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In today's Washington Post, Professor Jonathan Turley, discusses the fate of the ACA in terms of the small number of justices on the Supreme Court, with the headlines "The fate of health care shouldn’t come down to 9 justices. Try 19..  

This article makes a very strong argument that with 9 on the Supreme Court, we are held hostage to the opinions of a select few.  It is well worth a read, though I suggest that you read it on Jonathan Turley's blog since the WaPo cut back the original article for space considerations:  Is The Supreme Court Too Small? A Proposal For The Expansion Of The United States Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is our main political, economic and democratic problem, in my opinion.  Regardless of the outcome of ACA (about which I am not hopeful,) I believe that if we are to maintain democracy, we must find a way to dilute the Roberts power bloc on the court which is 'legislating from the bench' in a breath-taking way, as is so clear with the Citizen's United Decision.  

Any work, activist or legal or congressional, that we are able to do is vulnerable to being struck down by these partisan politicians who no longer care about presenting even the appearance of impartiality.  So, as far as I am concerned, our next step is to educate people on the political maneuvering of the Supremes and work to bring ethics and accountability to them as I describe here.

Professor Turley presents a good discussion of the problem of the Supreme Court and a good solution, in my opinion.

It has become a common refrain: It could come down to one justice. That is the general view of the possible outcome of the health care debate this week. After a bitter 14-month fight in Congress and an unprecedented challenge by a majority of states opposed to the law, no more than five individuals are likely to decide the question for the country. The same could be true of immigration — an issue deeply dividing the nation that will have a pronounced impact on the upcoming presidential election. The same is true of free speech where the Obama Administration is seeking sweeping new authority to criminalize false statements. As citizens have gathered anxiously every Monday morning for weeks for the Court to hand down its latest pronouncement, some have questioned the hold of such a small number of unelected jurists on the nation – or, in some cases, one “swing Justice,” Anthony Kennedy. ...... Perhaps we should stop asking about what this Court decides and rather whether “those who know” are too few and “those who don’t” should be demanding fundamental changes of the Court itself, including its expansion.
(bolds inserted)

Professor Turley hits the nail on the head saying that "no more than five individuals are likely to decide a question for the country", which is far from a democratic representation of the interests and needs of that country.  The fact that those justices are all also rabid members of the extreme branch of the Randian Republican Party working unabashedly for the 'liberty and justice for ALL THE 1%' and are additionally all direct or associate members of the 'shariah-like'  
Opus Dei branch of Catholicism, should give us all pause about how an extremist majority is trying to dictate to the rest of us.  Is this democracy?  I do not think so.

Power is not supposed to be concentrated in the hands of an elect few in a democracy, but that is just where we find ourselves.

And if we do not try to change this, it will be our downfall.

Professor Turley continues to explain the impact of the concentration of power in the hands of a few:

Any Supreme Court of any size will always render decisions that are unpopular. It is supposed to. Federal judges are given life tenure to insulate them from public opinion to allow them to protect minority interests and basic liberties. However, there remains the question of how many people should it take to be the final word on such questions. Our highest court is so small that the views of individual justices have a distortive and idiosyncratic effect upon our laws – a problem that most other countries have avoided with larger courts that allow a broader range of views and experiences.

......
The deep respect for the court as an institution often blinds us to its flaws. The greatest of those flaws is that the court is demonstrably too small. Nine is actually one of the worst numbers that you could pick – and it’s certainly not what the founders chose. The Constitution itself does not specify the number of justices and that number has actually fluctuated through the years. The nine-member Court is a product not of some profound debate or study, but pure happenstance.

 (bold inserted)

He continues to explain that it is interesting to see that other countries don't have the same concentration of power in the hands of a few as in the United States, e.g. 'Germany (16), Japan (15), United Kingdom (12), India (31), Israel (15)."

In addition to expanding the number on the Supreme Court, Professor Turley proposes to additional reforms:
1) Getting Congress to apply the Code of Judicial Ethics to the Supremes
2) Getting Congress to require that hearings be televised to bring a much needed transparancy to the court proceedings allowing citizens to make their own judgements and revealing the actual capabilities and caliber of the justices.

These two changes would bring accountability to the Supreme Court and would mitigate against what Professor Turley calls a " sense of entitlement that comes from the cloistered and insulated culture of the Court."

I cannot recommend highly enough a thorough read of Professor Turley's article.  I believe we must take on some proposals of reform of the Supreme Court in order to literally preserve our democracy.  And I think that Professor Turley's recommendations have a lot of merit and deserve a thorough discussion and analysis.

WE MUST WORK TO MAKE THE SUPREME COURT ACCOUNTABLE TO THE WHOLE NATION THAT THEY REPRESENT.  Not just the special interests with whom they are aligned.

As we face whatever comes down with the ACA this week, I believe that it is time to reform the Supreme Court.  We cannot let those who say 'how can you do it with the Republican's in control?' deter us in this effort.  We need to pick a long term goal, set incremental goals along the way and work hard and relentlessly towards those goals.  Just because Congress wouldn't vote these changes today, doesn't mean that we don't educate the public to the need for the changes and educate our politicians as well.  And make it a platform of the coming election, if need be.  It is not a small matter that two Supremes will most likely resign during the next presidential term.  WE DO NOT WANT RANDIAN REPLACEMENTS.

