Monday, June 11, 2007

Life Appointment of Justices

Life appointment of the justices sitting on the USSC--as long as they behave well--has raised many concerns. The concerns range from certain presidents having more control over the political ideology of the Court to justices staying on the job far after their health has compromised their capacity to do the job.

The justice which currently comes to mind is CJ Rehnquist. Although he was clearly battling (and losing the battle) against thyroid cancer he remained steadfast in his desire to stay on the Court till his dying day. Concerns over the health and well-being of the justice have prompted some scholars such as James E. DiTullio and John B. Schochet to call for a constitutional amendment: give justices 18 year non-renewable terms on the Court instead of life appointment.

In their article:
Saving This Honorable Court: A Proposal to Replace Life Tenure on the Supreme Court with Non-renewable Eighteen Year Terms argue that this amendment will be beneficial since it will reduce the influence of one president on the Court, the influence of age on the choice of nominees (who may lack the appropriate experience if too young) and the desire of justices to stay on the Court past their prime.

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