Following Chief Justice John Roberts’ talk to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth released this statement:
Chief Justice Roberts missed an opportunity today by not using his address to offer solutions to the structural and legal problems caused by an eight-member Supreme Court.
Roberts could have proposed creating a bipartisan nominating commission to find individuals palatable to both parties to fill high court vacancies. He could have announced an effort to produce more narrow holdings on closely divided cases that would garner at least five votes. He could even have responded to Sen. Grassley’s criticism of him and his institution from last week.
Since this may be far from the last time partisan entrenchment imperils the work of the Supreme Court, and since neither Congress nor the President has offered solutions to the structural deficiencies that are yielding a likely year-plus vacancy, the Chief Justice has a duty to his institution and to the American people to speak up and recommend a way out of this type of crisis for now and into the future.