View Poll Results: Should Supreme Court Justices have had experience as judges?

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  • Absolutely!

    39 48.75%
  • Doesn't matter if they were judges or not.

    36 45.00%
  • Not sure

    5 6.25%
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Thread: Should Supreme Court justices have had experience being a judge at some point?

  1. #81
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    Re: Should Supreme Court justices have had experience being a judge at some point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ockham View Post
    Minimum of 1 year on the bench. Preferable is 2+

    And why?

    And how you account for the list of SCOTUS justices that did not serve as judges prior to being appointed. Specifically, Black, Marshal.

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    Re: Should Supreme Court justices have had experience being a judge at some point?

    Quote Originally Posted by hazlnut View Post
    And why?

    And how you account for the list of SCOTUS justices that did not serve as judges prior to being appointed. Specifically, Black, Marshal.
    ...


    Second, yes, we're all aware that historically, most of the members of the Supreme Court were appointed directly out of political positions. That's because historically, most of the lower federal courts were considered to be unprestigious compared to political positions. As a result, the best legal minds went into politics.

    Nowadays, that is not at all the case. Politics is quite unprestigious compared to legal positions, such as USA. SG, OLC, or Dist. Ct. Judge. As a result, most of the Justices in the modern era have come from the Art. III courts. Citing to Justices from the 1800s as proof that modern Justices should come from private practice is either disingenuous or uninformed.
    There's a reason why it doesn't happen anymore.
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  3. #83
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    Re: Should Supreme Court justices have had experience being a judge at some point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
    What for?

    I do trials all the time. I also do appeals before the state Supreme Court. They are two completely different skills.

    At the trial level, whether something is constitutional or not is hardly ever an issue. My skills have more to do with cross examining and speaking to a jury. I hardly have to discuss minute details about the law at all.

    At the appellate level, I have to do a ton of research, write huge briefs, and then be able to discuss obscure cases and laws with the justices.

    I believe that appellate experience is very important for a Supreme Court justice, but I also think that you can get that experience by arguing in front of them as well as being on the bench.


    Objection your honor

    you have 10 seconds to rule

    that is where experience comes in

    what instant decisions does an appellate judge have to make?

    now I have seen new federal district judges look at experienced career law clerks for how to rule on objections. But in that courtroom they are essentially on their own.

    appellate judges have law clerks and other judges to bounce ideas off of. they get to examine the record and the briefs leisurely. I have done a couple dozen appellate federal arguments and sat through another 100 or so--some judges don't even have to do anything more than sit and listen while three ivy league law review types take notes and check the citations.

    Yeah and being a supreme court or appellate court litigator is just as useful as being a judge for appellate courts. What impressed me about Roberts was not that he was a CoA judge for a couple years-rather he was regarded as one of the top 3-4 USSC advocates in the country

    same with say Peter Keisler-former acting AG. clearly a top choice if the GOP gets the WH back in 12 or 16.



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    Re: Should Supreme Court justices have had experience being a judge at some point?

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    I disagree - While trial level judges certainly need more experience in how to manage a day to day docket and handle actual court appearances, the SC is mostly concerned with how its decisions will be applied by the lower courts. Probably around 25% of the SC's docket is dedicated to fixing the unmanageable tests that earlier SC decisions created for the lower courts. If a Justice has never sat on a lower court, they have no idea how their decisions will be applied and will not appreciate the confusion they can create.
    I completely disagree and CJ Rehnquist was very mindful of the application of USSC decisions to the lower court. and to claim someone cannot appreciate that is bogus. Top appellate litigators (ie Justice Roberts and people like Peter Keisler or Paul Clement) certainly understand that area.

    Top appellate litigators have to deal with USSC rulings as well as CoA judges



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    Re: Should Supreme Court justices have had experience being a judge at some point?

    I'll let Scalia (Mr. Conservative Supreme Himself) state the qualifications and makeup necessary to have a good Supreme Court:
    Scalia: Varied job experience needed on high court
    Jan-3-10 6:08pm
    From: ap.org
    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says he's concerned there aren't more people with varying professional backgrounds being nominated to the nation's highest court.

