End the duopoly

Fixed terms would reduce Supreme Court politics


This editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

The Supreme Court term that ended last month was a refreshing reproach to the perception that the justices are simply politicians in black robes.

True, there were several decision in which Republican appointees voted one way and Democratic appointees the other. But in some truly consequential cases — including a historic decision protecting gay and transgender workers against discrimination — liberal and conservative justices found common ground. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., an appointee of President George W. Bush, joined Democratic appointees in several rulings, including a decision striking down an anti-abortion law in Louisiana.

Unfortunately, it will take more than signs of consensus on the court to remove it as a subject of partisan debate, especially in a presidential election year.

Shortly after the term ended, 87-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom President Bill Clinton appointed, announced that she was being treated for a recurrence of cancer. Democrats immediately raised justifiable concerns that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would try to ram through a Trump appointee if Ginsburg died or retired this year. This is the same McConnell who blocked the Senate from considering President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in […]

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