I think that the Supreme Court needs to be a major campaign issue.  The reform and replacement of the Supreme Court needs to be a major slogan in the coming election.

We must not be afraid to look at the big picture of true democracy and work towards it.

Poll

Do you believe that the Supreme Court needs to be made more accountable and/or reformed?

70%59 votes
13%11 votes
1%1 votes
3%3 votes
9%8 votes
2%2 votes

| 84 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  FDR tried that, and got walloped. n/t (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, carver, phonegery, Calamity Jean, FG

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 10:24:58 AM PDT

    •  so? (8+ / 0-)

      all that means is that we find a way to start preparing to do it.

      I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

      by SeaTurtle on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 10:38:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's true. However, ... (17+ / 0-)

      ...the threat turned the court to a more accommodating attitude toward FDR's programs.  Further there is nothing to prevent congress from changing the number of justices.
      The numerical makeup is within the purview of Congress to set, a power they have used 6 times in our nation's history.
      In 1789 when the Court was established the number was set at 6 ( 1 Chief Justice and 5 Associates). In 1807 that was changed to 7. In 1837 it was increased to 9 and in 1863 to 10.
      In 1866 Congress passed a law that instituted a moratorium on new appointments until attrition brought the number down to 7. This was a purely political move to prevent Andrew Johnson, the first POTUS to be impeached (but not convicted), from making any appointments to the Court.
      In 1869, during U.S. Grant's administration, attrition dropped the number to 7 and Congress increased the number to 9, where it remains. So, to state the obvious, Congress can change the number of Justices as they see fit.
       

      "if you don't make peaceful revolution possible, you make violent revolution inevitable." ….JFK. .......{- 8.25 / -5.64}

      by carver on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:09:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And it's a shame that FDR got walloped. (8+ / 0-)
      Less than three years after President Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted the New Deal, the sweeping economic programs designed to help the United States recover from the Great Depression, the Supreme Court began overturning key aspects of Roosevelt's legislation.
      "When the first New Deal case reached the Supreme Court in January 1935, the court struck down a key piece of the National Recovery Administration
      ,
      "And
      from that point on, for the next year and a half, the court essentially struck down all of the central pillars of the New Deal. ...
      By the end of the term that ended in 1936, one columnist said that it reminded him of a Shakespeare tragedy: At the end of the play, the stage is strewn with dead bodies. Those dead bodies were the New Deal programs."
      The Supreme Court needs to be overhauled, desperately.
      Look at what happened to FDR's  New Deal.  

      Democrats - We represent America!

      by phonegery on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:29:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, he threatened to try that and the Supremes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick, G2geek, kaliope

      stopped abusing their office.

      How did he "get walloped"?  They reversed course, not him.

      Thinking the "food stamp challenge" teaches you about being poor is like thinking a camping trip will give you insight into being homeless.

      by JesseCW on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 04:12:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reminds me of court packing with FDR but I (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SeaTurtle, randomfacts, KayCeSF, kaliope

    assume the additional justices would have to be added over several administrations to avoid court packing right?

    "But Brandine, you're supposed to be in Iraq stopping 911!"

    by leftyguitarist on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 10:26:36 AM PDT

  •  Sure If We Can Implement It In the 1980's and 90's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, kaliope

    so that Republicans would allow anyone left of Scalia to be approved.

    Doesn't matter whether it's 1 or 19 now, the right will only allow more of their own to be seated.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 10:31:07 AM PDT

  •  SeaTurtle - when would they be added? (7+ / 0-)

    Would a President Romney pick 10 new Justices?

    I don't like court packing proposals. What I do like is 18 year term limits structured so that a Justice retires every two years. I think there is bipartisan support for a Constitutional Amendment to make this change. Personally I would add in Senators and Representatives, 18 year term limits for all of them.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 10:35:56 AM PDT

    •  VClib, just fixed the link to his blog article (7+ / 0-)

      if you read it, he says:

      If Congress ordered the proposed expansion, we’d get to a bench of 19 gradually with no president allowed to appoint more than two new justices in a term. Once fully staffed, the Court would have a more regular turnover. This would allow a broader range of diversity on the Court and more consistent opportunity for each president to add members to the Court. It would also decrease the importance of the individual justices – potentially allowing nominees with a broader spectrum of experience and ideas in shaping doctrines on free speech, privacy, and other issues.

      I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

      by SeaTurtle on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 10:52:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  SeaTurtle - if you were going to add (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SeaTurtle, Smoh, jayden, kaliope

        I think that Turley's suggestion makes sense, to do it very gradually.

        One comment on retirements. I do not think that Justice Kennedy will retire if President Obama is re-elected. He would not want to see the Court's conservative majority flipped. I do think that Justice Ginsberg will retire if the President is re-elected. However, if Romney is elected I think Kennedy will retire and maybe Ginsberg will try and hang in there, health permitting.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:32:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  thanks, VClib. I think the T. ideas and yours re. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Smoh, kaliope

          term limits need to be discussed thoroughly.  We must get this discussion going, so that we can form solid goals.

          The only thing of which I have absolute certainty is that the Supreme Court desperately needs reform and that if we don't do it, our democracy will suffer badly.

