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View Diary: Thomas's ethical problems in the spotlight (153 comments)

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  •  What makes it a "great idea"? (1+ / 0-)
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    Since no one is talking about any kind of constitutional amendment, it's all a moot point, but I'm curious what makes term limits such a great idea?  The only thing I can think of is that it gets "new blood" in on a regular basis, but I don't think that necessarily makes for better justices.  

    •  Superannuation, disability, and disconnection (0+ / 0-)

      are the usually cited issues. Not "bad behavior" even if this stuff qualified.
      See: Four Proposals for a Judiciary Act (Paul Carrington et al.)

      [A]ppointments to the Court are made so infrequently as to diminish the likelihood that the Court's many important policy decisions will reflect the moral and political values of the contemporary citizens they govern.

      I'm not entirely convinced by the Carrington, et al. arguments, but they've been advanced by people I respect, of multiple political bents. With life expectancies so much longer than at the time of the framers, and presidents picking justices as young as they can reasonably get, there is at least a reason to think about this seriously (i.e., totally divorced from today's political issues, and of course the current occupants could not be detrimentally affected).

      •  Note that they don't call for term limits (1+ / 0-)
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        Villanova Rhodes

        That's just a knee-jerk reaction from some here who think that it can somehow be used to get Thomas out of office.

        Not exactly crack reasoning by them.

        •  I agree about the reaction here. (1+ / 0-)
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          But the proposal would effectively limit justices' terms to about 18 years, then put them in senior status with rapidly decreasing influence. Different from kicking them out into the private sector, as with some legislative term limits, for sure. I imagine there would be strong pressure on them to go help out the lower courts, which would not necessarily be a bad result.

          BTW, I'm not for this proposal, which I think trades too little rotation for too much, but it's interesting. But as you say, it doesn't address this issue, so we're probably in the wrong place for this discussion. Another time, perhaps.

    •  It was a snark... (1+ / 0-)
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      Villanova Rhodes

      How else, other than a constitutional amendment, will you term limit supreme court justices.

      "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

      by shmuelman on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 10:05:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I knew the comment was snark, (0+ / 0-)

        and that such an amendment is unlikely at present. However, the proponents of the proposal I linked above contend (rightly, I think) that it would not require a constitutional amendment to achieve most of the goals of term limits. Obviously you could not throw justices out of the judiciary or reduce their salaries, but the court could be structured to implement a rotational system that would add justices at regular intervals and significantly diminish the power of those who have served longer -- effectively rotating them out of active service. As I mention above, I don't favor the proposal, but I don't think it would require constitutional amendment.

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