Tuesday, December 26, 2017

My SCOTUS 12 Days of Christmas Wish List

By Eric Segall

This term the Supreme Court is tackling an array of important constitutional questions, including how states organize their voting districts, the relationship between sexual orientation discrimination and freedom of speech and religion, and whether states may charge state employees mandatory fees for the work public sector unions do on their behalf. I certainly have a rooting interest in all three cases: please do something about partisan redistricting; don't cave to the discrimination is really free speech/freedom of religion trope; and, of course,s tates can charge fees to public sector union workers without first amendment restraint. However, my wish list is less substantive, but still important. So here goes:



1) The American people want to see the Supreme Court's oral arguments and decision announcements. State courts, courts in other countries, fake TV courts, all show their public hearings. Enough is enough. Put cameras in the Court, and in lower federal courts too.

2) If you really can't stomach Number 1, live audio is next best. That is like 1950's radio.

3) The Court should get out of the business of putting false deadlines on itself and announcing most important decisions at the end of June. Do the Justices really need a summer vacation like fourth graders? Thousands of other judges don't do this, so why should SCOTUS? The quality of decisions may go way up without false deadlines.

4) When a Justice recuses, please provide an explanation. This is basic rule of law stuff.

5) When a Justice is formally asked to recuse and declines, please provide an explanation. This is basic rule of law stuff.

6) Where possible, inform the parties and the media 24 hours in advance of when the case is going to be announced. This is just basic fairness and good faith stuff.

7) To Justice Gorsuch, when you vote in favor of the Colorado baker and against public sector unions, two aggressive anti-states' right decisions, please explain how the original meaning of the First Amendment justifies both opinions. You are limited to the time period 1776-1800ish and 1868-1875ish. I double-dare you.

8) To Justice Ginsburg, please keep working out and eating well.

9) To Justice Thomas, say something, anything, please.

10) For the love of God, hire more female and people of color law clerks from more diverse schools than Harvard and Yale.

11) Please don't have any line-ups more complicated than 5-4, 6-3, 7-2, 8-1, 9-0. We are lawyers, not accountants.

12). To Justice Kennedy, please, please, please don't retire. Also, remember that you are the champion of gay rights.

Happy Holidays to one and all!!!