Rivenbark: Lifetime appointments to high court make no sense
Let’s face it. The idea of anybody being appointed to any job “for life” is ridiculous.
It’s important to remember when Alexander Hamilton and company came up with this notion of lifelong appointments for federal judges, the life expectancy was 33. To put it another way, they made this call at a time in our nation’s history when it was entirely possible to step on a rusty nail and die of tetanus a week later.
Today, the average life expectancy is 77. So, yeah. Bad call.
Because of Article III, Amy Comey Barrett can realistically expect to serve four decades or more on the Supreme Court, which is a thought that maketh me want to lie down in green pastures and cry myself to sleep.
The Supreme Court needs term limits. Nothing crazy, mind you. Maybe 15 years. They are lawyers. Successful, ambitious lawyers. Why do we treat them like they are exotic, heavenly creatures who descended to earth on the wings of angels?
Their brains aren’t that special or rare. It’s not like they invented that preset button in your car door that remembers where you like the seat. Now that’s genius.
They are just ambitious, well-connected lawyers who clerked for the right judges and managed not to hire undocumented housekeepers. That we know of.
Perhaps the best example of how foolish a lifetime job is on the highest court is Justice Clarence Thomas, who is now in his 30th year of doing ...not much of anything. Thomas has been as quiet as a mouse on cotton the entire time. He’s so famously quiet, in fact, you could be forgiven if you thought he’d died years ago and was propped up “Weekend at Bernie’s” style for all those black-robed class pictures every year.
The notion of a lifetime job anywhere is goofy. You don’t get hired at Taco Bell or Jiffy Lube and, on day one, the boss says: “Oh, and by the way, you know this is FOR LIFE.” These are honorable jobs, to be sure, but they’re not likely something you want to do forever.
To look at it another way, maybe these justices don’t even want this job for life. Sure, Amy Comey Barrett might, at age 48, be filled with dewy-eyed dreams of ending reproductive rights for women, trashing the Affordable Health Care Act and sending LGBTQ rights hurtling back to the ’50s, but she may feel differently in her 80s.
The founders came up with Article III, of course, to keep the federal courts independent of partisan politics. Which, as we now know, doesn’t work even a little bit.
The Barrett confirmation is the most recent assault on the spirit of Article III’s intentions because the process was bloodlessly manipulated by assorted vindictive “United States senators.” I literally have avocados I bought before she was nominated that still aren’t ripe.
Celia Rivenbark wonders why clogged gutters are suddenly such a big deal. Visit http://celiarivenbark.com.