          I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

          by SeaTurtle on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:37:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  SeaTurtle - there really is bipartisan support (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SeaTurtle, kaliope

            Even the infamous Mark Levin put the suggestion in one of his books, Men in Black.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:42:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  interesting, tx. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, kaliope

              I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

              by SeaTurtle on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:45:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Everyone is hoping (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, G2geek

              their side gets the advantage. If you have a president-vice president duo in power for 12 or 16 years, like Reagan-Bush, they could pack the court with a lopsided majority the other side might never overcome.

            •  Isn't there always bipartisan support (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              phonegery, G2geek

              in Congress to weaken the judiciary?

              What Turley proposes is not just a fix to the real problems of superannuation, but an affirmative weakening of the branch. I think we can agree that whatever is proposed will not affect the current Republican justices (short of the kind of rapid expansion that can't pass), so we're talking about the future of the Court. Why we would look at the rise of the Tea Party and the entire takeover of the other branches by money and say "let's weaken the only branch that has even a prayer of independence" escapes me.

              Surely, individual judges & justices can be corrupted, but on the whole their hands are much, much cleaner than those of the elected branches. As for term limits, I'm for rotation on the Court, but not the removal of life tenure for federal judges. It's bad enough we have so many leave the bench now for financial reasons. We don't need judges deciding a BP case now with an eye to their in-house counsel employment in two years' time. That's a recipe for more corruption, not less, IMO.

              •  VR - I agree (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                phonegery, Villanova Rhodes

                but I do like 18 year term limits, just for the SCOTUS.

                After that the Justices could still serve at the Appellate level if they wanted to or make serious money working part time at a DC law firm.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 12:41:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  VR, I certainly don't have your legal background, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                G2geek

                but there is one aspect that I don't hear you considering.  And as far as I am concerned it is a critical aspect now and in the future.

                The TEA Party already controls the Robert's bloc of the Supreme Court (Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas AND many of their direct family members,) because they are either directly or indirectly OPUS DEI.  OPUS DEI and the Tea Party are political bedfellows now.  There is no independence here.  The justices has been 'bought' by a fanatical religious doctrine that demands their obedience.  That is more powerful than bribes given to the Congress, imo.

                This religio/fascistic organization has now taken over the Vatican and is behind the current effort to roll back the Vat2 reforms on the rcxch.  However they are not stopping there; they want to impose their sharia laws on the rest of us.  It is breathtaking what is happening.  The importance of Opus Dei cannot be underestimated.  They have HUGE AND I MEAN HUGE amounts of money, and since they have the keys to the Vatican vault now, are in charge of another HUGE amount of money.  The rcxch has now made the accrual of money and power their god.  Opus Dei works much like "The Family" (of Jeff Sharlet credit,) to curry favor with the rich and powerful, basically buying the power of the influential.  And they have four justices of the Supreme Court and their families.  

                Our Supreme Court has been infiltrated by these extremists and they try to steer everything according to the corporate/religio way.  It has already been weakened.

                So, this threat makes change mandatory and as soon as possible.  And whatever changes are made need to insulate us from the easy takeover of extremist groups in the future.  This is not just an armchair legal argument where the refinements of opinion can be worked out.  As far as I am concerned there is a real coup going on.

                I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

                by SeaTurtle on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 01:03:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I appreciate your passion, but here's where we (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  VClib

                  part company. (Sorry I missed this comment earlier.) Although I don't discount the importance of Opus Dei or other religious right groups such as The Family to U.S. society and politics, and think Frank C does a wonderful job of tracking it, I do not share either your facts or your conclusions about the current Court. To my ears, it is black helicopter stuff.

                  To paraphrase the football coach, when it comes to the conservatives on the Court, "They are who we thought they were." Armando makes a good case today for the fact that Roberts misrepresented himself in his hearings, but Armando wasn't fooled and I don't think most people truly were. Scalia, Thomas, and Alito have performed exactly as expected in protecting corporate interests. We need not imagine orders from the Vatican to explain their decisions -- their often expressed philosophies do quite well.

                  It's been a while since I checked, but as far as I know, we have little or no evidence of an Opus Dei connection to any justice other than Scalia and Thomas, and in both cases, I think, those affiliations followed their court appointments -- they did not precede them. That is consistent with Opus Dei reaching out to the well connected and powerful -- something worth watching -- but it is not consistent with "infiltration." It's certainly not something that can be prevented by changing the size of the Court, if they're as powerful as you believe.

                  The notion that religious influences are more important than business interests, or that the Pope's desires outweigh those of the Koch brothers, is not one I share. I respect your view, but it leads me to the same question as earlier: what statute or amendment will you write to impose a religious test where such a test is not at present constitutional?

                  •  read _The Family_ by Jeff Sharlet. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SeaTurtle

                    Or right now, go to http://www.talk2action.org

                    The plutocracy works hand-in-hand with the religious right.  Both are equally important: one seeks to control the economy, the other seeks to control the culture, and they collaborate to get a government that will serve them both.  

                    Karl Rove is a self-proclaimed atheist but he's so deeply in bed with the religious right that he should be checked for STDs.  The Koch Bros are religious right and plutocrats.  Many others where those came from.  

                    And what's up with the Supreme Court is just another example of that:  Opus Dei is the Catholic "brand" of religious right, so if you have Justices (or Congressmembers or Senators) who are Catholic, it's Opus Dei that will seek to influence them.  If they're Protestant, then The Family or NAR will try to reach them.  If they're Jewish there is probably a Jewish version of the religious right to reach out to them.  And if they're Muslim... well, the Taliban are on the outs right now, but the Saudi princes will do in a pinch.  And when you look at their platforms, all of these branches of the religious right agree on basically everything.

