Supreme Court May Have Too Many Judges

Is the High Court Too 'Judgey'?
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2009 4:30 PM CST
Members of the U.S. Supreme Court.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Chief Justice John Roberts recently praised the present makeup of the Supreme Court, which, for the first time in history, consists only of former federal appeals judges. The move towards a Court dominated by those with judicial experience has been afoot since the 1950s, writes Adam Liptak in the New York Times, but not all watchers think it’s a good thing.

“The correlation between prior judicial experience and fitness for the functions of the Supreme Court is zero,” wrote former justice Felix Frankfurter in 1957. And a recent UPenn study showed no difference in decisions made by former judges and “justices lacking judicial experience.” Perhaps another figure is more disturbing: Only three Supreme Court judges have been appointed without private practice experience—and they're all on the bench now.