Fixed terms for Supreme Court Justices
crossf at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU
Wed Nov 27 16:57:17 PST 2002
A few other considerations argue for fixed terms:
1) Presidents would not feel so much pressure to appoint youth to the
bench. They could appoint their preferred candidate with less concern for
extending their influence by appointing a younger candidate.
2) There would be less randomness in appointments, so you would be less
likely to get "lucky" and "unlucky" presidents, depending upon when judges
retired. Such randomness distorts the legitimate political influence on
the composition of the Court
3) Sitting justices would be less able to manipulate the composition of the
court by timing their retirements ideologically.
4) The greater turnover would bring the Court somewhat closer to the
contemporaneous political alignment and make the Court less likely to
combat new understandings of Executive and Legislative branches. (Of
course, this might be considered a bad thing under the view that this is
precisely the role of the Court).
Herbert D. Kelleher Centennial Professor of Business Law
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712
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