Report details ways in which Supreme Court should be more open and accountable in 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Fix the Court today is releasing a “prebuttal” to Chief Justice John Roberts’ year-end report, detailing the ways in which the Supreme Court failed to meet expectations of transparency in 2015 and offering concrete suggestions on how the judiciary should modernize in the coming year. The report comes ahead of Chief Justice Roberts’ year-end report out December 31.
In response both to its institutional inertia and to a number of milestones that occurred in the last 12 months, Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth is calling on Roberts and his third branch colleagues to implement the following reforms:
- The expansion of the federal cameras-in-courts pilot program, which ended in July;
- The creation of a judiciary-wide program to mitigate cognitive decline in aging judges and justices, which has gained increased interest given rising average lengths of tenure and the high likelihood of selective judicial retirements as soon as the next President is sworn in; and
- The implementation of a more effective conflict-check system among Supreme Court justices to prevent the recurrence of conflicts arising around recusals, as in October’s FERC v. EPSA.
“The reforms Fix the Court is proposing merely ask the justices to play by the same rules as officials in other branches and suggest positive steps that would ensure they are operating at full capacity before the full public,” Roth said.
“By enacting policy changes regarding link rot, slip opinions and line-standing in the last year, the Supreme Court has demonstrated it has the capacity to modernize. But these reforms are mainly useful to just a handful of court-watchers and D.C. insiders, and Chief Justice Roberts should look to implement reforms in 2016 that will make the court more accessible to the American public at large,” Roth added.