Supreme Court of United States (SCOTUS) was last reformed in 1869 (Judiciary Act of 1869) and the number of SCOTUS judges has remained unchanged since then. FDR tried reforms in 1937 but backed out because his plan was in response to the decisions of the New Deal
Reforms to SCOTUS has rarely gone beyond term limit discussions. I present four (maybe radical ideas) that we need to consider to ensure SCOTUS moves from the 19th century to 21st century
US in 1870 had 38 million citizens. Today, we have more than 310 million citizens. State formation were coming to an end and the country had just seen a completion of the civil war. How can we have the same SCOTUS size and working as those days.
The following are my thoughts & ideas for debate on SCOTUS reforms
1. The bench size should increase from 9 to 15. How did i arrive at 15? There are 13 US Court of Appeals - 11 "numbered" circuits, DC circuit and the Federal Circuit. Every circuit should find a representation and allow 2 additional representatives not attached to circuit representation. Circuit representation implies someone who has served as a judge, participated in private or public practice in the circuit
2. The term for Chief Justice is limited to 15 years or when they reach the age of 80. Long enough to make impact on the court but gives an out as they advance in age. The Chief Justice can elect to remain on the SCOTUS bench after the 15 years or elect to retire.
3. The term for any member of the SCOTUS bench cannot exceed 20 years.
4. At the end of every Presidency, the two most senior judges on the bench retire. That allows the new President to nominate 2 judges at the beginning of their term and any other positions when a vacancy arises. My impression is that over a period of time, we will have 90%+ planned retirement cases only.
These type of forced retirements are quite common in public service. For example, in Military, a lot of 3-Star and 4-Star officers take retirement not to impede the forward progress of their juniors. Why can't the same hold true for the judiciary?
Let me know your thoughts