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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Supreme Court tenure

With this past week's Supreme Court decision regarding Obamacare, we once again realize that the makeup of that Court is very important.  And because presidents appoint these justices, presidential elections are very important.  Part of the reason why these appointments are so important is that we never know when a new justice will need to be appointed.  Because they have life tenure, they stay on the Court until they decide because of health, death, or other reasons to leave.

I have an idea that might help make the ramifications of Court appointments a little less dramatic.  What if, mid-way through every presidential term, say in December or January, the most senior member of the Supreme Court (either oldest or longest on the bench) retired?

That way every president would be guaranteed to appoint at least one justice per term, leaving his (or her) mark on the Court.  This plan would also reduce the likelihood of any one president being able to "stack" the Court with his/her appointments.

A justice could still serve a long time - perhaps over thirty years, so this is not a guarantee that one or more of them would not leave before their time because of illness or even death.  But this solution might help reduce the partisan bickering over Court appointments and the increasing importance of the Court in presidential elections.

I know it would take a Constitutional amendment.  But I'm allowed ideas, aren't I?

What do you think?

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