Why Doesn’t The U.S. Just Start Electing Its Supreme Court Justices?

SCOTUSMichael Lind writes on Salon:

On Monday, we had another example of the Supreme Court’s ideological division: a 5-4 ruling, along partisan lines, giving police the right to conduct strip searches for any offense. This came on the heels of last week’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, which led many observers to predict that the nation’s highest judicial body will strike down part or all of the controversial healthcare reform package.

But the hearings were instructive in other ways. They showed once again that political partisanship is closely correlated to a justice’s view of the law. And they proved that the Supreme Court once again is functioning, not as a court, but as a third house of the federal legislature.

The U.S. Constitution, like many state constitutions, really is two constitutions in one. There is the black-letter constitution, which consists of rules about which there is little or no dispute. Most of these have to do with qualifications for representatives, like Article I, Section 3, Clause 1, as amended: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.” Not a whole lot of room for interpretation there …

Read More: Salon

15 Comments on "Why Doesn’t The U.S. Just Start Electing Its Supreme Court Justices?"

  1. Liam_McGonagle | Apr 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm |

    Because the U.S.A. was founded under enlightenment principles.

    We can lament the fact that Adams, Jefferson et alia didn’t have the foresight to see what perverted animals American elites would become within 200 years, but they believed that intellectual rigor and moral integrity were best preserved by removing the judiciary from the feckless ignorance of the unwashed masses.

    I say that the incredibly partisan stupidity on display by the court is rather an affirmation of the triumph of democracy over enlightenment principles.  The only effect of electing the judiciary would be to radically ramp up the pace of moral and intellectual degeneration.

    If justices were elected, there would only be even more pressure to institute political re-education camps and “liquidation” programmes–make your point even more quickly, before the other side gets a chance to steal a march on you in 4 years.

    • Clank_glang_clong | Apr 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm |

       >We can lament the fact that Adams, Jefferson et alia didn’t have the
      foresight to see what perverted animals American elites would become
      within 200 years

      (a) Adams, Madison, Jefferson et al _were_ the elites in colonial America.

      (b) Given that over 80% of Americans don’t balance their checkbooks or use a budget to track their spending, and given that about half of all households don’t pay Federal income tax in any year, it seems obvious that the middle and lower classes are the perverted animals.

      >Behold, this is the tarantula’s den!  Would you see the tarantula
      itself?  Here hangs its web: touch this, so that it may tremble. 

      comes the tarantula willingly: Welcome, tarantula!  Black on your back
      is your triangle and symbol; and I know also what is in your
      soul.  Revenge is in your soul: wherever you bite, there arises black
      scab; with revenge, your poison makes the soul giddy! 

      >Thus do I speak
      to you in parable, you who make the soul giddy, you preachers of

      >Tarantulas are you to me, and secretly revengeful!  But I
      will soon bring your hiding places to the light: therefore do I laugh in
      your face my laughter of the height.  Therefore do I tear at your web,
      that your rage may lure you out of your den of lies, and that your
      revenge may leap forth from behind your word “justice”. 

      >Because, for
      man to be redeemed from revenge – that is for me the bridge to the
      highest hope, and a rainbow after long storms.  Otherwise, however,
      would the tarantulas have it.  “Let it be very justice for the world to
      become full of the storms of our vengeance” – thus do they talk to one
      another.  “Vengeance will we use, and insult, again all who are not like
      us” – thus do the tarantula hearts pledge themselves. 

      >”And ‘Will to
      Equality’ – that itself shall henceforth be the name of virtue; and
      again all that has power will we raise an outcry”!  You preachers of
      equality, the tyrant frenzy of impotence cries thus in you for
      “equality”: your most secret tyrant desires disguise themselves thus in
      virtue words! …

      But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse
      to punish is powerful!  They are people of evil race and lineage; out of
      their countenances peer the hangman and the sleuth hound.  Distrust all
      those who talk much of their justice!  Truly, in their souls not only
      honey is lacking.  And when they call themselves “the good and just,”
      forget not, that for them to be Pharisees, nothing is lacking but –

      Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

  2. DeepCough | Apr 4, 2012 at 6:19 pm |

    The Judicial Branch has suffered greatly because the Legislative and Executive branches have been packing it with partisan hacks to rule in favor of the policies of Congress and the White House as opposed to keeping them in check.

  3. Hadrian999 | Apr 4, 2012 at 7:24 pm |

     in the beginning presidents and senators weren’t elected by the citizens, the supreme court is the last vestige of of a check against the fickle passions of the masses, in theory, it has been totally politicized. the fact that the act of judicial review isn’t in the constitution and the court has no way to enforce is rulings places the court in an interesting place in government. there is a belief that it’s mostly unofficial status influences the court to stay above partisanship to maintain prestige and integrity seems to be failing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the court relegated to a purely ceremonial body in the next 25 years

  4. The best part of the Salon article is the comments section where the readers split Michael Lind’s asshole in two for wasting bandwidth with such an astonishingly moronic suggestion. 

    I’m sure it’ll go over well on Disinfo, though.

    • Blah_blah_blah | Apr 4, 2012 at 10:17 pm |

      I’m afraid you’re correct, given that Disinfo’s articles and comments are, as a general rule, astonishingly moronic.

  5. I’m not sure I’d want the public electing Supreme Court justices (just look at the results we get when they elect representatives and presidents) but I would like to see terms limited to ten years, max.

    No more “lifetime on the bench” bullshit.

  6. it’s in the works
    as soon as new profits are needed by the Media Industry
    fake Supreme Court election shows will be created

    in case you haven’t noticed
    electing politicians is not the answer to a failed democracy

  7. Redacted | Apr 5, 2012 at 3:03 am |

    The only way to save the Republic at this point is to destroy it and start over.

  8. Smudgeservices | Apr 5, 2012 at 8:16 am |

    Why Doesn’t The U.S. Just Start Electing Its Supreme Court Justices?
    1. checks and balances
    2. we elect our politicians, and its quite obvious how well that works out

    • Why don’t we just start shooting our elected officials? Shoot everyone who runs, shoot everyone who doesn’t run. Then we shoot everyone else.

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