The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gee. We never thought of that.

Bob Mercer says:

When you wake up too early you can have too much time to think. With that caveat, let me suggest there might be a danger hidden in the plan to relax mandatory retirement for South Dakota circuit judges and Supreme Court justices. The legislation that flew out of the Senate on Thursday would let the chief justice decide on a year to year basis whether judges and justices can continue to serve out their elected terms past the mandatory retirement age of 70. The danger, of course, is that raises the potential to remove some independence from a judge or justice. He or she becomes dependent on the good favor of the chief justice. At the circuit level that might not seem so clear-cut, but at the Supreme Court, a majority of three among the five can decide things. Would it happen? Rather than ask and speculate over that question, maybe everyone would be better off if the potential simply isn’t there.

Circuit judges serve 12-year terms. A judge could serve 10 years after he turns 70. A judge can do a lot of harm in 10 years, especially if he's a Supreme Court Justice voting the way the Chief Justice wants him to.

Stace Nelson commented on Mercer's post. He asked what bill that was.

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