Chex and Balances

We needz a hug.

As is very well know (at least to my family and perhaps to regular readers) I won the Civics award in my high school (and before that in my middle school), so not to brag, really, I am somewhat an authority on these things. Oh, sure, none of the Justices on the Supreme Court have sought my advice, but neither have they ever corrected me, so QED Bitches!

So having established my credentials, let’s go a bit long on the Supreme Court today, which as we know is designed as part of our much-heralded Chex (Mix) and Balances. But did you know that it was actually the result of the Judiciary Act of 1789?

Says Wiki:

The Judiciary Act of 1789 (ch. 20, 1 Stat. 73) was a United States federal statute adopted on September 24, 1789, in the first session of the First United States Congress. It established the federal judiciary of the United States.[2][3][4][5]Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution prescribed that the “judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and such inferior Courts” as Congress saw fit to establish. It made no provision for the composition or procedures of any of the courts, leaving this to Congress to decide.[6]

…so it stands to reason that the Legislature can modify the law. Here’s the 1789 original:

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the supreme court of the United States shall consist of a chief justice and five associate justices, any four of whom shall be a quorum, and shall hold annually at the seat of government two sessions, the one commencing the first Monday of February, and the other the first Monday of August.

—Judiciary Act of 1789

Why, look at that! It must have been modified already!

I bring this up because I want to assure us all that yes, we might be totally fucked in the dark right now, but all that could change and in fact we can be that change.

First off, a majority in Congress could pass a law imposing term limits on the Supreme Court; or a majority could pass a law imposing a mandatory retirement age; or a majority could pass legislation to increase the number of Justices. A prznint could sign those bills into law, and there would be nothing CJ John Roberts could do about it, except comply.

Don’t believe me? Here’s everything in the Constitution about the Supreme Court:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

So here’s the deal: it’s our job to fix this crap sandwich. The Russian Usurper and his minions have the cards right now to do what they want, but we can rise up in the 2018 Pie Fight and the 2020 Goat Rodeo, throw the bums out and fix this. We can, in theory, impeach SCOTUS Justices, but I think it would be much easier and more structurally sound to change the employment contracts. And it’s been done before and can be done again.

But to fix it, we all must vote. Seriously, contact your county registrar of voters and ensure that your information is correct and up to date. The Russians assaulted our voter rolls in about half of the states; they don’t need to tamper with  vote totals from the voting machines if they kick us off the rolls. 

 

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2 Responses to Chex and Balances

  1. RWW says:

    Agreed. Imagine the Repuke freakout and heavy media assist which will ensue when and if the Democrats ever regain control of two branches of government simultaneously and try this modest reform of a broken and corrupt judicial system. It will be the “biggest power grab in history” and “unprecedented politicization of our courts” yadda, yadda… We not only need to do this, we need to kick the living shit out of them while we’re at it.

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  2. AuroraS says:

    If this is implying the changing of the current standard of lifetime SCOTUS appointments to something along the lines of term limits or judicial elections, Justice Sonia Sotomayor made a really good point as to why that sounds like a good idea in theory, but (I think it was on Sesame Street—seriously) it’s actually a really bad idea: it certainly has its flaws, but lifetime appointments guarantee that a justice can vote their conscience and interpret the Constitution without having to be distracted by campaigning or operating at the whims of the public or Congress.

    Theoretically, Congress is supposed to represent the will of the people anyway. Can you imagine what would happen if a gerrymandered Republican-dominated Congress could just throw judges out and replace them at their whims? We’d be seriously, seriously fucked.

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