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Discussion An 'Independent Judiciary'

Lost_in_the_HTTP

Golden Member
Nov 17, 2019
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What exactly does that mean to you? Above reproach? Beyond question? Can't be held accountable?

We've all read about rulings that raise eyebrows for one reason or another, some just because we didn't agree, but others because we felt they were wrong or unethical for one reason or another. Some have openly crossed lines of conflict of interest.

While elected Judges can simply be voted out, it can be very difficult to remove appointed Judges from office. That usually involves long drawn out impeachment proceedings and has to include criminal charges. It's happened in a few cases of Federal judges. There have been a few removed by various state Judicial disciplinary processes.

But what about appointend Judges who have a history of conflicts or bad rulings that don't quite rise to the level of illegal behavior? Should Federal or State Legislative and Executive branches be able to act to counter such situations? We've seen cases where good, well intentioned, popular and functional laws were invalidated on technicalities or certain wording. In some cases laws that were rewritten were also shot down.

In the spirit of 'check and balances', how do we correct bad rulings or remove appointed Judges that make them?

My first thought has always been to eliminate the 'appointed for life' bit. ALL Judges at all levels should be up for renewal at some interval different than legislators and executives. Maybe 10 years, or 15.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
35,941
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Appointments should be for terms and not life for all judicial positions. Lifetime appointments encourage political shenanigans that are not at all in the interest of the voters or the country. I mean the Senate is basically reduced to a judge approval body at this point and nothing else probably as long as government is divided. The larger needs of the country are going unmet.

Stagger the terms in such a way so that they expire pretty evenly over say a two administration horizon and emplace firm time rules for confirmation so nobody can hold a glut of openings (McConnell) to fill later.
 
Nov 29, 2006
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Term limits for all government positions, including SCOTUS. Anyone who says term limits are a bad thing has no idea what they are talking about and shouldn't be taken seriously. The term can very from position to position, but id limit all positions to a max of 30 years.
 

zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
104,911
19,587
136
Term limits for all government positions, including SCOTUS. Anyone who says term limits are a bad thing has no idea what they are talking about and shouldn't be taken seriously. The term can very from position to position, but id limit all positions to a max of 30 years.
30 years is practically a lifetime appointment. I think somewhere between 10-16 is more reasonable.

The reason that term limits are actually a bad thing is that when they are too short, you end up with a constant recycling of one batshit loony toon replacing the previous batshit loony toon, spending their time undoing that work, doing nothing for anyone, an insuring that their limited time in office is maximized to benefit their post-office life. ...it's basically the same problem. The ideal is to have a "consistent stream of competence," which requires individuals to serve a long enough time that they become competent legislators, know and understand their constituents, and learn how to operate the best tools available for their constituents' purposes.

So, there needs to be a good minimum. No term limits = bad. Short term limits = bad.

By the way, we also need to remove certain positions from all levels of elected public office--like DAs, Sheriffs--highly corruptible positions that I don't think even term limits really fix. These should be appointed by term-limited governors (DA--for all counties of each state) and probably Mayors (Sheriffs, Commissioners--already appointed, I think?--and other local officer positions)
 
Nov 29, 2006
14,578
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30 years is practically a lifetime appointment. I think somewhere between 10-16 is more reasonable.

The reason that term limits are actually a bad thing is that when they are too short, you end up with a constant recycling of one batshit loony toon replacing the previous batshit loony toon, spending their time undoing that work, doing nothing for anyone, an insuring that their limited time in office is maximized to benefit their post-office life. ...it's basically the same problem. The ideal is to have a "consistent stream of competence," which requires individuals to serve a long enough time that they become competent legislators, know and understand their constituents, and learn how to operate the best tools available for their constituents' purposes.

So, there needs to be a good minimum. No term limits = bad. Short term limits = bad.

By the way, we also need to remove certain positions from all levels of elected public office--like DAs, Sheriffs--highly corruptible positions that I don't think even term limits really fix. These should be appointed by term-limited governors (DA--for all counties of each state) and probably Mayors (Sheriffs, Commissioners--already appointed, I think?--and other local officer positions)
Yeah 30 would be a max, but im open to anything that is a term limit really lol. 10-16 is fine with me too.
 

dank69

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
26,205
6,263
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Term limits for all government positions, including SCOTUS. Anyone who says term limits are a bad thing has no idea what they are talking about and shouldn't be taken seriously. The term can very from position to position, but id limit all positions to a max of 30 years.
Term limits are actually a bad thing for elected positions.
 
