Gavel

The recent leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade has caused an understandable uproar. Abortion advocates are horrified to see the Court may be ready to overturn the decision that made abortion legal. The right-to-life people are thrilled, and are speaking of the millions of unborn lives that will be saved.

There have been allegations the leak was an effort to pressure the Justices. There are also claims this leak severely damages the Court’s credibility and undermines the trust of the American people in this institution.

I hate to tell these people this, but the American people lost faith in the U.S. Supreme Court ages ago.

It’s not just unpopular decisions. Those go with the job, and the Justices know it. The real problem is the Court has become a political football for our badly divided partisan politics.

Look at how Supreme Court nomination hearings have turned into knock-down, drag out brawls. Republican and Democrats alike accuse the other of trying to use the Court for political purposes. One has to wonder why anyone would want to serve on the Court given how grueling the confirmation process has become. The fact is one side is no better than the other.

It’s also true that both parties twist the wording of the Constitution to fit their purposes. They’re only interested in following the Constitution when it serves their needs.

As an example of the sort of partisan politics that Congress now plays with the Court, consider two nominees, current U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assoc. Justice Amy Coney Barrett. When President Barack Obama nominated Garland to the Court early in 2016, Republicans in the Senate would not even give him a hearing. Sen. Mitch McConnell said it was too close to the 2016 Presidential election.

Donald Trump won that election, and the Senate approved his nominee for the seat, Neil Gorsuch.

In September 2020, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and Trump nominated Barrett to replace her. The Senate, led by McConnell, conducted a whirlwind confirmation process and Barrett was on the Court by the end of October.

Two nominees, two different confirmation processes that depended on the party affiliation of the politicians involved and who made the nominations.

Let’s not forget the confirmation process for another Trump nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. The Democrats made him look like evil incarnate. They also said he was a sexual predator. Allegations of sexual assault from 30 years prior were splashed all over the media. If anyone questioned how to prove such allegations at that late date, they were accused of calling Kavanaugh’s accusers liars, and were told they were encouraging sexual assault by not believing women who make such allegations.

I noticed Kavanaugh’s hair was considerably more grey when the confirmation process was over.

Of course, no one bothers to talk about the qualifications for Supreme Court nominees. If you’re in one party and a Justice is nominated by a President from the other party, that nominee is evil, pure and simple. On the other hand, if you’re in the party of the President who made the nomination, that person is eminently qualified and the opponents are just playing politics.

No wonder people have such a low regard for the Supreme Court.

I have some proposed solutions. First, eliminate lifetime tenure on the Court. Have each Justice serve a set term, and they cannot serve more than one term. We could set a term for, say, 10 or 15 years. This would mean we would know when a new opening will be coming up.

The second proposal would be to limit the number of nominees a President can make during his time in office. We have seen some Presidents who made a lot of nominations to the Court, while others haven’t made any nominations.

If a vacancy occurs and a President has already met the number of nominations he’s allowed to have, then the nominations would be made by a committee consisting of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats and a number of independents.

This will force these idiots to have to work together to get anything done. Working together to get a job done. What a novel idea!

Will this make the Supreme Court perfect? No. However, these suggestions might, just might, cause the American people to have more faith in the Court.

That would be an accomplishment.

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(1) comment

sam whittemore

all govt is farcial and theft. starts at the local level, then hits the very top.

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