Supreme Court appointment gaps
SLevinson at MAIL.LAW.UTEXAS.EDU
Mon Apr 2 19:51:21 PDT 2001
One explanation for these "gaps," of course, might be (I've not done the
research to know if this is actually true) the perverse incentive to
appoint very young judges who live forever, especially since they no longer
have to do much heavy lifting (such as ride circuit or even write their own
opinions). For me this simply reinforces the argument for term limits.
At 05:37 PM 04/02/2001 -0700, you wrote:
>This is probably not an original observation, but, prompted by the recent
>on-list speculations about Supreme Court retirements (including my own):
>The current gap since the last Supreme Court appointment -- 7 years since
>Breyer in 1994 -- is the longest in 180 years, and the second longest ever
>in the history of the Court, first place going to the astonishing 12-year
>gap between the appointments of Justices Story and Thompson in 1811 and
>The third-longest gaps were three of six years:
>1975-81 (Stevens to O'Connor)
>1882-88 (Blatchford to Lamar)
>1864-70 (Chase to Strong) (though I would argue this one was "artificial"
>since Congress deliberately abolished seats to keep Andrew Johnson from
>Five-year gaps appear to have been fairly common.
>Random chance or any lessons to be drawn? Two of the four longest "gaps
>that count" have been within the last quarter century.
>Bryan Wildenthal, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
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