Nov 29, 2006
14,578
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Exhibit A: Bernie Sanders would not be eligible to be a Senator anymore.
That's ok. I like him, but he is old as dirt. He should pass on his experiences and ideas to a younger generation to carry the flag. More AOCs!! Am i allowed to say that anymore? The few righties heads probably just exploded.
 
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[DHT]Osiris

Diamond Member
Dec 15, 2015
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That's ok. I like him, but he is old as dirt. He should pass on his experiences and ideas to a younger generation to carry the flag. More AOCs!! Am i allowed to say that anymore? The few righties heads probably just exploded.
Unfortunately you cannot pass on ideals. I want more Bernies that refuse to take lobby money.
 
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Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
29,793
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An 'Independent Judiciary'
What exactly does that mean to you?
It is a complete fantasy.
Old world notions of an elite class of academia who are cut off from and pride themselves of being "above the fray", who study the law and are experts in its meaning. Able to grant judgement without prejudice.

First, humans are inherently biased. Second, there is no possible way anyone escapes "the fray" in this modern world. 24/7 news, social media. Everyone is political now, stuck on one "side" or the other. The bias is not just inherent now... it has consumed modern man and no one is beyond reproach for it. We are what we are... the trouble is... how do we live with ourselves?

We created a system predicated on a... delusion. Is it the best we can achieve? Maybe... What does "better" look like? Don't know. I would pause and examine other governments around the world. To see how they are shaped and what role, exactly, "Judges" play among them. Only then could I weigh and balance our approach VS others... to learn the positives and negatives... and, once properly versed and educated on the subject, to guess at a better approach.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
66,715
3,521
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What difference does the length of term make. Justice does not depend of independence. Justice depends of conscious evolution, how true one is to being fully human. A person can rule according to the laws we have passed, constitutionally, but if the constitution is not just the ruling will not be either.
 
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[DHT]Osiris

Diamond Member
Dec 15, 2015
8,180
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I'm curious what you mean by "you cannot pass on ideals"
As in, one can pass on experiences through verbal and written stories, one can pass on physical objects by exchanging ownership, and one can pass on their personal beliefs and ideals/morals/whatever, but there's no way to force that person to behave the same way. There's no reason to think that AOC will specifically be as vociferous as Bernie regarding 'no lobby money', for instance.

I guess I meant pass on as in, 'hand this to a person an be assured they'll use it'.
 
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dank69

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
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Nor would McConnell or Graham.
There is no shortage of shit bags to take their place. Term limits on elected officials accomplishes one thing only: removal of the option for people to vote for a person they want to vote for. When a person doesn't have to worry about being reelected he has no incentive to represent the people's will any longer.
 

Lost_in_the_HTTP

Golden Member
Nov 17, 2019
1,756
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But we're talking about Judges at all levels, not just Federal.

On the Federal bench, one thing that really toasts my cookies is 'Senior Judges'. After they serve so many years on the bench, they take 'Senior Status'. It's sort of semi retirement, yet they keep a courtroom, chambers and staff. For some, it works out because they can devote more time to handling the few cases they have. For others, it's a gravy train that they milk to the hilt, taking resources that could be used by others. I could be more detailed and name names, but I won't.

And again, this isn't even really about term limits. It's about accountability. It should be much easier to remove a Judge from the bench if they display a history of bad rulings that are later overturned for example.


At lower levels, how many cases have we seen where defendants have been let ff 'too easy', such as the Affluenza case, or some of the sex assault cases? And how many have been sentenced 'too harshly' for relatively minor offenses?

I've seen cases where Judges were caught DUI and suffered little or no punishment. I've seen cases where Judges were punished or admonished by being taken off the bench as far as hearing cases, but not off the payroll. They end up being assigned to other types of duties.
 

ch33zw1z

Lifer
Nov 4, 2004
31,935
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As in, one can pass on experiences through verbal and written stories, one can pass on physical objects by exchanging ownership, and one can pass on their personal beliefs and ideals/morals/whatever, but there's no way to force that person to behave the same way. There's no reason to think that AOC will specifically be as vociferous as Bernie regarding 'no lobby money', for instance.

I guess I meant pass on as in, 'hand this to a person an be assured they'll use it'.
Fair enough, just wanted to be clear. I generally agree.
 
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