Sunday, July 03, 2005

time to end lifetime appointments?

I've read commentary on advances in medicine and genetics saying that the first person to live to be a thousand years old may already be alive. And now we have a Supreme Court vacancy. Maybe now is the time to revisit the lifetime appointment system for justices and judges, before the technology gets any further advanced.

There are good cases for limiting appointments anyway -- but do we want the Supreme Court and the rest of the judicial system to be potentially frozen in time by the fluke of people happening to be in place when life extending treatment becomes available to the moderatly well off?

I suggest 30 year terms for all federal judges, with the ability to be nominated without need for reconfirmation for one 5-7 year extension. A 30-year term is long enough to keep judges from worrying about re-election or pressure from the executive branch. It would also have the advantage of reducing pressure on a President to look for ever-younger nominees to the bench, in an effort to maximize the influence of the choice.

If we don't do something, we could see (fill in the name of a judge you don't like here) on the court for five hundred years.