Supreme Heresy

With all the fuss over Harriet Miers, a lot of people questioned whether a Supreme Court Justice should have had some judicial experience on their resume. Others immediately pointed out several justices — including the recently-deceased Chief Justice William Rehnqust — had been named to the High Court without having been a judge at a lower level.

That got me thinking: the Constitution gives absolutely NO requirements for the job of Supreme Court Justice. None. Zero. Nada. For Congress and the Presidency, they spell out conditions based on age, residency, and citizenship. But literally anyone could be on the Supreme Court. In theory, Bush could name Osama Bin Laden to the court — and if the Senate approved, he could serve. (Although I think he might have problems taking the oath of office.)

So, if a justice doesn’t have to have been a judge, do they even need to be a lawyer?

I think it could be worth considering. There are already eight lawyers on the High Court, discounting Justice O’Connor. And justices have a staff of law clerks who have legal training.

So, why not look outside the legal profession for a justice? Someone who can bring a fresh perspective to the bench? It might be beneficial.

So, outside of lawyers, who might be suitable for consideration? I have a few ideas.

* A historian, preferably one who has studied the Constitution and its creation and establishment, and has a fair grasp of “original intent,” and can foresee the kinds of complications that can arise from Court decisions.

* A career military officer, someone who is used to making hard decisions and shouldering great responsibilities.

* An administrator or executive, someone proficient at overseeing large organizations and working with others.

I think it would be a great experiment. For example, I think Victor Davis Hanson would be an outstanding Supreme Court Justice.

Bonfire of the Vanities #119 - Reminder
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