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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Supreme Court tenure should be removable

- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2010

"Kagan's kabuki theater" (Comment & Analysis, Wednesday) says that "the Senate should revise its procedures so that nominees are no longer allowed to disguise and distort - or even lie about - their true beliefs." Unfortunately, that's not enough.

No improved procedure would have sufficed to keep Sonia Sotomayor from being confirmed by this Senate. Nor are there enough votes there to reject Elena Kagan, however unqualified she may be for the highest court in the land.

What we really need is a procedure for the removal of Supreme Court justices. Humans being fallible, including voters and judges equally, it makes no sense for any judgeship to be permanent and immovable. Our judiciary, and in particular the Supreme Court, far from being insulated from politics, is today a product of it. Partisan politics, as we are seeing, all too often trump the rule of law.

Naturally, any such procedure should be rigorous in the extreme so as to preserve the judiciary's independence. Removing a Supreme Court justice should be as difficult as amending the Constitution. In fact, one possibility might be to extend Article V to cover not just constitutional amendments, but also the removal of a Supreme Court justice.

Making it possible, although with difficulty, for the people to remove a Supreme Court justice would help blunt the influence politics exercise on the court.

JOHN S. MASON JR.

Alexandria, Va.

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