Appointed to the Supreme Court
It is appropriate to discuss President Trump’s latest appointment to the SCOTUS. Everyone has a vested interest in who sits on the Supreme Court. What we all should be able to agree on is that the Supreme Court must be a court of neutrality without bias or prejudice weighing evidence and arguments in accordance to the Constitution of the United States.
I pay no attention to the rhetoric spewed from the left or from the right and it does not matter whether I “like” or “dislike” a particular nominee, nor do I care about his political affiliation.
What I care about is this, is the nominee knowledgeable of U.S. Law and of the U.S. Constitution?
Will he/she make his focus and interpret according to the constitutionality of all arguments made before the SCOTUS?
Will he allow himself/herself to be swayed pro/con when a case comes before the SCOTUS?
Since we all have our own opinions and our own ideas about whoever the president nominates, we should look at why President Trump selected this particular candidate and what was the “Trump Standard” for this nomination? We must look to what President Trump said about Justice Kavanaugh during his televised press conference:
President Trump nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court
“He is a brilliant jurist, with a clear and effective writing style, universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time,” Trump said in his prime-time televised White House announcement. He added: “There is no one in America more qualified for this position, and no one more deserving.”
The Judicial Background of U.S. Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh who currently serves on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
He is a former law clerk for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Speaking at the White House, Kavanaugh pledged to preserve the Constitution and said that “a judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret the Constitution as written.”
A senior White House official said Trump decided on Kavanaugh because of his large body of jurisprudence cited by other courts, describing him as a judge that other judges read.
About the Court
How are Supreme Court Justices selected?
The President nominates someone for a vacancy on the Court and the Senate votes to confirm the nominee, which requires a simple majority. In this way, both the Executive and Legislative Branches of the federal government have a voice in the composition of the Supreme Court.
Are there qualifications to be a Justice? Do you have to be a lawyer or attend law school to be a Supreme Court Justice?
The Constitution does not specify qualifications for Justices such as age, education, profession, or native-born citizenship. A Justice does not have to be a lawyer or a law school graduate, but all Justices have been trained in the law. Many of the 18th and 19th century Justices studied law under a mentor because there were few law schools in the country.
The last Justice to be appointed who did not attend any law school was James F. Byrnes (1941-1942). He did not graduate from high school and taught himself law, passing the bar at the age of 23.
Robert H. Jackson (1941-1954). While Jackson did not attend an undergraduate college, he did study law at Albany Law School in New York. At the time of his graduation, Jackson was only twenty years old and one of the requirements for a law degree was that students must be twenty-one years old. Thus rather than a law degree, Jackson was awarded with a “diploma of graduation.” Twenty-nine years later, Albany Law School belatedly presented Jackson with a law degree noting his original graduating class of 1912.
“7 things you might not know about the U.S. Supreme Court”
By Elizabeth Nix dated October 08, 2013
This article gives us a glimpse of the tradition and history of the United States Supreme Court.
- The court was around for 145 years before it got a permanent home of its own.
The court convened for the first time in February 1790 in New York City, then the nation’s capital. From 1791 to 1800, it assembled in Philadelphia, which served as the capital while Washington, D.C., was under construction. Starting in February 1801, the court began meeting in Washington, where it occupied various sites in the Capitol building for more than a century. (After the British burned the Capitol in 1814, the court even temporarily met in a private home.) In 1929, at the urging of Chief Justice William Taft, Congress authorized some $9.74 million to erect a building the court could call its own. The marble structure, in use since 1935, was designed by architect Cass Gilbert Sr., whose projects included New York City’s Woolworth Building (the world’s tallest skyscraper from 1913 to 1930), along with several state capitols and other public works. Today, the building features its own police force as well as a top-floor gym, with a basketball court nicknamed “the highest court in the land.” Shooting hoops and lifting weights are banned while court is in session, however.
- There haven’t always been nine justices on the court.
The U.S. Constitution established the Supreme Court but left it to Congress to decide how many justices should make up the court. The Judiciary Act of 1789 set the number at six: a chief justice and five associate justices. In 1807, Congress increased the number of justices to seven; in 1837, the number was bumped up to nine; and in 1863, it rose to 10. In 1866, Congress passed the Judicial Circuits Act, which shrank the number of justices back down to seven and prevented President Andrew Johnson from appointing anyone new to the court. Three years later, in 1869, Congress raised the number of justices to nine, where it has stood ever since. In 1937, in an effort to create a court more friendly to his New Deal programs, President Franklin Roosevelt attempted to convince Congress to pass legislation that would allow a new justice to be added to the court—for a total of up to 15 members—for every justice over 70 who opted not to retire. Congress didn’t go for FDR’s plan.
- There are no official qualifications for becoming a Supreme Court justice.
