October 03, 2005

And She's 60!

We've all got our own little things that irk us about the Miers nomination (or two, or six, or ten of them), but one that's really irritating me by this point in the day is the constant harping about how the president did such a terrible thing in nominating a woman of 60 (and one month and 13 days if you are counting) to the Supreme Court. There have been plenty of distinguished justices who were appointed at that age (or older) - Cardozo, Brandeis, Ginsburg and Powell among them - and I'd like to think we could agree on it being a nice thought that we're getting as good a justice as possible when these appointments are made, not the best justice who can can be sure will serve for 30 years so that one individual president can shape the nature of the court long, long after that individual has been chosen by the electoral college. And of course apart from the basic merit argument, or the argument that there should be a bit more accountability or democracy in these appointments - that we shouldn't be stuck with the leftovers of a bygone and possibly rebuked era, there's also the practical matter of it being difficult to know exactly how long a justice will live, even if they are appointed young (Frank Murphy and Wiley Rutledge, two FDR appointees, didn't live to see sixty). But to me the merit point is the key one. And it's one of the reasons that I really would like to see some sort of term-limit reform established. Sadly, I don't think it will happen. But it would be a way to possibly press upon presidents that they should select the best possible justices - not the justices who will live the longest. Presuming Bush actually believes in Miers, he didn't need be reminded of this point. But a lot of "movement" conservatives seem more interested in longevity (among other things)than quality.

Posted by armand at October 3, 2005 07:35 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Law and the Courts

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