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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 27, 2005 / 18 Iyar, 5765

The case for judicial term limits

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The deal that pulled the Senate back from the brink of a shootout over judicial nominations this week didn't really settle anything. Democrats retain the right to filibuster future nominees "under extraordinary circumstances" — a phrase it is left to them to define. Republicans can still go "nuclear" — change the Senate rules to block a filibuster of judicial nominations — if they decide the Democrats are acting in "bad faith." Odds are the deal will collapse as soon as the next vacancy opens up on the Supreme Court. Assuming President Bush sends up a nominee whose ideological profile matches those of the sitting justices he says are his favorites — conservatives Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — Democrats and Republicans will square off and the Senate will be back at the OK Corral.

And, really, how could it be otherwise? The Supreme Court has become an immensely powerful institution, one that sets national policy on a host of contentious issues from abortion to race to property rights. Is prayer permissible at a high school commencement? The Supreme Court decides. Can Congress ban political ads that mention candidates by name? Ask the Supreme Court. May a state execute a 17-year-old murderer? Prohibit flag-burning? Authorize medical marijuana? It's up to the Supreme Court.

Alexander Hamilton described the judiciary as the ''least dangerous branch," since it had no authority to appropriate funds and no way to enforce its decisions. But federal courts today exercise powers the Framers never gave them. They overturn laws passed by legislators, constitutionalize rights not enumerated in the Constitution, and even determine the outcome of a presidential election. And if that doesn't make them potent enough, federal judges hold their jobs for life. They are unelected, unaccountable — and enormously influential. Is it any wonder that judicial appointments are fought over so fiercely? So much is riding on the outcome.

Ultimately, the only way to reduce the acrimony is to make the judges less powerful. That could be accomplished by eliminating judicial review or enacting limits on the courts' jurisdiction. But there is an easier and more realistic approach: Do away with lifetime tenure.

When the Constitution's authors established a judiciary with unlimited terms, adult life expectancy in the United States was around 40 — half of what it is today. Between 1789 and 1970, Supreme Court justices served an average of just over 15 years and retired at 65 1/2. Since 1970, justices have stayed on the court for an average of 25.5 years, and their age at retirement has climbed to nearly 79. That can hardly be what the Framers envisioned.

No president can hold power for more than eight years, but the most junior member of the current court — Stephen Breyer — has already been there for 11 years. Two others, John Paul Stevens and Chief Justice William Rehnquist, have been on the court for more than 30 years.

For at least four reasons, this is not a good thing.

First and most obviously, lifetime tenure vastly increases the stakes in filling each Supreme Court (and Court of Appeals) vacancy. Senate battles over judicial nominations would not be so bitter if the consequences of losing weren't likely to persist for decades. Second, high court justices are tempted by the current arrangement to time their resignations for political reasons. Liberal judges have an incentive to stay on the bench until Democrats control the White House and/or the Senate, while conservatives wait until Republicans are in charge.

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Third, as law professors Akhil Reed Amar of Yale and Steven Calabresi of Northwestern wrote in 2002, ''life tenure encourages presidents to nominate young candidates with minimal paper trails and maximal potential to shape the future" — by passing up more experienced individuals whose resumes might trigger an ideological assault. And fourth, with justices staying on the court longer than ever, the judiciary is deprived of regular infusions of new blood. Result: a decrease in intellectual vigor and awareness of contemporary culture.

The argument in favor of life tenure for federal judges is that it strengthens them against political attack and outside influence, making it easier to render unpopular decisions without fear. ''The Constitution protects judicial independence not to benefit judges," Rehnquist wrote in his 2004 year-end report on the federal judiciary, ''but to promote the rule of law: judges are expected to administer the law fairly, without regard to public reaction."

But life tenure can be replaced with fixed judicial terms without weakening the autonomy of the federal judiciary. No one questions the independence of the governors of the Federal Reserve, who like judges are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate but who are limited to 14-year terms. Likewise the comptroller general — the federal ''watchdog" — whose term lasts 15 years.

Why not a similar arrangement for high-ranking federal judges? Amending the Constitution is never easy, but the situation cries out for reform. Senators shouldn't have to threaten each other with ''nuclear" attack in order to bring judicial nominees to a vote. If there were less at stake — if Supreme Court and appeals court judges no longer served for life — they would no longer feel the need to do so.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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