If Trump Seeks A Legacy On the Court, He Should Change The Court Itself . . . Not Its Membership

Supreme CourtThe Los Angeles Times has published my column on reforming the Supreme Court.  If President Trump truly wants to leave a legacy on the Court, he should focus not on changing the membership but changing the institutional itself.


President Trump nominated Neil M. Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court justice Tuesday, and Senate Democrats are already lined up to oppose the nomination. Despite the super-heated political rhetoric, the nomination of another conservative jurist to replace Justice Antonin Scalia won’t move the court’s center of gravity. If Trump wants to have a lasting effect on the law, he should be working with the Republican Congress to make changes in — not on — the Supreme Court.

As an institution, the nation’s highest court is anachronistic, dysfunctional and long-overdue for an overhaul. Real change could be accomplished with just three basic reforms.

Those reforms would expand the size of the court, introduce cameras into the courtroom, and adopt a system of judicial ethics for its members.

For the rest of the column, click here 

58 thoughts on “If Trump Seeks A Legacy On the Court, He Should Change The Court Itself . . . Not Its Membership”

  1. Not to mention not ducking a great portion of their responsibilities. I’m referring to the judicial functioning but not in the judicial system Fourth Branch Rogue Government operations. SCOTUS supposed to be monitoring, guiding, and leading them same as appelate and circuit courts. Wouldn’t be hard to add SCOTUS level Administrators the rules for doing that are wide open. Seems like the court is ignoring responsibilities as much as the Congress and our past three or four or five Presidents.

  2. What about adding regional representation? Recently, we had 8 of 9 justices from the north east, and the 9th was from California. Seems like the Heartland should have some representation on a Court that at times gets a little activist

  3. Change for the sake of change doesn’t address a more critical problem, namely: how to achieve a more democratic resolution to important legal issues. 19 or 29 justices won’t make much differences as long as the Court is composed of justices whose worldview reflects the worldview of the upper income strata of Americans. A token or two or even three of liberal justices won’t be enough to decide cases that most Americans would applaud as being fair and will further strengthen our democracy, rather than merely reinforce the status quo. It’s time to have a progressive justice system in this country.

    1. I agree. Last night he was constantly interrupting a guest speaker who had some real important and relevant things to say.

  4. I like Mespo’s idea of having 2 SCOTUSs – make sense.

    However, off topic as usual – why doesn’t the public have the right to see the records of SCOTUS?

    “The decision whether to make these documents available is entirely at the discretion of the Justices and their heirs and executors. They can shred them; they can burn them; they can use them as placemats. Texts vanish; e-mails are deleted. The Court has no policies or guidelines for secretaries and clerks about what to keep and what to throw away. Some Justices have destroyed virtually their entire documentary trail; others have made a point of tossing their conference notes”

    “The Great Paper Caper” by Jill Lapore


  5. Congress should pass a resolution. The President will be told what not to do. 1. No more Harvard and/or Yalies until the number dwiddles down to one each. That could be many years. 2. Trial court experience. Jury trial experience on both civil and criminal cases. Minimum of 100 jury trials.
    3. Geographic diversity. No more DC Court of Appeals until it dwindles down to 1 on the bench. Not more than one from any state. We need midwest, West but not West Coast Californies and south.

  6. Certainly Professor Turley’s reputation and resume are stellar, but I’m troubled by this quote:
    “Although it seems counterintuitive, seats on the court come up so rarely now, and are so contentious, that presidents often pick nominees who are not particularly outstanding or distinctive in their field in order to make confirmation easier”.

    Not particularly outstanding or distinct in their field? Really?

    Harriet Miers was an outlier, right?
    Robert Bork seemed TOO qualified.

    Only 29 rejected since Washington right?

    We don’t need a Goldilocks with a J.D. to tickle our judicial prostate do we?

    Seems kinda elitist to me on JTs part.

  7. Those are some excellent ideas there, JT. But there’s a problem with even the first one, where you propose that the SCOTUS should have 19 justices, instead of just 9. While this is a wonderful idea if the objective is to help ensure justice for all so that more cases could be heard and no individual justice would wield so much power, you have to ask yourself the following question.

    If you were a member of the Establishment Elite, which you find would be easier to control to ensure that you get the outcomes that you want, 9 justices or 19?

    I rest my case.

    1. Does anyone here still believe that though the cost of enforcing Marijuana laws is exhorbitant, we should maintain the current Prohibition laws that result in the ruining of 750,000 people year in and year out?

      The special interest groups that benefit from these unjust laws will most likely prevail in confirming Mr. Gorsuch to the SC. He’s about as fair minded and progressive as the average General in China’s army.

      Preserving and protecting the interests of the Ruling class will be in good hands.

    2. JT is part of the Establishment Elite. You think he actually believes these ideas have a chance, during his lifetime, to become reality?

      Haha this guy is a joke.

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