News/Op-Ed: The Problem With Legal Fairness, And How To Depoliticize the Federal Courts

by Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor

As tensions keep rising inside the government due to the nomination for the vacancy in the Supreme Court, the question of loyalty versus honest service alarms the American people.

“He [the president] shall have Power… [to] appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States.” US Constitution Article II, Section 2, Clause 2.

Included as one of the presidential powers, the appointment of a nominee for the Supreme Court is heavily discussed, as Presidents will most likely favor members of their political party.

It is no surprise really that President Trump would do the same, as a Supreme Court position is vacant after the death of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

In historic events, the second President of the United States, John Adams, appointed 42 judges to both circuit courts and the Supreme Court on his last day as president in what is referred to as the “midnight judges”, in order to keep his political party’s interests dominant for a while.

The job of a Supreme Court Justice is essential for the American government, as they hold great authority over the law and order in the country, having the power of judicial review, where they can literally change or add a change to the Constitution, creating a whole new system.

But, what is the problem when parties take over the system to look over their interest instead of the people’s interest? Is judicial review too much power for a person to have, and should the people elect Supreme Court Justices, instead of the president having the full power to appoint someone from within party lines?

Well, while many theories can be created on whether the system is rigged, or possible changes to the system, the problem is obvious, as it is one that has granted presidents to keep their power going even after they leave office through the Supreme Court Justices they nominated to stay politically loyal. 

The nine Justices that serve on the highest court are all selected at one point in a presidency, by whoever is President when a vacancy needs to be filled, whether it is a conservative or liberal president. They decide on cases based on the ideologies of their parties and try to support their claims by deeming something constitutional or unconstitutional as their power allows them to. 

Now, if taken into consideration that human rights and the well-being of a state has nothing to do with power and political loyalty, why is this still a big part of the US system?

The short answer would be power, money, and hierarchies, but the answer as a whole is way more complex and has to do with history and the foundations that lay out the powers of government, the Constitution.

In a heavily politicized world from the beginning, the Constitution was created to settle the responsibilities of the government, and what is deemed legally right, and what is not. 

Whether they were based on principles of truth or not, the United States was divided between federalists and anti-federalists, which influenced the decision making into what the constitution was and how everything was modeled after.

Now, to discuss what could have happened in history is not the point, but rather how society can move on from the past and look into the future.

In a system where the courts decide on the future of a nation, politics has nothing to do with the decision-making process.

Looking for loyalties in order to keep a job defeats the purpose of Democracy, of a Republic and a legitimate state.

Nominees for the Supreme Court and any other high circuit courts in the nation should be nonpartisan and defend the constitution and the right of the people, and whatever that means for everyone is up to interpretation – but they should not show allegiance to a particular party. 

Whether more justices from a nonpartisan perspective are added, or all nine justices are remodeled to defend the law without any worries of political strategy, the system needs to be changed, and if it doesn’t change, peace around the country is only a utopian dream rather than a reality.

Cases such as Roe v. Wade show that it is possible to break party lines when deciding cases, as the majority of the Court was conservative, yet they decided to put those values aside and interpret their best version of law without putting party loyalties before the country. 

Rights are established, they are not controlled by a single party or the mentality of a single person, rather by what neutral law explains, which is that the sense of freedom and what is needed for life to be enjoyable are the qualities a government offers to the people but never controls.

Even as nominees can now serve as a way to entertain the people on whether the candidate answers something wrong, and then people mock them, it is really a decision of life and death. If the nominee does not serve for the country over their party, it can move a regime from democracy to authoritarianism in a manner that is technically considered legal under the Constitution. 

George Washington, the first President of the United States, advised the people to not make these mistakes in his farewell address by saying that political factions can only be effective when destroying the integrity and unity of the nation, while preventing the branches of government from working to help the people.

It is not a matter of left or right, blue or red, or right versus wrong; it is about country, the United States, and the powers of the Supreme Court are greatly influential in the system of the creating order, which may spur political parties to work hard and prevent success from happening in this vast nation. 

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