CRF Blog

The Supreme Court needs an institutional overhaul

by Bill Hayes

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, law professor Jonathan Turley argues that The Supreme Court needs an institutional overhaul.

As an institution, the nation’s highest court is anachronistic, dysfunctional and long-overdue for an overhaul. Real change could be accomplished with just three basic reforms.

First, the court is too small. When the first Supreme Court convened in 1790, at the Royal Exchange Building in New York City, only two of the then six-member court showed up. For many years, the size of the court was set by the number of “circuits” — the regional appellate courts in the country. In 1869, that number was nine. While we currently have 13 such circuits, the court remained frozen at nine justices. [more]