George Washington's first Supreme Court justices were from up and down the coast of the original states. He believed the court should be drawn from the different sections of the new country, with no section of the country dominating the court and no section neglected. That was supposed to be a tradition to be followed down through the life of the country.
Times have certainly changed. The court is now unrepresentative of the diversity of the nation.
Before Justice Scalia's death, five justices were from the greater New York area, Justices Ginsburg from Brooklyn, Kagan from New York City, Sotomayor from Bronx, Scalia from Trenton, New Jersey, and Alito, also from Trenton. Chief Justice Roberts is from Buffalo, New York. Justice Thomas is from the Pinpoint community near Savannah, Georgia. Justices Kennedy and Breyer are both from California, Sacramento and San Francisco, respectively.
It is clear that we have gotten away from the fair and demographically representative court that President Washington desired it to be. He wanted a court that broadly represented the viewpoint of those that had fought and won the revolution.
We do not have that today, much to the hurt of the nation as a whole. If Judge Garland, who is from Chicago, is confirmed that will produce a court that is made up of five Roman Catholics and four Jewish members. I don't have to check any history books to know that Catholics and Jews had little to do with our revolution or producing the documents upon which the legal structure of our government is founded. Yet, ironically and unjustly, the descendants of the folks that brought this country into being are not represented on the court. That is wrong and needs to be changed.
There has been a lot of talk about a constitutional convention in the past few years in order to institute term limits of senators and congressmen. We need to also change the way the Supreme Court is set up. I say take it out of the hands of the president and Senate and give it to the people where it belongs. What we have now is adjudication without representation, which is grossly unfair.
Divide the country into nine sections with each choosing a judge for the court. The legislatures of the states could put forth qualified candidates and the people could vote on the ones who survive the vetting process that takes place between the states in that particular section. Any process would take time to perfect, but would be a hundred times better than what we have today.
The court we have today is oppressively unjust. We would not have the laws on the books today that cause so much societal harm and instability if we had a court that truly represented the moral views of the majority of the American people.
Every senator and congressman should be glad to support a constitutional amendment that would give more and fairer judicial power to the citizens of his or her section of the country.
We need a diverse court made up of a cross section of all Americans, not just those from Harvard or Yale of those who champion a president's secular viewpoint that he wishes to impose on people that don't share or respect it.
-- Gary H. Knight, Holly Hill