By: US Renew Democracy News | August 2, 2022

Header photo taken from: iStock
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The Contemplation of Justice statue stands in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Photo taken from: Getty / AFP / Jim Watson

The following US RENEW NEWS Reporters contributed to this Op Ed:  Rod Maggay, Geoff Small, Ian Sultan and Managing Editor Ron Israel

The events at the Supreme Court, such as the over-turn of Roe v Wade and the political actions of Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife, cast light on the need to reform the workings of the Court. In this Op Ed, US RENEW NEWS makes suggestions for ways in which the Supreme Court can become more reflective of all Americans and not just a narrow few, and become more accountable for its actions.

Change the Nomination Process— We need to ensure a fairer nominating process. Nominations should become less ideologically driver. They should reflect the opinions of a variety of interest groups, not just the groups affiliated with the party in power.  (Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Alito, Barrett, Roberts, and Thomas were  all recommended by the Federalist Society.)Once a person is nominated, they should be carefully evaluated and then a vote on his or her nomination needs to be immediately taken in the Senate.

The ability of the Senate to block a hearing on a nominee, as the Republicans did with Merrick Garland, should not be allowed. Candidates who appear before the Senate should face a perjury penalty for lying during their nomination hearing.

Policy Analysis

Take Steps to Ensure a More Diverse Court: 

We need a court that is more diverse and politically balanced court. We need a court that reflects the  cultural, ethnic, racial and religious, and political differences of the country.

Ways in which such diversity can be achieved include expanding the number of justices, imposing term limits, and having the parties alternate the nomination responsibility each time a vacancy occurs, rather than have the President make the decision. justices should be put in place.

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Ethics Scholars Urge Chief Justice Roberts to Adopt Code of Conduct for Supreme Court, “a written code would have a broad salutary impact, assisting current and future members of the court to transparently address potential conflicts in a way that builds public trust in the institution.”

Photo taken from: Diego M. Radzinschi / ALM

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In 2019, 2 years into Donald Trump’s Term, the issue of diversity on the court became a hot issue up through the lead up to the 2020 election and today, with increasing calls of replacing aging justices and / or stacking the court entirely to increase representation on legals issues such as abortion.

Photo taken from: Center for American Progress

Implement a Code of Ethics: 

Congress needs to draft a Code of Ethics to guide the conduct of Supreme Court justices.

Such a code of ethics should deal with issues such as committing perjury during the nomination process, conflicts of interest that might be appropriate for justices in specific cases, and requirement for justices to recuse justices to recuse themselves from cases where they have a conflict of interest.

A specific framework for the impeachment of Supreme Court

These and other Supreme Court reforms a greatly needed to reinstate public faith in our judicial system. Putting such reforms in place will be a monumental but important undertaking.

Perhaps the place to start is by establishing a bi-partisan national Judicial Reform Commission that can consider reforms such as these and make recommendations for Congressional review and action.

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