Now it starts again.
Just one day after the Republicans had increased their majority in the Senate, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fell into her office and broke three ribs. She was hospitalized following a statement from the Supreme Court Information Office.
Ginsburg is an 85-year-old woman. That a lifelong appointment to one of the nine most powerful seats in the country's judiciary is based on the ability or desire of an 85-year-old to do her job in the twilight of her life is in one word crazy. The reason for this madness, as is so often the case with our bad government, is a few words in a document that was written when people still thought the cure for cold was bloodshed. Focus of my:
The judges of the Supreme and the Last Judgment are to exercise their offices during good behavior and receive compensation at fixed times for their services, which may not be reduced during their term of office. Essentially, this means that you can sit on the Bundesbank until you die or decide to quit, as long as you do not commit crimes worthy of impeachment. And can you really rely on the Senate to do something about it?
We now see what the worst possible version of it looks like. President Donald Trump has been in office for less than two years. During this time he had already appointed two appointments (such as former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton in their first two years in office). An appointment came because the Republican-controlled Senate Trump made a solid impression and had just stolen it from Obama. another came because Anthony Kennedy was getting tired. Trump took advantage of these appointments to select two men in his early 50s, one of whom was charged with sexual assault by several women, and who nevertheless came through the Senate because Trump was fortunate that a majority of senators just were not shit. As a reminder, Trump lost the referendum significantly through millions of votes. If Ginsburg leaves the court in the next two years (either by election or otherwise), a man who has never been elected by a majority of the country will be able to remake a third place in the court ̵1; and with it the laws of the country – for the next 20, 30 or even 40 years. And that's all, before Trump has a chance after another four years in office.
Does that sound like a working democracy you've ever heard of?
There is a very simple solution that has to overcome huge barriers to implementation: runtime limits. In the midst of the Kavanaugh hearings in September The Economist offered a possible solution:
A more workable change would be the appointment of judges for individual 18-year terms – staggered so that each President gets two appointments per semester – and not for life. Any term of office for the president would therefore burden the court equally, and not a single judiciary would stay in the bank for 30 or 40 years. New blood would make the dish more vital and dynamic. A July poll showed widespread bipartisan support for runtime limits. As long as former judges were prevented from attending office, becoming lobbyists or lawyers after leaving the court, that would be an improvement.
This is not a new idea – Supreme Judge John Roberts wrote a memo in 1983 arguing that there are runtime limits – and there are already groups working to implement term limits. The main obstacle to such reform is that a constitutional amendment would be needed to change that language, which would require either a constitutional convention convened by Congress and two-thirds of the states or a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate for the passage and then three Fourth of the states ratified. There is a reason that the Constitution has not been changed for decades.
But that does not mean that this is impossible. More than two-thirds of Democrats, Republicans and independents support the time limits, according to a University of Virginia survey earlier this year. Three republican presidential candidates in 2016 supported all terms. A national campaign aimed at reforming the judiciary with a constitutional amendment would take years, possibly decades, but it's worth it in the long run.
The longstanding argument that the bias of a supposedly independent judiciary should be increased has been unmasked by the events of recent months as a clear bullshit. Brett Kavanaugh's job prior to his appointment to the country's main appeals court (which paved the way for his appointment by the Supreme Court) was a hoax in the Bush White House. Give me a break.
We just have to hope that Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be able to survive for a few more years. But damn it. There has to be a better way.