Supreme Court (US)

Reforming scotus and congress

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.

Role of the Courts

“Mr. Norrell, it is not the duty of the court – any court – to exalt one person’s opinions above others! Not in magic nor in any other sphere of life. If other magicians think differently from you, then you must battle it out with them. You must prove the superiority of your opinions, as I do in politics. You must argue and publish and practise your magic and you must learn to live as I do – in the face of constant criticism, opposition and censure. That, sir, is the English way.”
Susanna Clarke, Jonathon Strange & Mr Norrell, 407

For more on this novel see the Seminar at Crook Timber.

Increasing the Scotus Workload

Well, for eight of them. If meiers is confirmed roberts will never assign her an opinion to write.
Update: Turns out that, as many expected, this won’t become a problem for the sitting justices.
What does harry reid have to say about thisturn of events

:The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination.

No, harry, her utter inadequacy for the position killed her nomination. reid claimed some responsibility (Reg) for bush selecting meiers and by doing so demonstrates no more competence than bush did in making the selection. There is, though, always the possibility that this has played out just the way reid expected, that he took advantage of the empty suit.
[Memo to Staff: Next time you write something about current events the night before verify whether anything has changed before you put the post up in the morning!-ed.]

cornyn v miers

senator john cornyn, rep-tex, joins the executive branch chorus singing the praises of nominee miers and, inter alia, states(reg):

I know that she understands that unelected judges who serve in a democracy have a limited role–to apply the law as it was written by the people’s representatives.

And then quotes her contradicting his view:

She aptly described her judicial philosophy on Monday when she said, “It is the responsibility of every generation to be true to the founders’ vision of the proper role of the courts and our society.” The courts, she continued, have “obligations to strictly apply the laws and the Constitution.”

Being true to the founder’s vision and having “obligations to strictly apply the laws and the Constitution” is dramatically different from applying “..the law as it was written by the people’s representatives.”
This seems, in fact, to be a rather deep difference between cornyn and miers. Perhaps her actions on the court, if approved, will indeed be on the behalf of freedom and liberty. Then, again, she’s been in the executive branch of government for a long time and fully understands doublespeak.
(Ed: emphasis added)
Via Will Baude.

Bow Down to Leo?

Feddie at Southern Appeal argues that this endorsement by Leonard Leo should resolve the issue:

Dear Ann Coulter and all other Roberts doubters: If the following statements by Leonard Leo don’t make you feel extremely secure with President Bush’s nomination of John Roberts to the SCOTUS, then nothing will:

Well, I’m a cipher roberts doubter and this surely doesn’t make me reconsider. Amongst other things Leo argues that:

Even though Roberts has never ruled on an abortion issue, Leo says Roberts opinions on other hot political topics show “a respect for the text and original meaning and a presumption of deference to the political branches of government.”

Seems a bit oxymoronic and certainly the last thing I want to see from the court is a presumption of deference to the political branches of government. An independent judiciary that properly recognizes the restrictions that must be put on government action if life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and, yes, our economic well being are to survive is just fine, thank you!