    Scalia was a federal judge before President Reagan nominated him to the court.

    He said there were three justices with no prior judicial experience back then and today there are none.

    Scalia said he's concerned about the practice because "every aspect of your career broadens your outlook" so "it's good for the court to have people of varying backgrounds."


    Scalia spoke Monday to about 600 people at the First Baptist Church in Jackson during a luncheon sponsored by the Mississippi College School of Law.
    Scalia: Varied job experience needed on high court - Justice Antonin Scalia - Zimbio

    And, with that, I think we can at least dispense with ANY outrage at the nomination of Kagen. It is still reasonable to feel that they ought to have experience. But, any faux outraged people should be directed to Scalia's words.
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    Re: Should Supreme Court justices have had experience being a judge at some point?

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    Citing to Justices from the 1800s as proof that modern Justices should come from private practice is either disingenuous or uninformed.
    Nice try.

    I was obviously giving some factual context to the talking point of the day.

    But you knew that...

    And, you're incorrect, not all liberals and conservatives believe Earl Warren was a failure. Controversial. But, it's easy to claim you know better from the sidelines 3 decades after the fact.

    And, I was talking about Black/Marshal--both 20th century--neither were judges.

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    Re: Should Supreme Court justices have had experience being a judge at some point?

    Does anybody else notice something interesting about this poll? It seems to be ideologically independent. That is, you have members of the right and left voting both ways here. The vote is split for both camps. I must say that this is a rare occurrence.
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    Re: Should Supreme Court justices have had experience being a judge at some point?

    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleDude View Post
    I completely disagree and CJ Rehnquist was very mindful of the application of USSC decisions to the lower court. and to claim someone cannot appreciate that is bogus. Top appellate litigators (ie Justice Roberts and people like Peter Keisler or Paul Clement) certainly understand that area.

    Top appellate litigators have to deal with USSC rulings as well as CoA judges
    I erred in saying that they couldn't appreciate it without judicial experience, but I stand by my point that it's less likely. You're right that experienced appellate litigators (as well as those who have dealt with these issues from the government side) will have a solid understanding of their impact, but non-judges as a whole are less likely to understand the issues than are judges.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dezaad View Post
    And, with that, I think we can at least dispense with ANY outrage at the nomination of Kagen. It is still reasonable to feel that they ought to have experience. But, any faux outraged people should be directed to Scalia's words.
    You're assuming that any "outrage" over Kagan's nomination is entirely predicated on her lack of judicial experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by hazlnut
    Nice try.

    I was obviously giving some factual context to the talking point of the day.

    But you knew that...

    And, you're incorrect, not all liberals and conservatives believe Earl Warren was a failure. Controversial. But, it's easy to claim you know better from the sidelines 3 decades after the fact.

    And, I was talking about Black/Marshal--both 20th century--neither were judges.
    And I was pointing out that your list was overwhelmingly weighted toward historical judges. Given the vast differences in the way politics and the courts worked in the past, such information is of little or no use in determining the common practice in today's era.

    I don't need to "explain" Hugo Black or Thurgood Marshall, as I never claimed that one could not be a good SC Justice without prior judicial experience. However, it's worth noting that Black was appointed in the 1930's, and that Marshall (like Warren) is best remembered for things other than his decisions on the court. Marshall is one of my heroes, but it was his actions prior to taking his seat that earned him his place in history.
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    Re: Should Supreme Court justices have had experience being a judge at some point?

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post



    You're assuming that any "outrage" over Kagan's nomination is entirely predicated on her lack of judicial experience.


    Ugh, so I seemed to mean, but I did misstate my thinking. I meant any outrage at her supposed lack of experience.
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    Re: Should Supreme Court justices have had experience being a judge at some point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dezaad View Post
    Ugh, so I seemed to mean, but I did misstate my thinking. I meant any outrage at her supposed lack of experience.
    That's fair, though it also assumes that people must agree with Scalia on that point.
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