Pepperdine Caruso Law Hosts Panel on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court Seat
On Friday, September 25, Pepperdine Caruso Law hosted a panel discussion organized by students on Justice Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat with panelists Professors Christine Chambers Goodman, Barry McDonald, and Mark Scarberry, which was moderated by Dean Chalak Richards. The panelists began the program by mourning Justice Ginsburg and honoring her remarkable legacy on the Supreme Court.
The panelists then turned to a discussion on the issue of Supreme Court Justice nominations during presidential election years, the concept of expanding the Court, and the possibility of enacting term or age limits. The panelists noted that the Constitution is silent regarding the timing of when a president may fill a Supreme Court seat, does not specify the number of Justices who may serve on the Court, and states only that federal judges may hold their offices during good behavior. Any changes would depend on congressional and legislative action. The panelists also discussed the increasing public focus on the court, observing that Supreme Court appointees have come to the forefront of presidential election issues and that many people consider the makeup of the Court the most important part of the political process in protecting and expanding constitutional rights.
In the question and answer segment of the program, the panelists were asked by students about the apparent political polarization of the Supreme Court and judicial neutrality; the possibility of individual rights being altered and the weight of case precedent; the qualifications of nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett; a possible limitation on how many Supreme Court Justice nominations each President may make; and if the country has an idealized concept of democracy and the protection of rights. The panelists agreed that the effects of filling Justice Ginsburg's seat will be seen soon and over a very long period of time, and that the conversation on all of these issues is still unfolding.