Monday, October 24, 2005

Challenging Lifetime Nomination.

While there is so much talk about Harriet E. Miers, President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, I have hardly read or seen anything challenging the whole notion of nomination for life.
However, I find the whole idea, in today's world, when people can live older, work longer and thus have a greater chance of becoming senile, quite preposterous if not frightening. Where else do you see nomination for life but in didactorship?
So I was a bit relieved when I heard on NPR that some academics are suggesting that justices should not receive life tenure, but serve fixed terms (it has been suggested that 18 years would be a good basis). Great idea! Unfortunately, this has only been discussed by an informal band of prominent legal thinkers from left and right and no major politician has joined them.
Ronald Brownstein in the LATimes seems to believe that the current fight over Miers and the fustration in both parties may result in the exploration of this idea by politicians. I have my doubts. It often takes a major crisis for an Amendment to be passed and thus for a concensus to be found on the Hill.
To me, life-time nomination to the Supreme Court needs to be changed just like the sacred "right to bear arms", it may have made perfect sense in the 18th century but that does not mean it makes sense in this day and age! The Founding Fathers cannot have imagined people would live to a 100 years old. No matter how great John Roberts may be, do we really want him to rule for the next 40 years?
In any case, it would be nice if that idea was talked about a little bit more.


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