Fixing The SCOTUS Selection Process

Hello!

I try very hard not to get too political here, otherwise I could let things devolve into me spewing my political views on everything. None of us want that, trust me.

But the past few weeks have once again made me give some thought to how we select our Supreme Court Justices. It’s messed up. The process maybe worked (and I would like to stress maybe) in past times, when presidents and senators acted with more honor and patriotism, but those times have gone away long, long ago.

Now presidents tend to just select someone who agrees with them on a couple of hot button issues, or someone they think will ignite their base and get them re-elected. Same thing with the senators. Very few of them ever really vote to confirm or not confirm based solely on the honest ability of a nominee, and instead it involves more of a political calculation.

So how do we fix this?

I don’t know that I have any more of a reasonable answer than anyone else, but the first thing I think we have to do is get rid of lifetime appointments. That would immediately make a nominee somewhat less scary. No matter your view on Roe v. Wade, the nominee would be gone in a few years and could be replaced, so they aren’t going to be an impediment for the next forty years. Whatever your view of LGBTQ rights, a new justice either blocking those or enabling equality isn’t going to be a permanent fixture for the rest of our lives.

So why do we have lifetime appointments, anyway? Integrity of the system, some say. So that a justice can be appointed and not rule based on what is most likely to keep them in the job. That makes sense, to a certain degree, but what we have wound up with is a bunch of old people sitting there and making decisions based on the ideals of the person and time who nominated them. Not ideal, obviously. But not without some merit, because it keeps rulings on what is and isn’t constitutional from swaying wildly from one president to the next.

So how do we make them less political, but still get rid of the lifetime appointments? I can only think of two ways, and neither of them are ideal, and neither would work completely. Both may be better than what we have, though.

My first thought is that we should let the process work sort of like it does now, a president nominates and the Senate confirms or not, but with some modifications. The modifications would be that the senate would have to have a vote on the nominee within 90 days or else the nominee would automatically be placed on the court provisionally and all other business in the Senate would be held up until the vote could take place. If there is not enough time for the Senate to investigate fully, they could request extensions in one month increments from the sitting president. Another modification with this system would be some kind of limit, say 8 years, as a term limit. At that point, during the next federal election there would be a simple retention vote for the justice. If less than 50% of the cast votes are votes to retain, the justice would be removed from the court. Justices would then face this retention vote during the soonest federal election at the end of each 8 year term they serve. The advantage of this 8 years is that it would automatically take the justice into at least the next presidency, if not beyond.

The other possible change I can think of that would at least somewhat de-escalate the doom and gloom prospects of a nominee would be if they had a flat limit of 10 years. That’s it. 10 and you’re out. Automatically goes into the next presidency, at least, and constantly refreshes the court with new people and new ideas. And we would usually have a mix of justices that have been on the court a few years and new justices, because of the offsetting times that justices retired or were confirmed to the court, which would mean it would slow any dramatic sways in rulings of the court. You’re not going to get a 9-0 ruling in favor of something, then a few years later end up with a 9-0 ruling against, usually. I would also add the variation that the Senate must give a nominee a hearing and vote.

Neither of these would fix the problem completely.

Neither of these is going to keep Senators from making up their minds completely ahead of time.

Neither of these is going to stop the Senate from not doing their due diligence when investigating a nominee.

Neither of these will prevent a president from nominating a completely unqualified hack.

What they both would do is at least limit the damage any one justice can do. They would limit the damage any one president could do.

I guess maybe the one rule that would need added under all circumstances, no matter whether any changes like these were implemented or not, is that if there is a vacancy on the court and a president nominates someone, no other nominee for this or any other Supreme Court vacancy could be considered until that nominee is voted upon. It is absolutely ridiculous that a nominee by a sitting president–any sitting president–could be just ignored. They are supposed to ‘advise and consent’, not ‘sit on and ignore’. And whatever a person’s political affiliations and beliefs are, we should all be ashamed when a nominee is just allowed to sit without so much as a hearing until the next president is in office. That is not how honorable people with patriotic intentions behave.

So yeah, those are my 2 cents (which, because of inflation, is now only worth 1/100th of a cent), and I don’t think any of this is ever going to happen. And it would probably require a Constitutional Amendment, which is almost certainly never going to happen. Too many people would have to agree to give up some of their power with these, and most people in office these days do not have the honor and patriotism to do so. But at least I was able to list the ideas out here, which has been somewhat cathartic, so something was accomplished.

Everybody have a good weekend!

Writing, But It Is Going Very Slow Right Now

Hi!

Lately I’ve been a bit bogged down on my writing speed. I’m still making progress, but it is going painfully slow. I can’t really explain it. It’s not writer’s block because I have the ideas and know what I want to write. It’s almost like I go into slow motion while writing. I’ll look up after writing for what seems like half an hour, only to realize it has really been over two hours. It’s weird.

One possibility that has occurred to me is that the summer break for the local schools has drawn to an end. My wife being a teacher, we were together most days over the summer. We had lunch and went out for a little while doing one thing or another on most days. And now she’s away and I’m here alone, working on my book. While I worked on it during the summer, with her here, the place just feels different now.

Another possibility is my allergies are just driving me nuts. This could be a stand alone problem, or it could be just a contributing factor. For whatever reason, July seems to hit me really hard allergy-wise, and I’ve had it bad the past few weeks. The past week or two have been especially hard. So maybe I’m just kind of in an allergy-induced zombie state.

There’s also the possibility that I have just been mentally distracted. Just off somehow. Whatever it is, I’m toiling away and making progress.

So, onto another topic I guess.

What do you all think of that primary win for the Democratic party the other day? She has a chance to be the first lesbian, Native American member of the house if she defeats Kevin Yoder in the general election. Yay for LGBTQ representation in Congress!

I heard about an ugly incident after that primary that Ms. Davids won the other day, though. A local activist, a young woman who was the youngest delegate for Hillary Clinton two years ago, went to a rally after the results were in. She congratulated each candidate for running a good race, and most of them were nice to her, even though they didn’t win the election. Not Brent Welder. From what I have read, he went on a rant against her for some reason. He went so ballistic on this poor girl that he didn’t stop until she was in tears.

Wow, now that’s a class move there, Mr. Welder.

So seriously, whatever your political views and whoever you were supporting, I hope that any of you reading this out there know that you treat others with more respect and better class than this guy apparently did. I think the Democrats in Kansas should be very happy that their nominee isn’t as big of a jerk as this guy comes across as.

Have a good weekend!

Beyond Freedom Is Here

Hello all!

So I am finally releasing the exciting(I hope) sequel to Freedom’s Fate: Beyond Freedom. You can currently preorder it on Amazon, and it will officially go on sale May 9th. Here is the description:

Guilt over the loss of the crew of the Freedom and its sister ship Atlantic Gale weighing on her, not wanting to be in charge, and not feeling worthy of leading, Callie is thrust into the role of saving the human race. Crash landing on a small moon that scanned as possibly supporting life, Callie leads her crew of a dozen who may be the very last human beings in existence. Little did she know when they landed that their lives were going to get much more complicated very quickly. Can she rise to the occasion and save not only her group, but possibly even the lives of an indigenous people? And what will become of her relationship with her girlfriend Anna during this turbulent time?

And here is the finalized cover:

Beyond Freedom Cover

I’m excited!

Everyone have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend!