THE BLOG

Run on the Supreme Court

07/02/2014 10:21 am ET | Updated Sep 01, 2014

Enjoying the Hobby Lobby result?

Is this where the country is right now?

Are Justices Scalia and Thomas in the mainstream?

How old are the members of the Supreme Court?

We can go through a litany of the off-the-wall decisions from Bush v Gore to Citizens United to this week's massacre of democracy. But to what end? We keep thinking we are helpless in the face of a system that is off the rails.

The Constitution says The Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment. That is the problem.

Problems without solutions is just whining. Solutions offered, even if not perfect, offer a framework for change.

The beauty of the Constitution is that we can amend it. How many times do people invoke 'The Framers' like they are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? The Framers left us the ability to change things if we veer too far off course.

Putting term limits on The Supreme Court as an amendment is not a new idea. How do we flesh it out?

There are 9 justices. Let's go with a single 18-year term. The president can keep appointing them. The Senate should keep approving them. Let's do this every odd year. The current 9 get grandfathered out. As a transition, the most senior member goes first. As they are transitioned out, the last two years they will serve as the Chief Justice. They have paid their dues for 16 years, let them run the show for their last two years.

After they serve, they may no longer act as a lawyer appearing in court or sit as a judge. They have had their influence on the system. No other lawyer should have to face a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in a trial. It gives the former justice's client too much of an advantage. No appeals court judge should be in a position to overturning the rulings a former Chief Justice.

The two-year cycle allows the pundit class to be fed with plenty of palace intrigue. Every four-year presidential term gets at least two appointees to the court. That will keep Fox and MSNBC at each other's jugular while waiting for congressional or presidential elections.

If a Justice retires, or passes on the president appoints and the Senate approves for the rest of the Justice's 18-year term.

To enact this solution, both the House and the Senate need a 2/3 majority as the first step to make the change. Then it goes to the states for approval.

In the current environment, the Democrats could use this as an issue to elect a new Congress.

This is where that litany of Supreme Court decisions is useful -- each issue becomes another motivating factor for the Democrats.

If people are that fed up with this court, they can vote to get rid of Congress with an eye towards neutering the Supreme Court.