21
Aug
10

Senator Floats Solution for Gaps on High Court

Justice John Paul Stevens has been retired from the Supreme Court for more than a month. Maybe it’s time to bring him back.

Or perhaps Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Since she left in 2006, she’s been crisscrossing the nation denouncing the evils of electing judges rather than appointing them, and serving on important federal and state commissions.

Along the way, she’s filled in and decided cases with almost every federal appellate court in the nation. Save one. The one to which she was appointed in 1981.

Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, is pondering whether a change is needed. He’s considering legislation that would allow retired members of the Supreme Court to replace justices who have recused themselves in a particular case.

This would avoid the court potentially splitting 4 to 4 on a case and, Leahy hopes, encourage justices to recuse themselves more often when there is an appearance of conflict.

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