The Supreme Court of the United States is the only major court of its kind in the world where justices have life tenure rather than serving for a term of years or subject to a mandatory retirement age. Not only has every other western democracy rejected life tenure, but forty-nine out of fifty states have rejected it for their state supreme courts as well. Is life tenure for U.S. Supreme Court justices a good idea, or is it an 18th Century anachronism? What can or should be done about the fact that the average tenure of Supreme Court Justices has increased from 15 to 27 years since 1970? Ought we to be concerned if vacancies on the Supreme Court open up only once every four years instead of once every two as happened between 1789 and 1970? Audio and video recorded on November 21, 2008.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21
9:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Showcase Panel II: Judicial Tenure: Life Tenure or Fixed Nonrenewable Terms?
- Prof. Stephen B. Burbank, University of Pennsylvania Law School
- Hon. Charles J. Cooper, Cooper & Kirk, PLLC
- Prof. James Lindgren, Northwestern University School of Law
- Prof. David R. Stras, University of Minnesota School of Law
- Moderator: Hon. J. Harvie Wilkinson III, United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit