Appendix C1 – Explanations and Reasons[1] for a Proposed A Judiciary for the People Amendment

 

Some tout the US government’s judiciary branch as the most independent branch, noting federal judiciary members are unelected but appointed for life. So, they owe no Individual or group for a position they have or want. This notion is far from true.

While still in law school and before a federal judiciary career, those wanting a federal judiciary career pander to the right or left factions in this country. They pander in what they write and in their decisions to better a chance for an appointment. They will also engage in campaign fundraising for the side to which they have committed themselves. They do this pandering hoping when the side to which they have pandered and supported is in power, they will receive an appointment.

Those that are convincing in their pandering have a better chance of being appointed. This pandering continues once they are in an appointed office so that their odds are better for receiving higher and higher appointments in the federal judiciary.

This Judiciary Amendment dramatically reduces the need for judges convincing a faction that they will decide cases based on a faction’s philosophies and beliefs. Coupled with congressional changes in the 28th Amendment, which diminishes the tendency for extreme divisions and polarization of Congress, judges will be more unrestrained. They can decide cases solely on their unbiased interpretation of the law.

There will eventually be nineteen justices instead of nine. Further, this Amendment sets all Federal Judges' and Magistrates’ payments and term lengths.

Selection: Except for Supreme Court’s chief justices, the Senate randomly picks four qualified volunteers as candidates for a judicial appointment. A Qualifications Review Committee, QRC advises the Senate which of the four candidates is the most suitable. The Senate elects which candidate will fill a judgeship.

Term lengths: Judicial term lengths should be long enough for getting good work from qualified candidates who would gain experience in the office. Terms should be short enough for having a good influx of new judges with fresh perspectives. Federal judicial terms will be twenty-two years except for Supreme Court terms, which will be twelve years.

Chief justice Selection: The Senate will randomly select from Associate Supreme Court Justices for two-year terms chief judges for the Supreme Court. The two-year term will afford different perspectives into that position more quickly.

Filling a total of nineteen Supreme Court Seats: The Amendment, for a smooth transition, gradually over four years, increases the court from nine into a nineteen-justice court. The larger court better ensures a court is more diversified and more representative of the nation.

Already made appointments: Diminishing an appointment that someone already has would be unfair. Accordingly, this Amendment will leave unaltered any already made federal Judge or Magistrate appointment except to raise in-office or retirement payment.

Qualifications: No one who has a felony or misdemeanor conviction can be in the federal judicial system as a judge or a magistrate. All new Federal Judges or Magistrates must agree that they will forego, with limited exceptions, any income other than their payment from the federal judiciary system. For the Supreme Court, volunteers must have been appellate judges for at least five years and less than seventy-three years old. A qualified volunteer for an appellate judge must have been a federal judge or magistrate for at least five years and less than sixty-three years old. A qualified volunteer for a federal judge or magistrate must be a US citizen, at least 30 years old, less than sixty-three years old, have a bachelor’s and a law degree, and have at least five years’ court experience.

Payment: All active and retired after at least twenty-two years as a Federal Judge or Magistrate, or who the Senate determines that because of physical or mental incapacitation are unable to continue serving will receive a percentage of the Current Congressional Amount of Pay, CCAP. The 28th United States Constitution Amendment defines CCAP. The percentage of CCAP that they will receive is as follows:175% for Supreme Court chief justices and Supreme Court Associate Justices; 150% for Court of Appeals Justices; 135% for Federal Judges and Magistrates.

Federal Judges and Magistrates who retire before the end of their term for any reason other than physical or mental incapacitation as judged by the Senate, before serving at least twenty-two years in the federal judicial system, will have their retirement payment prorated down.

If a current or former VARS federal judge or magistrate is found guilty of committing a felony offense while holding their office, they no longer remain in office. Their payment will be 25% of what retirement pay would have been according to the length of time served in the federal judiciary.

Survivor Benefits: This Amendment specifies survivor benefits for Entitled Spouses of 85% of what their spouse would have received if they lived. Before they marry or before their spouse takes office, they can agree to pay the US Government any other payment; they then will be an Entitled Spouse. Sharing of survivor benefits can accommodate any divorce settlements for ex-Entitled Spouses.

Taxes on Income: Judges of the law, if possible, should experience all laws’ benefits and burdens, including those of tax laws. They must pay the required taxes. The US Government will pay all the lawful taxes on remittances received (including state and local taxes).

Recall and Discipline Process: A vote of 75% of the Senate’s voting members can recall federal judges and magistrates. Those recalled would receive 75% of regular retirement pay. This reduction provides a financial incentive to avoid a recall.

