We find that we are in agreement with Jonathan Turley, a scholar and constitutional law professor at George Washington University, that America urgently needs more than 9 justices on the Supreme Court so that it functions more as a judicial body than another political branch of the federal government.
Professor Turley’s opinion article may be read at this LINK: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-fate-of-health-care-shouldnt-come-down-to-9-justices-try-19/2012/06/22/gJQAv0gpvV_story.html?hpid=z2s
Using Professor Turley’s scholarship as a guide, our recommendations are the following.
1. Increase the number of Justices from 9 to 13.
As noted by Professor Turley, the current number of Justices was commensurate with the number of federal judicial circuits which existed in 1869. That was 9 circuits.
There are now 12 regional circuits and an additional Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
So following the 1869 precedent, the number of Justices should be increased from 9 to 13.
2. The manner for selecting Justices needs major reform.
In order to accommodate the requirement of having a judicial body that serves as the supreme court of the land, but also to meet the ever changing landscape of the political order of the nation, we recommend a structural change in the manner for selecting Justices.
Currently, the President appoints Justices with the advice and consent of the U. S. Senate. Justices serve for life.
That process should be changed so that at the beginning of his or her term of office, the President assigns one Court of Appeals judge from each of the federal appellate circuits to serve on the Supreme Court for the 4 year presidential term of office.
In order to neutralize the possible politicization of the Supreme Court, there should be a requirement that 7 of the assigned justices shall be members of the President’s political party, and the remaining 6 justices shall be members of the other party or independents.
In addition, under the reformed selection process, the President would choose one of the assigned judges as the Chief Justice.
This reformed selection process is the reverse of what happened in years past when Supreme Court justices rode the circuits, and served alternately as both Supreme Court Justices and appellate circuit court judges.
3. Increasing the number of Justices from 9 to 13, and reforming the selection process of the Justices as we have recommended, would improve considerably the administration of justice by the nation’s highest court, and the perception of justice by the public.
What are your views?