                    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                    by G2geek on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 06:07:37 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I have read The Family. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      VClib

                      I read talk2action, though not religiously. I have read a good bit of John Allen's book on Opus Dei. I have followed Rachel Maddow's excellent coverage, and do not dismiss the overall problem. But we are talking about a specific proposal to fundamentally change the nature of the Supreme Court (at least), if not the entire third branch, leaving the other institutions -- all of which I argue are more susceptible to both cultural and economic pressures -- essentially untouched.

                      So, I'll put the drafting problem to you: Given that you think all justices who belong to a religion are equally susceptible to being controlled by their denomination's pressure group, draft the legislation that restricts Supreme Court appointments to atheists.

                      Identifying the problem as "justices who profess a faith" -- even if it were accurate -- is a complete non-starter politically. (For anyone who drops by at this point, it may be well to point out that Turley does no such thing, at least in the WaPo version of his piece. Still haven't read the longer version.) And, since by your hypothesis all persons of faith are equally susceptible, increasing the size and diversity of the court would not solve the purported problem.

                      •  even simpler: (0+ / 0-)

                        There's no need to make a law.  

                        In his next term, Obama can nominate a known atheist to the Court, for the sake of diversity.

                        Nobody claimed that Clarence Thomas was an "affirmative action" nominee, and if anyone wants to claim that about an atheist, we can rub their noses in the Thomas nomination.

                        And then for his next one after that, he can nominate a Buddhist or Hindu.  Or a scientist or mathematician or engineer.  I can think of a couple of physicists who would make great Supreme Court Justices.  What they lack in legal training they make up for with the ability to do the relevant research for every case, and subject it to the same rigorous analysis as they used when they were writing physics papers.  

                         

                        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                        by G2geek on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 01:13:05 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  VR, if John Allen is your source (0+ / 0-)

                        of information re. Opus Dei or anything, you need to do more research because you are unwittingly being fed the Vatican propaganda.  And check the reliability of your sources if you are going to base your judgements on the facts that they purvey.

                        John L. Allen, Jr is a Vatican apologist.  Which means he is given access to the story that the Vatican wanted to promote.  He was hired by the Vatican to respond to Dan Brown's movies which cast Opus Dei in a bad light.  Based on this 'privileged' access he 'enjoyed' he wrote the Vatican propaganda piece which you read parts of, called Opus Dei

                        Look at the rest of his books - the top of the list is a glorification of Timothy Dolan; are you kidding me?  All apologetics for the current Vatican and its attempt to revoke Vatican 2:
                        John L. Allen, Jrs' Amazon page

                        You are missing the forest for the trees.  You set up legal questions, which no doubt are important, but you dismiss other factors which are very directly involved.  And you known, to quote Einstein:  "He who denies part of reality, denies all of reality."

                        You so miss the point of the impact of the neo/theo power bloc with your statement:

                        Identifying the problem as "justices who profess a faith" -- even if it were accurate -- is a complete non-starter politically. (For anyone who drops by at this point, it may be well to point out that Turley does no such thing, at least in the WaPo version of his piece. Still haven't read the longer version.) And, since by your hypothesis all persons of faith are equally susceptible, increasing the size and diversity of the court would not solve the purported problem.
                        You dismiss it as
                        "Justices who profess a faith" ?????
                         

                        Really????

                        If you think that the only issue involved in Opus Dei's influence is 'professing a faith' you have missed the boat, regardless of what you may or may not have picked up with Sharlet's work.  It is not sufficient to read this stuff, it is important to understand how this works in real life.

                        You are talking authoritatively about a subject about which obviously you do not have a clue.  If all you have done in your research is read John Allen and some blogs, you are hardly well informed.  There are people who have devoted decades of their lives to this topic and have well researched and documented the plot by OPUS DEI that you 'authoritatively' just dismiss without the facts.  

                        That is not logical.

                        I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

                        by SeaTurtle on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 07:27:01 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You seem to misunderstand. (0+ / 0-)

                          I am well aware of the pros and cons of John Allen's reporting, as I am well aware of Sharlet. As a lawyer, I am accustomed to acknowledging that there are different and sometimes opposing viewpoints. I even seek them out, not limiting myself to materials that confirm my own biases. Occupational trait. I was responding to G2geek's "Read these" with "I have, and more." It was not an exhaustive list of my sources. Your leap to that conclusion is, frankly, bizarre.

                          The premise for the diary was Turley's suggested expansion of the Court, so it appeared you were aiming to dilute the Catholic vote by enlarging the Court -- not exactly a foolproof plan if G2geek (to whom my comment was directed) is right. He appears to believe that Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims, at least, will violate their oaths in favor of the preferences of their various pressure groups (or maybe only if they're also Republican). I understand that your particular concern centers on Catholics, but his does not.

                          Of course, G2g is right that a president can simply appoint only atheists or those in the faiths he seems to think are impervious to pressure. And we are all free to lobby our presidents and candidates to do so, for all the good that would do. But you seem to want much more of a guarantee that the Pope isn't controlling the American judiciary.

