The Supreme Court Can Survive Without a President

Letters to the Editor: There’s an obvious solution to reining in the Supreme Court: Allow justices to vote to replace the entire body with a new one every few years.

Unfortunately, that won’t happen. There has probably been as many justices as there are senators, so there are bound to be differences of opinion and perhaps even personal animosities if the court is to be given the authority to invalidate laws.

The solution that many suggest is to send new justices and vacancies to other circuits, or to a conference of the circuits in which the chief justice acts as umpire. These ideas would certainly benefit the court’s ability to decide cases. But in the first of these options, the judge who is sent will have to recuse himself from the case. And in the second, the court might not be as independent as it should be. Many would complain that the chief justice is making a political appointment and the courts would have to accept his appointee.

But if the court is to be as independent as it is supposed to be, and if it is to have the authority to invalidate laws, the best it can do is have a panel of five people with as much independence as they can get. The judges on the court would choose the chief justice to act as their umpire and that would mean as much if not a little more because every judge would be required to take a stance in regard to issues they might not feel very strongly about.

So when the decision comes down to who will be the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the choice will be between an independent umpire and a political appointee. There will be some dissent. And there will be people who complain about the political nature of the whole situation.

But I believe the courts can survive without a president. I believe they can survive with two. And, at least in the time when the Supreme Court is really needed, there would be more justices appointed than ever before if the two positions the president was offering remained vacant.

Dale M. Williams


Toward a new beginning

As I read the last column of The Dispatch, I felt the paper was making a serious mistake. The column was about how the court

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