Supreme court needs balance

By Jasmine King

Contributing Writer

For the past few years, there has been much controversy surrounding the Supreme Court and the policy of replacing a Justice who has retired from the position or died. In this respect, if a Justice is in need of replacement, the replacement should have the same political, social and economic values as the person she or he is replacing. Right now the Supreme Court has four liberals (Ginsberg, Sotomayor, Kagan and Breyer), four conservatives (Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas) and one who is the “swing vote” (Kennedy). There is currently a sense of balance between liberals and conservatives that the United States did not have in previous years.

The next Justice foreseen to retire is Ginsberg, the Court’s most liberal member, and the President in office during her retirement must replace her with another liberal. Keeping the balance that our Court has had for the past few years has worked well. The diverse natures of the Justices allow them to bring their own unique experiences and values to the Court. With this balance, Americans may not be happy about every verdict, but they will not be able to say that our court system favors one side over the other. I believe that the Supreme Court does well at keeping to the law and recognizing both sides of the spectrum.

In previous years conservatives have undoubtedly overruled the Court. This may not have posed a problem in the past, but American society is changing in the way that we view issues; conservative is not always better now. In the recent case Maples v. Thomas, it was decided 7-2 that death row inmate Cory R. Maples, convicted of murder, should get a new hearing in Alabama. This ruling was overwhelmingly liberal-based. The two Justices who opposed this ruling, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, dissented, maintaining that “Maples did have some form of representation from the N.Y. firm and from a local Alabama attorney retained solely for procedural reasons” (Death Penalty Information Center). The fact that Scalia and Thomas voted against this verdict makes sense in that conservatives tend to favor the death penalty.

If the Court was full of raging conservatives like Scalia and Thomas, our justice system would not give second chances. The Supreme Court would be unforgiving and be one-sided, and so would our entire country. But then, conservatives could say the same thing about liberals–the key to a successful Court is balance.

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