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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

According to Boris Johnson, Conservative mayor of London, "Democracy and capitalism are the two great pillars of the American idea. To have rocked one of those pillars may be regarded as a misfortune. To have damaged the reputation of both, at home and abroad, is a pretty stunning achievement for an American president."

But it appears that Johnson was stopping a bit short. The three great pillars of the American tripod are democracy, capitalism and impartial justice. And Bush has damaged all three, maybe irreparably.

Mike Cope

Cape Town, South Africa

Oct 22 2008 - 2:39am

Web Letter

The article by Herman Schwartz on the impact that any presidential election has on Supreme Court nominees only confirms for me the idea that the stakes are just too high for both liberals and conservatives. I dare to say it out loud, the founders of our country got it wrong in providing for the lifetime appointment of federal judges. Even if lifetime service was not the wrong policy earlier in our history, it is the wrong policy now. In a nation of 300 million people, we have plenty of legal talent.

Some historians argure that the founders provided life terms as the best way to insulate judges from the transient passions of the day and conflicts of interest. But even insulation can be excessive. Many democracies put reasonable term limits on their high court judges. A single term limit of fifteen years should be enough time for a typical nominee to provide for his or her family on what most likely would be the last stop of a career or maybe the last stop before teaching. It would also reduce the pressure to appoint very young nominees who still might not be ready for the job.

Mark Q. Rhoads

Falls Church, VA

Oct 18 2008 - 12:25pm

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