                          Your fear of Opus Dei leads you to want to DO SOMETHING about the Supreme Court. Yet you still have not articulated what you would do to impose your own religious test -- either legally or practically as a political matter -- in light of this language from article VI:

                          but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
                          Unless you can come up with a plan -- even if you don't have the chops to draft a bill -- you're just doing the Chicken Little thing.

                          And the reason that I'm not spending my time trying to do it for you is, again, that we do not share the same view of the facts or the conclusions that flow from them.

                          •  You just don't get it. (0+ / 0-)

                            You say:

                            The premise for the diary was Turley's suggested expansion of the Court, so it appeared you were aiming to dilute the Catholic vote by enlarging the Court

                            If You think that what I said about Opus Dei in the diary was an effort to 'dilute the Catholic vote,  you miss the point entirely about the nature and role of Opus Dei by just describing it as the 'Catholic vote.'

                            If you say:

                            But you seem to want much more of a guarantee that the Pope isn't controlling the American judiciary.
                            that demonstrates without a doubt that you actually know very, very little re. Opus Dei.

                            If you think that my desire to reform the Supreme Court is mainly driven by my

                            fear of Opus Dei leads you to want to DO SOMETHING about the Supreme Court.
                            you have not understood what I am saying at all in this diary.

                            And then you have the nerve to say,

                            Unless you can come up with a plan -- even if you don't have the chops to draft a bill -- you're just doing the Chicken Little thing.
                            .....

                            Is that the best you can do with a response: belittle me, saying "I don't have the chops.." saying that "you're doing the Chicken Little thing"?  Saying "you won't do it for me"  Your responses are arrogant and ultimately, ignorant.

                            You say:

                            "Unless I can come up with a Plan
                            "?  says who?  Says you?  And so, who says I have to follow your limited logic?  Am I not allowed, in your worldview, to speak up without a plan?  Does that mean that something cannot be exposed as being wrong without at the same time revealing a plan to fix it?  Does everyone have to play by your rules?  I don't think so!  Ridiculous! Must be nice to know everything and not to have to learn anything new.  Must be nice to be able to skim books and understand the subject thoroughly!  Thank God I don't have to live in your very limited world and follow your very, very controlling worldview.  You do that.  Enjoy.

                            You speak very authoritatively re. Opus Dei but have clearly demonstrated that you are not even aware of basic facts about them and yet you are clearly not even aware of how much you don't know about them.   I hope you have a better grasp of the law than your knowledge about Opus Dei, as you claim to be a lawyer.

                            I find your whole manner arrogant and off putting.

                            That is all I will have to say to you.

                            I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

                            by SeaTurtle on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 05:14:14 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  "You speak very authoritatively re. Opus Dei" (0+ / 0-)

                            What??? Here is the sum total of statements I made about Opus Dei, other than acknowledging sources reporting on it:

                            I don't discount the importance of Opus Dei
                            and
                            as far as I know, we have little or no evidence of an Opus Dei connection to any justice other than Scalia and Thomas, and in both cases, I think, those affiliations followed their court appointments -- they did not precede them. That is consistent with Opus Dei reaching out to the well connected and powerful -- something worth watching -- but it is not consistent with "infiltration."
                            I also pointed out that your link in this statement does not support your claim:
                            Professor Turley hits the nail on the head saying that "no more than five individuals are likely to decide a question for the country", ... The fact that those justices are ... all direct or associate members of the 'shariah-like'  
                            Opus Dei branch of Catholicism, should give us all pause about how an extremist majority is trying to dictate to the rest of us.
                            I said so then circumspectly, I say so now directly: Unless you have evidence -- not speculation -- about any justice other than Scalia and Thomas, you are perpetrating a falsehood.

                            You wrote a diary that was supposedly about the size of the Supreme Court, about which I commented. Apparently, you know little about the Court but found this a great opportunity to slip in your own paranoid bigotry and try to tie it to Turley. You should be ashamed. (And shame on me for not recognizing your handle from the anti-Catholic sludge of other diaries and comments. I never would have bothered to comment had I recognized you or understood your real agenda.)

                            And as for "arrogant and off putting" -- coming from the source of these courteous discussion points:

                            you need to do more research
                            you are unwittingly being fed the Vatican propaganda.  
                            check the reliability of your sources
                            You are missing the forest for the trees.
                            You so miss the point
                            you have missed the boat,
                            It is not sufficient to read this stuff, it is important to understand how this works in real life.
                            obviously you do not have a clue.
                            you are hardly well informed.  
                            well, that's just freakin' hilarious.
    •  But this isn't "Packing" it's expansion. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SeaTurtle

      FDR wanted it so he could put like-minded judges on. I don't think this is the proposal.


      The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

      by Jim P on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 10:57:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's exactly as I read Turley, Jim P (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KayCeSF, phonegery, George Hier, G2geek

        he argues that in addition to expanding the variety of opinions on the court, it would also diminish the importance of each justice.  Right now I think of them as Potentates.  Unelected Potentates who with a whim of their pen can literally sentence people to death, at least as far as ACA is concerned.

        I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

        by SeaTurtle on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:05:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Vclib, I like your idea of term limits (5+ / 0-)

      if you read Turley's article, it is not about 'court packing' but more about diffusing undue influence and expanding the viewpoints represented by the courts.  He also suggests that the justices regularly serve on lower courts to get them out of their Olympian environment.

