Many Americans, including several presidential candidates, have begun asking whether the Supreme Court should be reformed.
Here are 5 possibilities for strengthening the Court and rebuilding public trust:
1. Impose term-limits. The Constitution doesn't specify the length of service of a Supreme Court Justice. A fixed term would make the court more reflective of the times, and prevent justices from accumulating too much political power over the course of their tenure.
3. Require justices to regularly disclose their finances online, including their stock holdings. Currently, justices are not required to submit the same financial information as other government officials or members of Congress. The public should know whether members of the Court have a financial stake in the cases before them.
4. Add more seats to the Court. Under one proposal, the court would be expanded from 9 justices to 15. 10 justices would be selected through the existing process, and evenly split between Democratic and Republican appointees. Those 10 justices would then select 5 judges from lower courts for the Supreme Court to serve with them for a year. This solution would make the confirmation process less partisan and insulate the Court from politics.
5. Alternatively, the Supreme Court could be comprised of a rotating panel of appeals court judges, who would cycle through the Supreme Court on a scheduled basis. Federal judges already serve on rotating panels on lower courts. Doing the same for the Supreme Court would eliminate the current high-stakes nomination process, and make the Supreme Court less partisan.
The Supreme Court derives its strength not from the use of force or political power, but from its integrity as an impartial adjudicator. In an era of increasing political polarization, we should rethink how the Court is organized in order to rebuild public trust.
With neither the sword nor the purse, trust is all it has.
Submitters Website: http://robertreich.org/
Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.