The Supreme Court is supposed to be non-political. However, you don’t have to be a constitutional law professor at Harvard, Michigan or Northwestern to quickly realize that the court is political. I would hazard a guess that the court has been political through most of its existence. If we only go back to FDR we will find that the Court was very political. The government was trying desperately to dig the country out of the Great Depression. Nobody knew what should be done, but something had to be done if the Depression pot was going to be stirred. FDR had some kind of a plan and the Court kept knocking his programs out of existence.
FDR was in office so long he eventually was able to appoint sufficient justices to turn the political view of the Court completely around. Since FDR the Court has been turned a couple of times and the turning does not always coincide with the political leanings of the party in power. When the Court has control of the political direction the country is going, it is often contrary to the political direction the people are traveling. If this were the case with the other two branches of government, the Presidency and Congress the people can change the political direction at the next election. Death and resignation are the only ways the political direction of the Supreme Court can be changed or continued.
I have searched my brain to think of ways the Supreme Court is not political and I am drawing almost a complete blank. We have had some unique justices who were able to set their personal leanings aside and decide the cases on the merits, but they were few and far between.
I think we should have a constitutional convention and amend the constitution to require the justices of the Supreme Court to run for their office on a political platform. They would only be elected for six-year terms and they could only serve two terms. Staggered elections of three justices every two years would serve to keep the court politically balanced. Allowing two terms would also require the justices to be on their best behavior in the first term if they wanted to remain in their easy position for another term.
This is supposed to be the people’s government. Requiring the justices to run for election to the office would allow the people to have control of the political makeup of the Court. If the justices became really politically incorrect we could always resort to a recall election or impeachment. I am sure that would keep them on their toes and cause them to be legally correct in their decisions.
If we passed the change with a constitutional amendment the first order of business for the Court would be to read any dictionary to discover that a corporation is not a person but is only allowed to act like a person in certain specific instances. Making unlimited political contributions to any party or cause is not one of those instances.
When I started this article I thought they should be elected. As I finish it I am sure having them politically run for the positions would cure many of our judicial political problems.
John W. Robinson