As the highest court in the nation, the United States Supreme Court is responsible for making final decisions on the legality of cases which are in dispute. The Supreme Court draws strong arguments both for and against its constitutionality as well as criticisms regarding the rules and procedures of the court. While advocates tout the history of groundbreaking decisions made by the court, critics point to the need for the revision of Supreme Court policy.
Once appointed to the United States Supreme Court, justices may enjoy the benefits of lifetime appointment. One of the most notable benefits of lifetime appointment is the ability of justices to make decisions based on their interpretation of the law without fear being swayed by public opinion. However, the policy of lifetime appointment also has its drawbacks. The main negative being that lifetime appointment limits the court to fresh ideas and viewpoints that may be provided through regular replacements.
The Effect of Politics
Justices of the United States Supreme Court are appointed by the sitting president. This sometimes creates criticism on both sides of the political spectrum. Justices who are appointed by Democratic presidents are often criticized as too liberal in their interpretations of the law, while justices who are appointed by Republican presidents are often criticized as being too conservative. Advocates of the Supreme Court, however, note that presidential appointment allows for a proper balance, which is determined by national voters.
Conflicts of Interest
Justices of the United States Supreme Court are required to be impartial in their determinations and are required to base their decisions on fact, not emotion. Criticisms sometimes erupt over decisions made by the Supreme Court that are based on arguments that justices are swayed by their own personal beliefs and are making their determinations based on personal preference as opposed to strict interpretation of the law. Advocates of the United States Supreme Court, however, argue that the presence of multiple justices helps to ensure a well-rounded opinion based on interpretation of the Constitution.
The fact that justices of the Supreme Court hold differing views can be both beneficial and detrimental to some decisions. When determining the legality of a case, differing viewpoints among multiple judges can sometimes lead to differing conclusions. This can lead to a sometimes long appeals process while the court works toward common ground. Varying views can also be beneficial, however, as they allow each justice to obtain a well-rounded view of the case in issue.
- Accuracy in Media; Criticism of Supreme Court Critics and of the Supreme Court; Paul M. Weyrich; 2006
- "Forbes" Magazine; How to End the Supreme Court Appointments Battle; Bruce Bartlett; 2009
- Supreme Court of the United States: A Brief Overview of the Supreme Court
- Laws.com: Purpose of Lifetime Appointment and Pros and Cons
- CBS News; Supreme Court Contenders: Pros and Cons; Jan Crawford; May 6, 2010
- Protect Our Elections; Rep. Chris Murphy Announces Bill to End Supreme Court Immunity to Judicial Ethics Law; Feb. 18, 2011
Rebekah Worsham began writing professionally in 2007 and has been published on eHow. She has expertise in the fields of law, parapsychology and the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. She holds a degrees in law from Beckfield College.