      I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

      by SeaTurtle on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 10:59:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Senators and Representatives have term limits (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek

      already.  They're called elections.

      I roughly agree with you about Supreme Court Justices, but I lean toward simply making it a 20 year term.

      Thinking the "food stamp challenge" teaches you about being poor is like thinking a camping trip will give you insight into being homeless.

      by JesseCW on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 04:15:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Jesse - I know term limits are popular here (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SeaTurtle, JesseCW

        but I have always been a fan of long term limits. Three terms in the Senate and 18 years in the House is long enough for someone to leave a legacy.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 07:20:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  as long as we at the same close the revolving door (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          to big money once they get out.

          I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

          by SeaTurtle on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 07:27:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't care about legacies - I've seen what (0+ / 0-)

          term limits have done to my state.

          I understand the appeal of the idea.  I voted for those term limits.  I was wrong.

          They wind up spending their whole first term figuring out how the place works and their whole last term feathering a nest to land in once they're out of office.

          Thinking the "food stamp challenge" teaches you about being poor is like thinking a camping trip will give you insight into being homeless.

          by JesseCW on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 03:05:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for posting this. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SeaTurtle, phonegery, reflectionsv37

    I was reading Turley's OpEd yesterday, and found it a compelling argument for why we need more on the bench.  

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:07:38 AM PDT

    •  thanks KayCeSF, I read it yesterday as well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery, KayCeSF

      and wasn't going to post it bec. I have a lot of work to do today, that is still sitting undone and bec. Sunday traffic is slow, but I rethought it.   I realized that I thought his points were so important that even if a few read about it here, it will 'go on record' so to speak.

      Forget posting anything next week, if the ACA comes down.

      Thanks.

      I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

      by SeaTurtle on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:13:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just hope Mr. President read it, too. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OleHippieChick

        A little nudge, maybe?  He has enough on his plate right now, but "I'm just saying"....

        I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

        by KayCeSF on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 01:33:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In 20 years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    T Maysle

    After 20 years, we will get to a state where there are 10 right leaning and 9 left leaning SC Judges. And there is a very important case being deliberated by the SC. Then someone will propose 29 judges of the SC.

    •  anything is possible.... however (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery, wsexson

      by increasing the SC, Turley is saying that the importance of each judge would be diminished and that the vetting process wouldn't be so arduous, so that we would be able to get people with an actual history of legal work.

      Both the recent polls and proposed reforms reflect a common concern that nine people should not yield such concentrated and stagnated power. Moreover, even if we were to accept an elite court of just nine, these would not be the nine that most legal experts would choose. While clearly intelligent people, most justices are selected for their confirmability — a process that tends to favor formula nominees with a narrow range of experience and a short paper trail. ..... While clearly intelligent people, few of the current justices were viewed as intellectual leaders or even top standouts in their field before their nominations. Bypassing clear leaders in courts, bar and academia, modern nominees are selected as a type of judicial blind date. The chances that we could have a Louis Brandeis or Joseph Story on the Court in the current system are at best accidental.

      I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

      by SeaTurtle on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:22:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The best thing that will come from the SCOTUS' (3+ / 0-)

    striking down the ACA will be the continued erosion of respect for the institution of the Supreme Court. The radical right-wing forces that have captured a majority of the Supreme Court have destroyed any credibility that it had left even a decade ago following its laughably partisan Bush v. Gore decision. Once that little remaining credibility disappears and the Court retains zero moral authority, perhaps the ridiculous deference paid to this purely partisan institution will disappear and we can start treating it like it should always have been treated - as just another political branch of our government, with the individual members worthy of as little respect as most of us give a random wingnut Congressman or Senator.

    Fuck the Supreme Court. And fuck Antonin Scalia, who is, without question, the biggest hack and charlatan to ever sit on the corrupt Supreme Court bench. We must re-elect Obama and then hope and pray he decides to hang it up during the next four years, though I have a feeling the right-wingers in Congress would drag out confirmation hearings for years and filibuster any replacement. I know it may come off as conspiratorial, but the possibility of Obama being able to appoint a replacement for one of the five right-wing hacks on the Court is why I am convinced the moneyed interests of our nation will not allow an Obama victory this year. They will do literally anything to prevent that possibility. Anything.

  •  Turley really phoned it in on that one. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, pico, valion, FG

    It appears to me he wanted to sling out all the problems that we already know about and was desperate to propose a solution other than the one that's been carefully thought out by experts and floating in the academic literature and some press for years now. (Roughly, that set out by VClib, but a version that would not require a constitutional amendment.)

    Turley couldn't even get the basic facts right about the current courts of appeals, let alone spend a nanosecond considering the different roles played by our SCt and the large foreign courts he mentions. It's a crap sandwich with some 12th grade government info as the bread, thrown in to look like he researched this. He didn't. Turley knows something about con law, but his knowledge of judicial administration and structure is, if this is evidence, nonexistent.

    The number 19 is pulled out of ... where? Of course, he says, that's "roughly the average size of a circuit court." Wait, what?? He's not even close on that. The average size of a court of appeals is around 12 or 13, depending on what courts you count (there are some oddities), and the median is 12. (Ask most circuit judges outside the 9th, and you'll hear that the difference between a 12-judge court and a 19-judge one is astronomical.) No need to belabor the details -- the point is he just made this stuff up.

