“Offer Large Sums of Public Money”: Law Professor Calls for Congress to “Buyout” Conservative Justices

Critics of the Supreme Court have tried every means to change the balance or decisions of the Court from threats of impeachment to harassing justices at homes or restaurants.  Some of these reckless measures have been encouraged by law professors, including a Georgetown law professor who encouraged more “aggressive” measures targeting the justices.  Now, Seton Hall Law Assistant Dean Brian Sheppard has called for Congress to “buyout” justices by offering them “large sums of money.” If needed, he suggests that President Joe Biden could scrape up the dough to prompt justices to cash in and get out.

Dean Sheppard insists that offering large sums “could be effective without harming the integrity of the institution.” Many of us would beg to differ.

While Sheppard speaks to the benefit of encouraging general turnover on the Court, he also notes that “the most pronounced turn in favorability coincided with the recent shift to a 6-3 split in favor of Republican-appointed justices.”

In fairness to Sheppard, most of his column uses buyouts to discourage justices from staying on the Court until a president with shared values is available to appoint his or her successor. He notes: “But Supreme Court justices are human, and humans care about more than just politics. They care about money, too.”

It turns out that the majority of justices who would be offered the windfall payments would be republican appointees. (Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan). That would allow President Biden to appoint an instant five justice majority as well as the Chief Justice.

While Sheppard acknowledges that some will object that “To the many people who are angry at the Court, buyouts might seem like rewards for bad behavior.” However, he says it is easier than packing the Court or changing it through a constitutional amendment.

So here is the offer from the Luca Brasi school of judicial integrity:

“Congress should offer substantial buyouts to any Supreme Court justices who retire when they reach 10 years of service on the High Court. The five justices who have already exceeded that number should be eligible for the payment if they retire within one year. To overcome the considerable allure of ideological power, the sum should be in the millions.”

It only gets worse, however. Dean Sheppard suggests that “If Congress cannot be persuaded to pass a buyout plan, then President Biden might be able to gather sufficient discretionary funds for that purpose with money under his control.”

So we would have President Joe Biden offering millions to conservative justices to leave the Court — and change the philosophical makeup to be more favorable to the Democrats.

Dean Sheppard dismisses any concerns over creating a seats-for-cash deal. Not only is this proposal treated as harmless, but he suggests that those who decline are only showing their untoward or nefarious motives: “A justice’s refusal will provide useful information to the public, making it easier to assess the degree to which they are beholden to the power of the office and, in turn, to the political commandment.”

It could also be due to the fact that Sheppard’s proposal would be viewed as highly offensive and dangerous to many jurists and lawyers. Article III bestows lifetime tenure to prevent justices from being pressured or manipulated by political figures.

He admits that “[o]ffering large sums of public money to the powerful is not an ideal solution.” However, he cites the failure of Congress to change the Court’s composition as necessitating such action and “the legislative impasse . . . forces us to consider second-best measures. The Supreme Court might not deserve a carrot, but a big one can get it to move when the stick is broken.”

Here is an alternative idea. Why not put away both the stick and the carrot and allow the Court to function as originally designed? It is at least a thought.

In Federalist 78, Alexander Hamilton explained that lifetime tenure was to insulate the court from manipulation or influence:

“In a monarchy it is an excellent barrier to the despotism of the prince; in a republic it is a no less excellent barrier to the encroachments and oppressions of the representative body. And it is the best expedient which can be devised in any government, to secure a steady, upright, and impartial administration of the laws.”

The idea of seats-for-cash only seemed to arise when the Court’s balance shifted to a stable conservative majority and, as Dean Sheppard noted, legislative solutions could not be found to changing the Court. The Court does not need either a carrot or a stick. It requires a respect for the institution as a whole regardless of whether it is yields to the views of Congress or the public. The seats-for-cash offer is as insulting as it is dangerous for the Court.