The Constitution spells out age, citizenship and residency requirements for becoming president of the United States or a member of Congress but mentions no rules for joining the nation’s highest court. To date, six justices have been foreign born; the most recent, Felix Frankfurter, who served on the court from 1939 to 1962, was a native of Vienna, Austria. The youngest associate justice ever appointed was Joseph Story, who was 32 years old when he joined the bench in 1811. Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who served from 1902 to 1932, retired at age 90, making him the oldest person ever to sit on the court. One thing every justice who’s served shares in common is that all were lawyers prior to joining the court. During the 18th and 19th centuries, before attending law school was standard practice, many future justices got their legal training by studying under a mentor. James Byrnes, who served on the court from 1941 to 1942, was the last justice who didn’t attend law school (Byrnes, who also didn’t graduate from high school, worked as a law clerk and later passed the bar exam.) Harvard has produced more members of the court than any other law school; to date, 20 justices have attended or graduated from the venerable institution, which was established in 1817 and is America’s oldest continually operating law school.
- Justices are appointed for life but can be impeached.
Associate Justice William O. Douglas put in 36 years and 7 months on the bench, from April 1939 to November 1975, the longest tenure of any justice in the court’s history. Douglas’ successor, John Paul Stevens, was part of the court from December 1975 to June 2010, making him the third-longest serving justice. (Steven Johnson Field, who served from 1863 to 1897, comes in second.) Although they are appointed for life, more than 50 have chosen to retire or resign; that number has included the likes of John Jay, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Charles Evan Hughes, Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall, and, more recently, William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O’Connor. Only one justice ever has been impeached: Samuel Chase, in 1804. The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Chase, an outspoken figure accused of acting in a partisan way during various court proceedings; however, the U.S. Senate acquitted him in 1805 and he remained on the bench, where he had served since 1796, until his death in 1811.
- William Howard Taft is the only person to have served as U.S. president and on the court.
Taft served as America’s 27th president, from 1909 to 1913, during which time he appointed five associate justices and one chief justice. After losing his bid for re-election, Taft, a graduate of Yale University and Cincinnati Law School, and a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals prior to his presidency, went on to teach law at Yale and serve as head of the American Bar Association, among other activities. In 1921, following the death of Chief Justice Edward Douglass White, whom Taft had appointed when he was in the White House, President Warren Harding nominated Taft as White’s replacement. As the court’s 10th chief justice, Taft successfully advocated for passage of the Judiciary Act of 1925, which enabled the justices to choose which cases they wanted to hear (today, the court follows the so-called rule of four, by which at least four justices must vote to grant a petition to review a case before it can be heard by the court). Taft served as chief justice until February 1930, when he resigned due to poor health; he died the following month.
- George Washington appointed the most justices to the court.
The president of the United States has the sole power to nominate Supreme Court justices whenever there are openings on the court, and each nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. George Washington made 11 appointments to the court, while Franklin Roosevelt made the second highest number of appointments, nine. Only three presidents besides Andrew Johnson did not make appointments: William Henry Harrison (who died in 1841, a month after his inauguration), Zachary Taylor (who passed away in 1850, 16 months after taking office) and Jimmy Carter. To date, presidents have submitted 160 nominations, including nominations for chief justice. Of that total, 124 were confirmed, with seven of them opting not to take the job. America’s 10th president, John Tyler, who assumed office after the death of William Henry Harrison, made nine nominations while in office from 1841 to 1845, but the politically unpopular Tyler managed to get just one of those nominations confirmed by the Senate.
- In recent years, the court has received some 10,000 annual requests to review cases, but hears only about 80.
The justices usually only take on cases involving significant legal principles or cases in which lower courts have disagreed about the interpretation of federal laws. Most of the court’s cases come to it on appeal from lower federal courts and state courts; however, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction (the right to hear a case for the first time, before any appellate review) in a few instances, such as cases involving ambassadors or disputes between two or more states. Because the justices primarily hear cases on appeal, it’s uncommon for witnesses or evidence to be presented in court. Instead, attorneys submit written legal arguments (briefs) in advance and justices typically listen to oral arguments, in which each side has 30 minutes to make a presentation, during which the justices can ask questions. (The courtroom is open to the public during oral arguments, which are not allowed to be televised or photographed; since 1955, the court has made audio recordings of oral arguments, which are released after the arguments are over.) The justices later meet in private to discuss and vote on each case. In the event of a tie vote, the decision of the lower court is upheld.
I suggest that whether you are liberal or conservative take the time to become educated on the matter you are about to cover, particularly on social media. There is enough undocumented and unsubstantiated misinformation floating around that put the term “fake news” to shame.
The day and time we live is history in the making and we are each part of it. Don’t be swayed by the right or the left, but educate yourself so you can make a more informed decision on matters that concern Americans and the United States of America. – I am the Real Truckmaster!
One thought on “Appointed to the Supreme Court”
Justice Felix Frankfurter once wrote: “The most relevant things about a [Supreme Ct] appointee are his breadth of vision, his imagination, his capacity for disinterested judgment, his power to discover and to surpass his prejudices. Judges must learn to transcend their own convictions”