Unelected Supreme Court Justices Essay

1112 words - 4 pages

Government officials serving in the Judiciary branch hold incredible power, not only due to judicial review, but also because they are insulated from the American people. Supreme Court Justices are unelected and hold lifelong terms in office. Officials that are appointed by the President or a party usually have that person or party’s interests in mind. This action is not democratic because it allows the Judicial Bench to be stacked with a singular party’s morals and beliefs. This phenomenon contradicts all aspects of democracy by giving indispensable powers to these officials for life, by taking away the people’s right to representation by election, and by allowing certain degrees of judicial activism. Unelected judges that make important decisions for the American Government are not held responsible or accountable for any actions that appear to be wrong in the public’s eye because they cannot be removed from office except when having been convicted of a felony.
By giving life tenure to appointed officials, the founding fathers protected them from political pressure. But, by taking away the accountability of these officials, the framers actually produced a perfect opportunity for krytocracy, a government ruled by judges. When a justice, or anyone for that matter, is secured with a job for life, there is not enough incentive motivating him to perform to the best of his ability. If the lifelong term was changed to say, 8 or 12 years, the justices would be more likely to keep the people’s interests in mind and to represent the public instead of being driven by their own selfish concerns. If the judges’ terms were limited, it would allow their actions to be reviewed, analyzed and determined right or wrong by the people. It would keep their efforts under control and it would allow consideration for revision of the work they have accomplished in office after a defined amount of time has passed. It is unconstitutional for people to hold power for too long of a time period; the founding fathers decided on having presidential terms because they were rightfully fearful of the power wielded by King George, whom they had just defeated and were then able to declare themselves “free”. Federal judges during the 1700’s that held life tenures did not live as long as the Federal judges of today. According to Jamal Greene, a professor of law at Columbia Law School and a former clerk for Justice John Paul Stevens, “the average life expectancy of an American in 1787 was about 36, less than half what it is today”. Today, appointed justices have the ability and the power to influence policy for countless decades. If one is found to be unfit for the job, there is no plausible way to remove him because of incompetence alone. Besides the downfall of lifelong judges, there are a few understandable advantages; the benefits of having unelected justices are numbered, but very important. Because they are shielded from the politics and controversies of American government,...

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