Random Selection Procedures: The Senate will determine these.

Enforcement: The Congress must enforce, by appropriate legislation, provisions of the Amendment.

 

Passage Time Limit: The more recent US Constitution amendments have a seven-year passage time limit clause. This Amendment keeps that exact clause. Many opposing this Amendment will try invalidating this Amendment for any reason.

 

This passage of time precedent was followed, avoiding a flimsy invalidation excuse.

This Amendment, especially when coupled with the 28th and Presidency Amendments, will reduce partisan and monied unique interest individuals’ and groups’ influence on courts’ decisions and increase the written law’s effect on courts’ decisions.

 

 

 

 

[1] Please see the following draft of the proposed Judiciary Amendment for the precise details of what the amendment requires. The above reasons and explanations are a simpler overview.

Appendix C2 – A Judiciary for the People Amendment – Ratified after 2084?

 

Amendment ???: This United States of America Constitution Amendment’s purpose is for transitioning from the President nominating and the Senate confirming Federal Judges and Magistrates. The Senate will have Voted in After Random Selection, VARS, voluntary qualified candidates for Federal Judges and Magistrates. Also, this Amendment enlarges the US Supreme Court. There will eventually be nineteen justices. Further, it sets all Federal Judges and Magistrates’ payments and term lengths.

1. Selection: After this Amendment’s passage, upon a federal judicial seat’s vacancy or anticipated vacancy, except for the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the Senate will fill it as follows. If there are more than four qualified volunteers, the Senate will randomly select four qualified candidates from the volunteers. If there are four or fewer qualified volunteers, these will be the candidates.

The Senate will have established a Qualifications Review Committee, QRC. This committee will all have Senators and perhaps others for reviewing candidates’ qualifications. QRC will tell the full Senate a candidate QRC determines is the position’s most suitable candidate and why, as soon as practicable. Then, as soon as realistic, the full Senate will vote on all candidates.

If a candidate receives 50% of the vote, they will be the VARS Judge or Magistrate. Otherwise, the full Senate will vote on the two candidates having received the most votes determining the VARS Judge. The Senate will randomly pick to settle an election result for any tie.

2. Term lengths: VARS Supreme Court Justices’ term lengths are twelve years total. During this twelve-year term, they may be the chief justice during one or more two-year periods. All other Federal Judges and Magistrates’ term lengths are twenty-two years. No one can hold more than one seat at a time as a federal judiciary judge or Magistrate. They must leave a term before it ends, if necessary, for serving a different federal judiciary seat’s entire period for which the Senate elects them.

3. Chief justice selection: When the chief justice seat becomes vacant, the Senate will randomly select a chief justice for a two-year chief justice term. They will choose from those Associate Supreme Court Justices who either have a lifetime appointment or have served greater than two years and less than ten years as a VARS Associate Supreme Court Justice without being the chief justice. If there are none, The Senate will randomly choose a chief justice from those Associate Justices who have served as the chief justice.

After the end of the two years as chief justice, they will resume their Associate Justice seat for either the remainder of their lifetime appointed term or until a VARS Justice has served on the Supreme Court for a total of twelve years.

4. Filling a total of nineteen Supreme Court Seats: Upon passage, this Amendment creates two new Supreme Court Justice seats. In addition, this Amendment establishes two additional Supreme Court Justice seats on the enactment’s anniversary every year for four years, making nineteen US Supreme Court seats.

5. Already made appointments:  This Amendment will leave unaltered any already made federal Judge or Magistrate appointment except to raise in-office or retirement payment.

6. Qualifications: Qualifications for a VARS United States Supreme Court Justice candidate are:

A) Volunteering in writing,

B) Having been a United States Appeals Court Judge for a minimum of five years during the last thirteen  years,

C) Being less than seventy-three years old, and

D) Being without a felony or misdemeanor conviction.

Qualifications for a VARS United States Appeals Court Judge candidate are:

E) Volunteering in writing.

