The U.S. Supreme Court is a failed institution. According to Alternet.org*, it is …
A nakedly partisan majority installed by a losing presidential candidate in the Oval Office simply because he could, using only its authority, and not the law, as justification.
A captured body serving a powerful, very small political minority (the very rich, the pathologically “moral”) to the exclusion of the whole of the rest of the country and its needs.
Over the years, suggestions have been bandied about to increase the number of Supreme Court judges as a solution to the partisanship (most recently evidenced in the Roe vs. Wade debacle). However, past efforts to this end have not been successful. Further, it has been noted that doing so could “unleash a spiral of retaliatory moves by whichever party is in power.”
Nevertheless, the idea has once again surfaced. Most recently the talk centers around increasing the number of judges by four. If done under the current administration, this would obviously give the Dems a majority (7-6), but who’s to say that down the road the same imbalance wouldn’t happen again? If vacancies continue to be filled by the POTUS in power, it’s inevitable the tide will shift.
Several other ideas have been put forth in the referenced article, but IMO, each one tends to have its drawbacks. Except one. It’s referred to as a Supreme Court lottery:
All federal appellate court judges, roughly 180 in total, would become associate justices on the Supreme Court. Panels of nine justices would be randomly selected from this pool. Importantly, decisions on whether to grant certiorari on a given case would be made by panel members who would not know the ideological makeup of the panel that would hear the case. Thus, this plan would frustrate partisan maneuvering.
IMO, the key words in this proposal are “randomly selected” and “frustrate partisan maneuvering.” In other words, as the article notes, this approach would tip the scales of justice toward justice and away from partisan manipulation.
There is little doubt that the makeup of the Supreme Court needs to be reworked. While Democrats are extremely unhappy with the current slate, there have been times in the past when the opposite was true.
Bottom line: Discussion concerning the structure of the U.S. Supreme Court needs to be moved to the active agenda (including, IMO, changes in the age limit).
What do you think? Is the above a workable solution? Do you have other ideas? Is a change even possible in the current political climate?