Professors Lund and Learner, George Mason University, have a number of suggestions for reforming the us supreme court. First on their list is this:
Take away their law clerks. Each justice now has a personal staff of several top law-school graduates who serve for one year. These intelligent, energetic, and intensely ambitious young people are itching to do the hard work of studying precedents and writing opinions. It should be no surprise that modern justices have frequently assumed the more pleasant role of dictating big thoughts and deep feelings to the clerks, and editing the drafts they write.
Truly old-fashioned judges would study the precedents themselves, discuss the law with their colleagues instead of with their handpicked votaries, and write their own opinions. The Supreme Court once heard hundreds of cases each year, without law clerks to help. Today’s justices should be able to manage the 70 or 80 they consent to decide each term.
This may be a very good idea but before this happens congress should eliminate their own batch of aids and acolytes. They could then study the issues themselves, discuss proposed legislation with their colleagues and write proposed legislation themselves.
Assuming we keep them around!
Via Professor Bainbridge.