F) Have been a United States District Judge or any other Federal Judge or Magistrate established by Congress for a maximum of twenty  years and a minimum of five years during the last thirteen years,

G) Being less than sixty-three years old, and

H) Being without a felony or misdemeanor conviction,

 

The qualifications of a candidate for a VARS United States District Judge or any other Federal Judge or Magistrate established by Congress are:

I) Being a United States Citizen and volunteering in writing,

J Being at least thirty years old,

K) Being less than sixty-three years old,

L) Having received a United States Department of Education accredited college or university four-year bachelor’s degree and law degree,

M) At least five years within the previous thirteen years has been a trial lawyer, prosecuting attorney, or trial judge in the US federal court system, any state courts, any district courts, or any territorial courts within the US,

N) Being without a felony or misdemeanor conviction,

O) Have signed a Payment Agreement that if selected and seated in the federal judiciary, for the rest of their life, they would remit to the United States Government as soon as practicable the value of any income they receive, with certain exceptions.

The US Government must pay any lawful taxes, including state and local taxes, that would have been due by those who remitted that amount had they kept it.

The exceptions are:

i) The highest salary or retirement payment they earned for serving in the federal judiciary system,

(A prior agreement may require them to give the United States Government this as in the case for former VARS Congress members.)

ii) Retirement payment they qualified for before entering the federal judiciary,

iii) Inheritance, and

iv) Earnings from assets kept in blind trusts.

 

Anyone meeting the qualifications in I, N, O above and less than fifty years of age may receive a student loan from the Federal Government to fulfill the required qualification in L above. The Federal Government will forgive these loans and all accrued interest if the borrower:

P) Completes the required qualifications and does volunteer for being either a VARS Federal Judge or a VARS Congress member and remains a volunteer for a minimum of fourteen years or,

Q) is selected and completes the required term as a VARS Judge or a VARS Congress member or,

R) Fails P) and Q) because of their death, recall, physical incapacitation, or mental incapacitation. (The Senate will determine incapacitation.)

Otherwise, the borrowers must repay their student loans and all accrued interest at the Federal funds rate.

7. Payment: All active and retired after at least twenty-two years as a Federal Judge or Magistrate, or who the Senate determines that because of physical or mental incapacitation cannot continue serving will receive a percentage of the Current Congressional Amount of Pay, CCAP. The 28th United States Constitution Amendment defines CCAP. The percentage of CCAP that they will receive is 175% for Supreme Court chief justices and Supreme Court Associate Justices, 150% for Court of Appeals Justices, 135% for Federal Judges and Magistrates.

Any of these who retire before serving at least twenty-two years in the federal judicial system for any reason other than physical or mental incapacitation as judged by the Senate will have their retirement payment prorated down by the percent of twenty-two years they served.

No one will receive more than one federal judiciary retirement income.

If a current or former VARS federal judge or magistrate is found guilty of committing a felony offense while holding their office, they will no longer remain in their office. Their payment will be 25% of what their retirement pay would have been according to the length of time they served in the federal judiciary. In all these cases, the former officeholder must still remit to the United States Government any other income they receive with those exceptions provided in the United States Constitution.

8. Survivor Benefits: Before a VARS Federal Judge or Magistrate beginning their term in office or marrying, their spouse or intended spouse may become an Entitled Spouse. Their spouse or intended spouse can sign an agreement that for the rest of their life, they would remit to the United States Government as soon as practicable the value of any income they receive, with certain exceptions. The exceptions are the same as described above. If they sign the agreement, they would be an Entitled Spouse.

After a current or former VARS Federal Judge or Magistrate’s death, their sole surviving Entitled Spouse would receive for life 85% of the payment which their spouse would receive if they were alive. However, this would decrease by 100% of any divorce settlement amounts to which any ex-Entitled Spouses are entitled. These payments would continue till an ex-Entitled Spouse dies. These surviving Entitled Spouses’ and any ex-Entitled Spouses’ continued payments total will remain unchanged with the sum at or below 85% of the payment which this deceased spouse would receive if they were alive.

9. Taxes on Income: Active and retired VARS Federal Judges, their Entitled Spouse, and any ex-Entitled Spouse will pay all in place income taxes. If they must remit any of this income to the United States Government, the United States Government will pay any lawful taxes. These include the state and local taxes that would have been due on the remitted income had they kept it.

10. Recall and Discipline Process: The Senate can recall any VARS Federal Judge If 75% of all voting members of the Senate vote for recall. The Senate will fill the vacated seat by the procedures described above.

The established disciplinary process within the federal judiciary system will continue and impose discipline. However, the Supreme Court may change this process.

Recalled members and their Entitled Spouses and ex-Entitled Spouses will receive 75% of the payments described above, and the agreements described above that they may have signed would still bind them.

11. Random Selection Procedures: the Senate will determine all random procedures mentioned in this Amendment.

12. Enforcement: By appropriate legislation, Congress must enforce the provisions of this article. 

13. Passage Time Limit: This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an Amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.