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Supreme Court Nominations

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Our Constitution needs to be amended. Articles II and III dealing with the appointment of judges to the U. S. Supreme Court. Here's why:

1. The growing belief that the Constitution is a "living document", to be seen not as a statement of enduring principles but as to be interpreted by the sway of changing times, places undue and inappropriate importance on the subjective beliefs and attitudes of individual members of the Court.

2. The appointment of new judges by the President and the consent of Senate members has become a politically-based, rather than a judicially-based, matter. Particularly true when, as now, the President and majority of Senators are of the same political party.

3. The appointment of judges for life was likely meant to keep them independent of political pressures by excluding them from the need to be re-appointed after a period of years. That may have made sense in 1776 when life expectancy was 35 years, but no longer true today with life expectancy is at 75(M)-80(F) years. And the pressure can be avoided by simply setting a specific period for service on the Bench (eg, 6 years, 10 years), with no re-appointments possible.

Judges appointed today can be expected to remain on the Court for decades...too great a power to give the President and Senators in a separation-of-powers government. And because of the for-life appointments, we can anticipate having some senile, doddering, dotards sitting as judges making vital decisions. Have some now and they aren't even all that old.

4. No requirements for service on the Supreme Court is required. No minimum age requirement, no educational requirements, no prior experience as a judge required. Odd. Few of us would hire someone who has never repaired one before, to fix that clogged and leaking toilet bowl in our home. But experience as a jurist for a Supreme Court nominee? Nah!

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While I agree with the significance of the 1st problem, this is precisely why we need a process of verifying a SCOTUS justice's beliefs, so that we know that he will uphold the law rather than follow a particular political doctrine. Your 2nd point is largely correct though you are wrong if you are implying that appointments are based on specific party affiliations or positions on concrete issues -- they are based on the president's assessment that the nominee's rulings will be favorable to a particular political perspective because the judicial and political philosophy have something in common. Your 3rd argument is based on the false claim that judges are living much longer and therefore lifetime appointments are no longer valid. In fact, even within the spirit of your argument, it does not matter how long a judge lives, at most it matters how long a judge is in office. Supreme Court justices last an average of 16 years, with no tendency for modern judges to hold office longer. The first 25 justices held office an average of 16 years, and the last 25 justices (of the dead justices) held office an average of 16.8 years. Furthermore, longevity of justices has increased only 6 years between the first half and the second half of the dead justices. Furthermore, your proposal is simply not a rational one, in the context of what a Supreme Court justice is and does. The amount of "power" that a justice has is not changed by the duration of their time in office. The scurilous accusation that justices are senile is beneath contempt and utterly lacking in factual support. Are you claiming that Rand was senile at the end of her life? Your 4th objection invents a non-problem. The implication is that "in principle" someone could be appointed to the bench without having any legal training. When was the last time that this happened? Which teenage judges were appointed, or what other "too-young" age problems do we find with Supreme Court judges?

There are problems with judicial appointments, but it has nothing at all to do with the constitutional provisions to appointment and holding office. It has to do with contemporary judicial philosophy, and the lack of proper definitions of the scope of governmental power in the Constitution.

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Supreme Court justices appointed in the 18th century served an average of 8 years.

The Supreme Court justices appointed during the past 40 years, excluding those still serving, served an average of 25 years. If we include those still serving, including 3 appointed in the past 5 years, the average is 18 years...enlarging every day. If we exclude those 3, the average is 23 years, and growing.

Poor judges, by rational standards, remaining in key judicial position for longer periods of time, exert greater influence, impact, power, on our lives.

I didn't say ALL old people are senile...I said we COULD wind up with some senile people on the Supreme Court...and that is so.

Justice is part of philosophy, politics is part of philosophy...you can couch philosophy in any term you want, but it's all the same...we each have one philosophy...and it is either right or wrong. At root, what makes your politics wrong makes your sense of justice wrong.

We haven't seen any teenage Presidents either, but the Founders saw fit to set a minimum age...and for Senators and Representatives, too.

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