Monday, May 4, 2009

Changes to Come in the Supreme Court

Bloomberg.com has an excellent article up today that includes some speculation about some possible candidates for Justice David Souter's spot on the Supreme Court.

Democratic control of the Senate means Obama will have much leeway in selecting his nominee. Democrats hold a 59-40 advantage and have the prospect of a 60th vote should Democrat Al Franken be seated as a senator from Minnesota. That would be enough to overcome a procedural move to stall a nomination should the Democrats all vote together.

Question:

With Obama not having the types of restrictions that typically are in place when a president nominates a justice to the Supreme Court, what do you think is going to happen?

6 comments:

One Salient Oversight said...

Well the restrictions are still there, it's just that it's a bit easier to Obama's nominee through (assuming the Democrats will play ball)

To be honest, there needs to be a better system in place than the current one.

The most important thing about the judiciary is that judges should be picked on merit alone and not upon left/right politics. Supreme Court judges must only be appointed from the pool of Federal judges and nowhere else.

As I understand it, there are no actual restrictions about the size of the Supreme Court. In theory Obama could appoint 50 if he wishes.

What I suggest is that Federal Judges be appointed to the Supreme Court randomly (ie through a lottery) and are granted a term of office (say 4 years or so). Once they finish their term they go back to their local Federal districts. Of course there may be a chance that they get chosen by the lottery again.

This, of course, then transfers any political interference from the Supreme Court to the District courts.

I therefore suggest that a two-thirds majority in the Senate and a simple majority in the house be required to appoint Federal Court judges to the District courts. The two-thirds majority should hopefully ensure that appointments are made from a more politically centrist position.

The president should have no say on the matter at all.

This may require a constitutional amendment. If so bring it on.

Coffee Bean said...

Those are some interesting ideas OSO!

I don't have time to look it up... but I believe there is a restriction on how many judges there are on the Supreme Court.

BLBeamer said...

The Judiciary Act of 1789 set the number of Supremes at six. Over the years, Congress has added and subtracted circuits and justices. Congress fixed the number of Supreme Court justices at nine in 1869 where it has remained.

FDR and Diana Ross's attempts to change those numbers both ultimately failed.

Roland Hulme said...

I just wrote that big post about the supreme court, so you know that I'm not too thrilled at the current system either. In many ways, it IS difficult to get a nominee in without support from the opposing party, but with Obama's strength in the houses, it's much easier this time around.

And it's worth remembering that most of the nominees were bipartisan. Souter, accused by many of being a liberal, was nominated by Bush Snr, so it's not like he was a liberal plant.

Skunkfeathers said...

I prediction is that Barry will go for a left-leaning candidate, but not one that will excite the moonbats of his party. What they wait and pray for is one of the four conservative-leaning justices to die or step down. THEN, they can tilt the Court their way, and have a free hand toward socialism, obstructed only by Blue Dog Dems, if there are any left.

BLBeamer said...

Souter was a plant, instigated by Warren Rudman (a liberal pro-choice GOP'er), who knew that G. Bush Sr. was feckless, and therefore would be willing to put forward the name of a pro-choice justice on the say-so of his search committee.

Rudman was a decent senator, but he really felt that abortion was too important an issue to allow the people or the President to be fully informed about the views of Supreme Court nominees.