I would take it a step further.

The conclusion of a Glenn Reynolds USA Today column about pro-governing-class selection bias in US Supreme Court nominations:

To counteract this, we might want to bring a bit more diversity to the court. I’m not recommending that we eliminate the informal requirement that judges have law degrees (though non-lawyer judges were common in colonial times, and some countries still use them). But maybe we should look outside the Ivy League and the federal appellate courts. A Supreme Court justice who served on a state court — especially one who had to run for election — would probably have a much broader view of America than a thoroughbred who went from the Ivy League to an appellate clerkship to a fancy law firm.

I would expand on this thought to suggest US presidents give preference to candidates who have run small businesses, have had run-ins with bureaucratic authorities and/or been arrested.

Lex adds:


If Trump gets a second term, I’d like to see Mike Lee on the Supreme Court.

I like Glenn Reynolds’s idea: 59 Justices. Nine appointed by the President, and one appointed from each state by the governor. Bloody brilliant.

7 thoughts on “I would take it a step further.”

  1. Things moving slowly at the court is not a good thing. I like Glen’s idea, but 59 is a bit unwieldy. It ends up looking more like half a senate. And we really don’t need the opportunity for 29 dissenting opinions. Instead I suggest 9 randomly selected from the 59, or perhaps the 9 Presidential, choose the cases to be heard in a session. Then each case be assigned to 9 justices randomly selected after briefs are submitted by the parties and friends of the court. Oral arguments could be heard regionally in State Supreme Court chambers selected by the 9 justices selected.

  2. I’d also get rid of clerks. Make the justices do the work. And if they don’t want to or can’t do it, let them leave the court.

    Same for legislative staffers who draw up legislation.

  3. How about expanding the Court to equal the number of Federal Circuit Courts, plus the Chief Justice? However, each circuit must be represented by a sitting justice on the Supreme Court and that justice must be chosen from residents from states represented within the Circuit–no more a third of the court from the NYC metropolitan area. for example. While it would allow a goofy justice from the 9th Circuit and the DC Circuit, those justices would be offset by those chosen from Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, etc. The Court would then be more represented by a wider swath of the USA. The Chief Justice could/would be the only member chosen at large, so to speak.

  4. Focusing on the number of Supreme Court justices is treating the wrong problem. The real issue is that the Supreme Court has gone beyond its remit. Instead of simply reviewing whether laws passed by Congress are Constitutional, those unelected judges have been acting as law-makers. The classic case is the justices ruling that abortion is a federal Constitutional right — when the 10th Amendment makes it clear that this was a matter reserved to the States or the people.

    Lefties like being able to push their agenda through without public support by persuading 5 old guys to pronounce it the law of the land. That must stop!

    The answer is to give the justices “skin in the game”. Every time the Supreme Court makes a ruling, the justices who supported that ruling should be brought before an Ad Hoc 100-member body composed of 2 citizens randomly selected from each State, meeting in Oklahoma City; the justices must personally justify their action to this body of their fellow citizens in terms of the specific language of the Constitution. If the majority of the Ad Hoc body is unconvinced, those justices are immediately removed from the Supreme Court and their ruling is declared void.

    I would like to say — removed from the Supreme Court with Extreme Prejudice — but I guess loss of all federal pensions, prohibition from ever receiving any Federal or State funds, and banishment to Fairbanks Alaska would be a reasonable alternative.

  5. Same for legislative staffers who draw up legislation.

    Unrealistic but it would let us get back to 200 page bills instead of 2000 pages.

    Why not staff size based on district population ?

    The weakness of term limits is that it empowers staffs.

    The California Supreme Court has a re-election requirement after 12 years, I believe.

    Back when California was sane, Rose Bird was removed in such an election.

    The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour,

    So, article III courts are lifetime appointments ? If we ever have a constitutional convention, there is an issue.

  6. Yes, let’s turn it into another branch of the legislature.

    On the other hand, how about no.

Comments are closed.