What current Supreme Court should do?
The recent editorial article by Greg Stohr “Supreme Court trying to avert deadlock in key cases” was a important commentary on the current court of eight justices and the potential difficulty of getting to a majority opinion on some important cases.
That said, one could argue that these imminent jurists should be able to work toward super majorities (even unanimous decisions) in interpreting the Constitution. This may be mixing “apples and oranges” when one notes that under U.S. laws juries of citizens are required to agree unanimously as to the guilt (or non-guilt) of defendants in criminal cases. They are both portions of our judicial system, and the Supreme Court (like juries) meets behind closed doors to discuss cases before any decisions are written and announced.
Historical accounts say that the Warren Court continued to discuss the important Brown vs. Board of Education decision until they could release a unanimous decision. It is naïve to think that the justices do not have political differences and the court is not a political (who gets what, when and how) institution, but five to four and/or 4 to 3 decisions often exacerbate partisanship and divisiveness. Wouldn’t it be better that they worked out the appropriate and pertinent Constitutional principles to come up with more unanimous (or at least super majority) opinions. Possibly having the even number 8 (vs. 9) jurists on the court ‘might’ help?
– Laurel Mayer, Fairborn