68 thoughts on ““Offer Large Sums of Public Money”: Law Professor Calls for Congress to “Buyout” Conservative Justices”

  1. By huge margin Bernie Sanders was the front runner in the ’16 primaries. Then TPTB that run the world, the bankers and MIC, realized the extreme financial peril right around the corner. IMO BS would have handily beat Trump, followed by military cuts and very likely a complete elimination of all foreign military excursions. No way the MIC and chicken hawks could allow that! NO WAY, EVUH!

    So they corruptly took over the primaries, ran Bernie out of town and nominated the all-time most hated nominee HRC, hated even more than Trump at that time (prolly invert that now.)

    Are not die hard progressives pleased with the SCOTUS results of the actions of their DNC overlords? How does it feel, suckers?

  2. It’s plain to see that these law school faculty woke-hire leaches do not understand point one about our nation, our culture, or our constitution. Perhaps it’s time for conservatives to “buy out” our universities and rid them of these infestations of woke prog insanity.

  3. The current Supreme Court is a perfect example of Yanoodan’s Law: any weapon you create will be used by your enemies. Under Obama, the Democrats removed the requirement that federal judges receive sixty votes in the Senate, and used it to appoint a large number of leftist court judges. Then, when Republicans got control, they used the same procedural maneuver against the Dems, to appoint Supreme Court justices.

    You’d think Dems had learned not to create weapons for their enemies, but no. Now many Dems want to end the filibuster and stack the court, just months before the Republicans likely take over the Senate. In their own self-interest, they should be rolling back these changes and freezing them into constitutional amendments, taking these weapons away from their enemies before their enemies gain enough power to use them.

  4. Oh, how despondent grow the lefty progressives and scared Ds .. to offer taxpayer$’ money to “retire”‘ a Justice whose decisions aren’t liked by the FOOLS who propose or favor such an awful remedy in their Summer of Discontent.

    1. Please tell me Sheppard bought his college and law school diploma — as he is not intelligent enough to do the work.
      Actually, I have difficult time believing he has a high school diploma.

      1. Is he also a beneficiary of affirmative action, and several and wholly unconstitutional feminist-favorable law?

        Aren’t we, those of us with crutches, special on that “level” playing field?

        Level? God forbid.

        Breaking the “glass ceiling” is breaking and entering, right?

  5. Dean Sheppard insists that offering large sums “could be effective without harming the integrity of the institution.”
    Many of us would beg to differ.

    Right you are professor Turley.

    Once again, just when I did not think it was possible for the leftist to come up with a more insane or even asinine idea, they prove me wrong.
    What are these people thinking?

  6. You’d have better luck offering the liberal supremes cash. None of them accomplished much or made a lot of money as lawyers.

    1. It sounds like the left wants the Chinese to buy out the Supreme Court. Is there any doubt that the left is anti-American and dangerous?

      When Hunter awakens from his last high, we might even see Biden and Hunter going to China.

  7. Why not? Ever since Democrats invented the bureaucratic welfare state a century ago, their underlying governing philosophy is to use government force to confiscate money from people who have it and give it to people who want it in exchange for their vote. They market the bribery as “compassion” but everyone understands it’s just a vote buying scheme – relying on the greed of voters for it to work.

    So now that there’s a conservative Supreme Court, why not extend the bribe/greed model to the Supreme Court? Agains, use government force to confiscate taxpayer money from taxpayers and use it to bribe justices to induce them to resign.

    At least the Democrats are consistent in their corruption schemes.

  8. Honestly!! What fresh hell is this??!
    Does the word “Law” in “Seton Hall Law” stand for “Losers always welcome”??

  9. I thought that Congress and the Presidency was already bought and paid for. Clinton Global Initiative sort of showed us that.
    Abe Fortas also showed us what could happen when tampering with the Supreme Court. I already wrote in the previous column that no one in DC is sane. Now we have proof of lack of sanity, combined with corruption, lack of morality. Should this not initiate a complaint to the Bar Association, or is it already bought and sold and corrupt.
    I have known some great attorneys in my life on hospital boards, malpractice actions, review committees of malpractice suits, murder trials, occupational lung disease suits (both pro and con). Even was able to admire a plaintiff’s attorney, who was suing me for a client, because of his incredible professional work and questioning that did his client proud but I had an even better attorney and the stronger position and he yielded gracefully but I appreciated his efforts. I saw these Men and Women on a frequent basis and it is often hard to compare them with some of the rants and rages coming from Law School Faculties. They really give working attorneys a bad name.

