Friday, September 18, 2020

A cheer for Ginsburg, and a wish that she retired in 2013

If I thought there were a chance that a relative or friend of RBG would read this, then I'd stop that headline with simply a cheer for her and all the amazing things she's done. I only wish she listened to the advice of many people more prominent than me to retire in 2013. Same for Breyer, and he'll get the chance to fix it next year if the Democrats take the Senate and if a 6-3 Republican Supreme Court doesn't steal the presidency.

As I said in the 2013 post below, it's another excellent reason to have term limits at the Supreme Court. Not only would the Court better reflect the popular vote, limits would mean justices would likely fill regular terms of office and leave in a reasonably orderly fashion. And it's one of the tiny number of reforms that still have bipartisan support.

One more thing: it's not court-packing if you're fixing a stolen seat. Republicans stole Garland's seat, resulting in a two-vote switch. Adding two seats is fixing what Republicans stole, and still leaves Roberts as the decision-maker. Democrats should add two seats to the Court if they win in November.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thanks, Ginsburg, and now please retire. Also, Anthony Kennedy's mixed legacy.

Glad that we got some good court rulings out today on gay rights. Definitely good in a policy sense; I haven't made a deep dive to decide if I completely agree on the law. So thanks to Ginsburg for all her good votes, and as I said after the election, now is the time for the 80-year old, two-time cancer survivor to step aside because it's the best chance in at least 4 years to get a decent nominee through the Senate.

End of Court term is a traditional time to announce resignation. If she waits until next year, it'll be campaign season with even fewer Republican senators willing to vote rationally. In Fall 2014, some 21 Democrats will be up for re-election as opposed to 14 Republicans in an off-year election that usually disfavors the president's party, so the Senate make-up is very likely to get worse. Hopefully the make-up will improve after November 2016 when the ratio for that election is reversed, but whether it will meet or beat what we've got today is unclear (not to mention we don't know who'll be President).

Regardless of whether even a healthy 80-year old has good odds of being to work another 4 years, I can guarantee that a 50-something replacement has better odds, as well as lasting through the contingency of four or more years of a Republican presidency. She should quit.

Hopefully I'll soon look like an idiot for my next statement:  she won't do it. Judges have truly impressive sense of their own importance, and I doubt the Supreme Court reduces that sense.

In my "also" about Kennedy, I think the last two days' ruling against voter rights and for gay rights are a decent example of the mixed legacy I've seen since 2005. While he's responsible for many awful decisions, he also supported human rights on some occasions that came at a personal cost during the Bush administration, losing the chance to be Chief Justice.

Still, if you assume he's acting with a legacy motivation (possibly a motivation for Obama on climate too), then I think he personally comes out better this way. He'll be remembered for making the right decision on social values at a minor personal cost, as opposed to being the Chief Justice who made terrible decisions. Think about that, John Roberts.

UPDATE:  yep, Ginsburg refuses to retire. More proof that the Supreme Court and possibly the appellate courts need term limits.


Barton Paul Levenson said...

And dear God, I sure hope the Democrats win in November. This is America's Germany-in-1933 moment. If we don't defeat Trump now, we will be stuck with a permanent one-party, fascist dictatorship in the US. Only there won't be the prospect of a world war for us to be defeated in, so it will go on into the foreseeable future, or at least until global warming collapses civilization.

Tom said...

Be vewy, vewy, quiet. Don't say a word... Let them screw this up.

In addition to being untroubled by calls for consistent policy, Senate Republicans and Donald Trump have certainly taken an overdose of stupid pills–not for the first time, of course.

Imagine if Trump, Mitchell and Lindsey Graham were to announce: ‘In keeping with how we treated the nomination by Barack Obama of Merrick Garland, we will allow the next president to nominate the next Supreme Court Justice.’

What a motivator for the Trump base.

One marvels at the hypocrisy along with the stupidity.

David B. Benson said...

Brian, given the workload the Supreme Court needs expanding to 17 or even 19 justices in total.

This has the advantage that no one appointment affects the results that much.