The United States judicial system serves not only as the enforcement of United States laws, but also as one of the most controversial sections of our government. Many citizens feel the need for a democratic approach to the court systems while others fear bias from judges receiving large donations and unflinching support. While many judges’ decisions may reflect their benefactors’ thoughts and viewpoints, applying a fair, democratic approach to the selection of Supreme Court justices will serve to benefit the process of law enforcement, as well as the judicial system as a whole. Throughout the many next decades, bribery will diminish, and we will have an improved, more just America.
The Struggle With Law Enforcement
The process of law enforcement, largely the role of our judicial branch, sparks much debate over the letter of the law. To some reasonable extent, the judicial branch adds its own interpretation as to the true meaning of the law. It is this very interpretation that becomes the core of the many heated arguments made by lawyers struggling to add their own input. On the surface, this system might look fairly just. The only issue with it is that we don’t get to select our Supreme Court, which is the head of the judicial branch. That job is reserved to the president, who usually selects a justice who shares his opinions and viewpoints. While we do select justices indirectly (we select electors who then choose the president who then selects the justice), the lengthy process usually doesn’t produce a nominee that the majority of the people are in favor of.
An example of this lies in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that essentially decided when the beginning of human life was. “There has always been strong support for the view that life does not begin until live’ birth,” Justice Blackmun ruled in delivering the court’s decision (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). Despite the ruling by the Supreme Court, that question continued to appear at the lower courts throughout many of the next decades. Many American citizens were not satisfied with the conclusion the court reached. Had we elected Justice Blackmun, the amount of dissatisfaction there is from this decision would likely not exist.
Roe v. Wade demonstrates the number of debates sprung by the decision of a court we don’t elect. It shows how a justice appointed by a president can deeply affect law enforcement in a negative way.
A Biased Perspective
One other trait we love in our justices is a neutral perspective. If they are biased towards one side, we can easily predict their ruling prior to the case even being heard. Although a justice is most likely going to be either strongly Democratic or Republican, allowing presidents to make this choice brings an even more biased perspective. This occurs because most presidents, even widely admired ones, want the court to side with them in key issues.
Our 32nd president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, is a perfect example of this. In an effort to essentially dominate the Supreme Court, he ‘packed’ it with justices of his choosing (History.com). He did this by adding justices past the original nine until he had chosen the majority. The only reason this happened was because we gave the president the power to control the court. We are effectively joining the executive and judicial branches, making the president the leader of them both. This defeats the purpose of the court, as nearly every single justice sides with the president who appointed them.
Addressing Bribery Concerns
There has been an underlying concern of bribery appearing in the election of Supreme Court justices. This very fear is the sole reason many oppose such elections. Most forms of Democracy ultimately lead to corruption.
We can easily picture this in a case that occurred just 6 months ago. A former national treasurer was sentenced to a decade in jail for accepting bribes (The Conversation). This proves that corruption easily occurs in any type of Democracy. However, this does not necessarily mean that we should stick to other forms of government. We should recognize that the positives of a Democracy greatly outweigh the negatives, but still work towards fixing its flaws.
A Different Outlook On Bribery
The previous section outlined the fact that bribery can occur in any Democracy. However, there is the possibility that an election to decide Supreme Court justices could actually be beneficial in our efforts to remove corruption. A judge in West Virginia is a perfect example of the progress we have already made.
In the case Caperton vs. Massey, a judge who had received a tremendous amount of support from the chief executive of Massey voted against them 80% of the time (Washington Post). This occurrence indicates that we are starting to verge on the right trajectory as a country, and that selecting Supreme Court justices wouldn’t attract a large amount of bribery.
A Final Summary
Overall, an election for the Supreme Court would serve to benefit the process of law enforcement, increase the court’s diversity in terms of opinion, and even reduce bribery. Many issues that spark a tremendous amount of debate in this country would be settled, and many would feel more comfortable with our government. Lastly, the election would serve as a separation between the executive and judicial branches, limiting the power of our president. This would help even out the power. (National Conference of State Legislatures)
About The Author
Dev is middle schooler living in Massachusetts. He greatly enjoys singing, as it brings him tranquility and joy. He is interested in law, and wants to figure out a way to implement morality in the current legal system. His love of mathematics has also recently sparked an interest in business and finance. Additionally, he is passionate about eliminating racism and discrimination.