  10. A perfect example of the projectionism of the Left. Every time they say a conservative did something it shows that liberals/progressives/Dems already have done it or wish they had.

    Great example = the BS Collusion lie of the DNC and HRC campaigns. They claimed collusion because that’s how the Clinton and Biden families got rich. Obviously, Democrats and Liberals and progressives have taken payouts by the Soros crowd and even the average Dem/Lib would take payouts and probably already has.

    They claim fascism and then show their fascist approach to dealing with Covid, our energy sector.

    They claim insurrection because they supported insurrection for 20 months led by BLM and Antifa (a perfect name for projectionists)

    They are projecting what they do onto others. You can always count on that.

  11. These lawyers pushing for payoffs to judges are, in fact, if not in law, conspiring to bribe the Supreme Court of the U. S. This is the height of elitism that so many in the Legal trade disgust the normal folk. The mafia connection is apropos. You are honest and straightforward. I am at odds with you often but trust your integrity.

  12. Dean is typical of the Asssociate Professors, I wonder if he’s a graduate of Emil Faber’s college where the motto is “Knowledge Is Good”?

  13. At first I thought this must be a joke —
    but this person isn’t joking.
    Following up using his logic, let’s offer Joe Biden a huge payment, tax free cash, to resign from office, then let’s offer his Vice President the same —- and the same to Nancy Pelosi — now there’s a woman who would gladly accept a 9-figure payment of tax-free cash —

    And when you extrapolate this Seton Hall academic’s concept, it’s lunacy become more obvious —

    Then again, it wasn’t a week ago I myself wrote in this Turley blog that we might oughta consider selling Oregon and California to the highest non-hostile bidder — call me crazy, but in an era in which Putin’s people are considering demanding the return of Alaska 155 years after they sold it to us…..is anything off limits anymore?

  14. I believe Kavanaugh has never answered questions as to who paid off his almost $300,000 in credit card debt after his nomination to the court. He says he paid for National’s season tickets for his friends and they paid him back. Does that pass the smell test? He bought a mansion requiring a $245,000 down payment at a time he reported having $10,000 in cash. Maybe some justices weren’t paid to retire but for their ongoing votes? Then there’s some issues regarding Kennedy retiring and his son, the personal Deutsche Bank lender.

    Anyone married out there imagine saying this to your wife? “Honey, I’m going to run up our credit cards by a hundred thousand or so to by season tickets for me and the gang. They promise they’ll pay us back.”

  15. It seems the Constitution means little when you ‘want what you want’. The Wild West lives! Typical of our climate today — money will solve everything; morality and consequences ‘be damned’. Sad commentary and far worse for our country.

  16. No, that’s not oligarch-y at all. 🙄 They really do assume everyone is as corrupt and devoid of ethics as them, don’t they? Between stuff like this, the economy, the many levels of lockdown fallout, the temper tantrums the squad keep having unaware that they are the ones that make laws and that the court decision actually did precisely what they claim to be protesting for, David Hogg being escorted out of a grown up conversation, Pete bragging about gas prices that are still double what they were before Biden took office, the ‘hearings’ trying to prosecute Trump for having the name Trump, – I don’t know how it would be humanly possible for dems to be more of a farce at this point, but I’ll bet they find a way.

  17. Pack it, harass it, and buy it out. The Dems show a roaring contempt for the Constitution and the democratic process. Clearly their “diligence” on the Jan. 6th committee is an anomaly.

  18. Sheppard is just another Idiot educated far behind his intelligence.

  19. The unfortunate thing is there are many that will embrace this idea without considering the potential fallout (cue the trolls to prove me right….)

  20. Once you open the door to bribery, all sorts of evil becomes legitimized.

    Suggests that Mr. Sheppard is either venal or stupid.

    But then, he is a lefty, so I am being redundant.

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