Do We Need Rubber Rooms for Federal Judges? Two Plans To Reduce The Long Tailed Impact of Trump Judicial Appointees
Permanent URL: https://www.cavebear.com/cavebear-blog/rubber-rooms/
Revised: September 22, 2020
Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last Friday.
Already, many are talking about adding new justices to the Supreme Court to overcome the political imbalance that is likely to occur when a new Justice is confirmed to fill her now vacant seat.
However, this article is not about the Supreme Court or the addition of new Justices.
Instead, I want to address two subordinate Federal courts — our system of District and Circuit (appellate) courts.
The judges on these courts are generally referred to as “Article III” judges to distinguish them from judges on Federal regulatory and administrative courts. Article III judges “hold their offices during good behaviour”. This effectively means they have lifetime appointments.
The membership of the Supreme Court gets most of our attention. Yet, during the 2017-2021 presidential term those lower courts have been packed with more than 200 questionable or highly biased appointees.
The District Courts handle all Federal trials. The Circuit courts handle all appeals aside from the tiny portion that is taken up by the Supreme Court.
The impact of the last four years of Federal judicial appointments is significant, amounting to 25% of all Article III judges.
And because those judges have lifetime appointments that impact could continue for years. Generations of new and existing voters could find their majority views and votes blocked and nullified by judicial decisions made by those judges.
How do we deal with this?
While the problem might seem hopeless, there are things we can do.