Glenn Reynolds, who runs the influential Instapundit blog and teachers law at the University of Tennessee, has a novel idea regarding the Supreme Court. Isn't it about time we get a non-lawyer on the bench?
In USA Today, he writes,
When the Supreme Court is composed of narrowly specialized former judges from elite schools, the likelihood that the law will be comprehensible to ordinary people and non-lawyers seems pretty small. (In addition, a recent book by my University of Tennessee colleague Ben Barton makes a pretty strong case that lawyer-judges systematically favor the sort of legal complexity that, shockingly, makes lawyers rich. He, too, recommends non-lawyer judges, which, as he notes, are common in other nations and were common in colonial America.)
The Supreme Court is one-third of the federal government, and the other two branches, Congress and the presidency, are already dominated by lawyers. But there are hundreds of millions of Americans who aren't lawyers, and surely some of them are smart enough to decide important questions, given that the Constitution and laws are aimed at all of us. Shouldn't we open the court up to a little diversity?
Reynolds also suggests that the Senate take the "advice" part of its constitutionally mandated "advice and consent" role in confirming SCOTUS appointees more seriously. He suggests the World's Greatest Deliberative Body prepare and maintain a list of solid candidates that they would give the president in the event of an opening. If the president picks from that list, confirmation hearings would be quick and painless. If the Senate provides a list of bums, the president could easily offer up a quality candidate that would look good by comparison.
These are interesting ideas, to say the least, and if they have no chance of being implemented any time in our lifetimes, at least they give some food for thought.
Damon Root took a look at Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland here.