    And this:

    The court remained at nine members despite the fact that some federal courts of appeal [sic] now have as many as 29 judges.
    No. Some don't. One does, and virtually no one is happy with that but so far, all the solutions are either worse than the problem or can't pass Congress.

    Moreover, the relationship between Supreme Court size and the size of the courts of appeals is ... what? Unless you're going to argue that the Supreme Court should sit in panels -- a sea change in approach -- then increasing SCt size to deal with caseload volume (which drives the size of most courts of appeals) is, how shall I put this? ... idiotic. One complaint now is that the Court does not take enough cases. Do you think it would take more cases if it had to hash everything out with 19 justices instead of 9? Why? Or that direction to lower courts would be clearer from a court that could produce 19 separate opinions?

    The courts of appeals very rarely sit en banc (as a % of their work, at any rate). The 29-judge court has never done so at all, and chose 11 as its "limited en banc" size -- the number they found manageable and, when it began, around half of the full court. No one but Turley thinks having 19 judges deliberating on the same case makes a damn bit of sense.

    I could go on, but what's the point? There are problems with the Court, but this does not advance the ball at all.

    •  what reforms would you suggest? (0+ / 0-)

      I gather you are in the legal field?

      I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

      by SeaTurtle on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:34:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am, but was not involved in drafting this: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pico, OleHippieChick

        A new Section 1, Title 28:

        (a)  The Supreme Court shall be a Court of nine Justices, one of whom shall be appointed as Chief Justice, and any six of whom shall constitute a quorum.

        (b) One Justice or Chief Justice, and only one, shall be appointed during the first session of Congress after each federal election, unless during that Congress one or more appointments are required by Subsection (c). Each appointment shall become effective on August 1 of the year following the election. If an appointment under this Subsection results in the availability of more than nine Justices, the nine who are junior in commission shall sit regularly on the Court. Justices who are not among the nine junior in commission shall serve as Senior Justices to sit on the Court when needed to assure a full bench, participate in the Court's authority to adopt procedural rules, and perform other judicial duties in their respective circuits or as otherwise designated by the Chief Justice.

        (c)  If a vacancy occurs among the nine sitting Justices because of retirement, death or removal a new Justice or Chief Justice shall be appointed and considered as the Justice required to be appointed during that Congress, if that appointment has not already been made. If more than one such vacancy arises, any additional appointment will be considered as the Justice required to be appointed during the next Congress for which no appointment has yet been made.

        (d) If recusal or temporary disability prevents a sitting Justice from participating in a case being heard on the merits, the Chief Justice shall recall Senior Justices in reverse order of seniority to provide a nine-member Court in any such case.

        (e) Justices sitting on the Court at the time of this enactment shall be permitted to sit regularly on the Court until their retirement, death, removal or voluntary acceptance of status as a Senior Justice.  No appointments shall be made under subsection (b) before the Congress that begins after the last of the current Justices so leaves the Court.

        It's been published in different forms and places, but here's one link: Carrington

        This stuff is harder than you might think, and not susceptible to mob rallies to get it done properly. Sweeping once-in-two-generations judiciary bills can be precipitated by outrage, but they shouldn't be crafted in such circumstances.

        While I'm not entirely thrilled with the above proposal, it is the best I've seen in any detail. My own recommendation is to (a) do whatever it takes to get a filibuster-proof majority of real Democrats in the Senate, and (b) start electing Democratic presidents who place the same priority on appointing liberal judges & justices that the Republicans do for their kind. We haven't had the latter since Carter, and one term isn't enough to get the job done.

        •  thank you for your input, VR, & the useful links (0+ / 0-)

          I don't think anyone would disagree with you re. getting real Dems in the Congress.

          However,

          This stuff is harder than you might think, and not susceptible to mob rallies to get it done properly.
          I bristle at the use of the word 'mob'.  If I remember my history, many many sweeping changes have been brought about because the 'mob' got sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Sometimes to the sick and hungry masses, getting something done, is done properly.  

          Today with the propaganda outlets serving as news sources, we have to counter with our own education program.  So, I think that the 'hoi poloi' has alot to offer.  This is a new world with the communications media and internet; new rules and open to new forms of activism.  Of course this has to be done properly.  

          But the point is, that it has to be done.

          And all I am suggesting is that this issue or reform of the Supremes be taken seriously and then a serious study be done.

          I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

          by SeaTurtle on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 12:10:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  As evidenced by the Carrington et al. report, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pico, valion, FG

            serious study has been done. Maybe Turley's just peeved that he wasn't part of the study group.

            Mobs are fine for expressing anger, but try to get an Occupy GA to produce the draft bill above. Mic check, indeed. This is hard stuff.

            One example: You are angry because you think there are too many Catholics on the Court. (Your link does not support your claim that the 5 Republican ones are associated with Opus Dei, by the way, but that's not my main point here.) You can create anti-papist signs to carry at a demonstration, and gin up anti-Catholic sentiments as people do here all the time, but try crafting a bill that would prevent the Senate from confirming Catholic justices, or to prevent justices to converting to Catholicism (as Thomas re-converted) after joining the Court.

