U.S. Justice from their state and get to rule on which cases from their state would make it to the floor of the U.S. Supreme Court with the other Justices weighing in. The President still appoints each Justice, but that Justice would now serve a six-year term if confirmed by the U.S. Senate. And then have to be reappointed and reconfirmed by the Senate again to stay on the Court. Instead of getting to stay on the Court indefinitely.
Again not looking or interested and would oppose any attempt to make U.S. Justices democratically elected politicians. Because the Supreme Court deals so much with the U.S. Constitution itself and Justices aren't lawmakers or executives, but judges of law and the constitutionality of them. What I want to do is to make them a lot more accountable for the jobs they do and allow for the people through their U.S. Senators to decide if they deserve to keep their job and hold them accountable.