In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 20, 2005 / 13 Tammuz, 5765

To Improve the Supreme Court, Let's Expand It

By Jonathan Turley

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For the past four weeks, Senators and commentators have often used the most apocalyptic terms to describe the potential nomination of a rigid conservative to succeed Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the Supreme Court's perennial swing voter.

While many have called on the appointment of an O'Connor clone, there has been no discussion of the danger of a court that invests such power in so few jurists. As we prepare for another bloodletting over the nomination of a new justice, Members, particularly in the House, should pause to consider whether it is time to consider long-overdue reforms of the court. Specifically, we should consider adding not one but 10 new justices to the court.

While the public views the court as an inviolate and revered institution, various academics have called for a range of reforms, from term limits for justices to limitations on their jurisdiction. Years ago, I suggested expanding the current number of Supreme Court justices to 19 members. This proposal was based on the view that our court is demonstrably and dysfunctionally too small.

The proposal to expand the court often prompts easy analogies to the court-packing scheme of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in retaliation for the thwarting of his New Deal programs. Yet, it is possible that Roosevelt had the right idea for the wrong reason.

The current number of justices was arrived at not by some profound design but was a virtually arbitrary number that reflected the earlier number of federal circuits — a number that has since expanded by 50 percent.

Today's court actually bears little resemblance in its size or powers to the original court created by the Framers. Indeed, when the United States Supreme Court first convened in 1790 in New York at the Royal Exchange Building, only two of six justices were present and it had no cases on its docket. The early court was smaller and its members actively "rode circuits" to hear appeals and even sit on some trials.

The current court shows the problems with a small Supreme Court. With justices living longer, the court is prone to stagnation, and presidents often face "feast or famine" periods on nominations. Many presidents have had none, while others, such as President William Howard Taft, have had four. President Bush easily could have three or more.

The result is that the court often has remained unchanged as society has changed. Roosevelt inherited the Hughes court, a court composed of elderly, Republican appointees disinclined to support New Deal reforms. (Hughes himself had previously left the court to run for president as a Republican.) Bush could now ultimately create a similar court filled with ultra-conservative baby-boomers who could remain to the right of society for decades to come.

Unfortunately, this is a concern that tends to motivate only the party in the minority. I should point out that I first suggested the expansion of the court when we had a Democratic president and Senate. We now have the opposite. Yet, we continue to go through these convulsions on nominations due to the unwise investment of great power in so few individuals.

The expansion of the court is not as radical an idea as it may seem. From the time of its establishment, the size of the Supreme Court was largely dictated by the number of lower courts. As new states were added to the Union and the population grew, new trial courts and circuit courts were created — and new justices added. For example, when a 10th circuit was added in 1863, a 10th justice was added at the same time. When the circuits were reduced in 1866, the number of justices was reduced. Ultimately, the creation of the current nine-number court in 1869 was part of a Congressional decision to create parity with the number of circuits.

While O'Connor's career is being celebrated in the aftermath of her resignation, she actually personifies the inherent flaws in the current court. The Supreme Court's past decade has been shaped largely by its ubiquitous 5-4 votes and wild swings of doctrine. As a result, the most important questions have been effectively left to a court of one: O'Connor (and to a lesser extent, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy).

This stagnant division is due to the slow rate of turnover on the court. The current court is close to a record length of time without a change in membership. It has been more than 11 years since Justice Stephen Breyer was added to the court - the longest such period since 1823. This relative stagnation is likely to continue with the increase in the lifespan of all Americans.

The benefits of expanding the court to 19 members are multifold. Consider just a few:

Expansion would reduce the likelihood of a single swing voter: The Court of One problem. While splits on larger appellate circuits do occur, it is less common for a single justice to be a swing vote on many issues.

Expansion would reduce the relative weight of individual justices and increase the likelihood of diversity in views on given subjects.

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Expansion would reduce drafting time and likely increase the number of cases being heard.

Expansion could allow for justices to return to hearing cases. One or two justices each year would have to apply some of the doctrines that they pass down and, in doing so, deal with the inconsistencies produced by their decisions.

Expansion would bring administrative advantages. A 19-member court would be slightly larger than the number of federal circuits, ending the practice of assigning some justices to more than one circuit, which creates an uncomfortable concentration of authority in individual justices.

Most importantly, the expansion would guarantee a steadier turnover of members, bringing new faces and views to the court. Each president can be expected to have at least one appointment, reflecting the contemporary political values that led to their election.

Of course, it would be improper for one president to appoint all 10 new members. Accordingly, the proposal allows for a phased expansion that adds the seats over a long period.

The slavish adherence to a nine-member court shows the triumph of tradition as a self-perpetuating value. It is time to test the current model on its own merits, not on its familiarity. The number of Supreme Court justices, like the number of Members of Congress, should be a natural subject for occasional revision. It is time to allow logic, not tradition, to take its natural course.

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JWR contributor Jonathan Turley is a law professor at George Washington University. Click here to visit his website. Comment by clicking here.


© 2005, Jonathan Turley