            Presumably you know you can't do that constitutionally, so make it easier on yourself and draft the testimony to support an expansion bill to accomplish the same ends. Spell out the diversity argument to Congress: "I want to be sure there is never a Catholic majority on the Court, and here's why." Or, "Catholics like Sotomayor are OK, but Republican Catholics are ineligible." The next paragraph should probably explain why a Protestant majority -- the case for most of our history -- was just ducky. Also, you'll need to take a position on how many Jewish justices would be too many. There are 3 now. You think there aren't 2 more in the pipeline somewhere? Uh-oh.

            I'm taking this to extremes to demonstrate that it is not enough to say you're mad at the Court. Never mind FDR, "Impeach Earl Warren" isn't ancient history. All of these arguments have been or could have been made before, and the cure is usually worse than the disease.

            Most of what people here are mad about is directly related to the content of decisions -- the worst possible argument for changing the Court's operation or structure. People can react to outcomes most effectively and appropriately by affecting their elected representatives (and I'm fine with mobs demonstrating to them, by the way, since they're supposed to be responsive to constituents).

            Relatively few of the Court's decisions -- though certainly some of the most important -- are declarations of constitutional law that it would be impossible for legislatures to get around. Legislatures re-write & amend all the time to dispense with the Court's objections. The same may be true of ACA, depending on the result (much harder for campaign finance decisions, I'm afraid). Too often, Congress takes the path of least resistance and says "let the courts sort this out" rather than resolve obvious holes in their work. I understand the attraction of that, but Congress shouldn't then blame the courts for coming to a conclusion they didn't want or intend. That's just asking for judges to use their political or philosophical beliefs to fill the gaps. Congress should do the political work itself.

            Don't mean to flog a dead horse, but unless "reformers" can think through the implications of their proposals and spell out the changes in legislative form, they just aren't likely to get the results they want. Expanding the Court and then experiencing a "permanent Republican majority" would hardly be an improvement.

            Anyway, thanks for pointing to the longer article. I had only read the Post piece and will go over the blog post later. For now, too nice a day to be inside. Cheers.

  •  a good idea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SeaTurtle, OleHippieChick

    but I think it doesn't address the real problem: the right wing has mastered the art of court-packing.

    They understand that they have to mount a systematic program to co-opt the judiciary: identifying promising young conservative lawyers very early on (when they're in law school), developing organizations to educate them about conservative legal doctrines and how to advance those doctrines from the bench, and then grooming them for advance to the federal judiciary: teaching them how to avoid leaving a paper trail and how to get through confirmation hearings. This program has been operating for the last forty years or so.

    John Roberts is the product of a process. They didn't just stumble upon him randomly: they scouted him very young, like they do for pro athletes, and then they trained him to do a job: advancing the agenda of the 1% through his rulings.

    Because he was a star performer, particularly smart and smooth, he got to be Chief Justice of the United States. Those of his peers who weren't quite as smart or smooth maybe got to be federal or state judges. But all of them are on the same team, reading from the same playbook, and working together towards the same purpose.

    There is no comparable systematic effort from the left. When they want to swing the courts their way, they tend to be improvised, spur-of-the moment, short-term affairs, like FDR's attempt to pack the court. It worked, but it cost him an enormous amount of political capital and killed any hope of further advancing the New Deal.

    To avoid such wasteful expenditures of political capital, the right wing has adopted a methodical, long-term strategy rather than relying on haphazard, spontaneous, short-term bursts of effort, which don't have as long-lasting an impact.

    Until the left adopts a more long-term approach, they'll be at a continuing disadvantage.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 02:19:23 PM PDT

    •  I couldn't agree with you more re. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick
      Until the left adopts a more long-term approach, they'll be at a continuing disadvantage.
      And I wholeheartedly agree that the Right grooms pols and judges, etc.  Our survival depends on us doing this.

      We will continue to be outplayed until we hunker down and get serious about the 'long game.'

      Thanks for your contribution.

      I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

      by SeaTurtle on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 02:47:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, it's just that Republicans have been in the (0+ / 0-)

      White House most of the time in the last 40 or so years. None of the Dem SC appointees voted with the Republicans in controversial decisions like Citizens United.

  •  'swhat i've been sayin'! if nothing else it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick

    shut scalia's big fat mouth!

    i'd LOVE it!

  •  Why should we be stuck at nine? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SeaTurtle

    We've grown. There are 11 numbered circuits and 13 courts of appeal. Why not 11 or 13 SCOTI?

    rMoney: Just another jerk, lookin' for work.

    Where have you gone, 50-state strategy?
    Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

    by OleHippieChick on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 05:06:41 PM PDT

    •  good point, could be tied to the census? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick

      I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

      by SeaTurtle on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 07:29:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's nothing sacred about 9, but (0+ / 0-)

      there's also no reason to connect the size of the Court to the number of circuits. That only made sense when the justices "rode circuit" -- a practice long gone.

      It's not "nuts" per se, but the question is: what problem would it solve to expand to 11 or 13, and does the value of the solution outweigh the many new problems it would create? And, since rotation & refreshment of the members of the court could be accomplished by less damaging means, what is the argument for choosing the expansion option?

      Population growth is relevant to the number of judges needed for the lower courts, but not the Supreme Court, because of their different functions and manner of operation. At most, population growth could justify a new layer of appellate courts or substantial redrawing of circuit lines, both heavy lifts in Congress.

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