About the Conference


Date: November 20, 2009
Time: 9am-4pm
Location: GW Law School, Jacob Burns Moot Court Room, 2000 H St N.W., Washington, DC.

This conference explores laws governing the structure and operation of the Supreme Court, which is the next step in the work begun by Professors Paul Carrington and Roger Cramton, to encourage the political branches to take a serious look at those issues for the first time since the 1920s.  They have been assisted in planning this conference by Daniel Meador, Judith Resnik, George Liebmann, and Alan Morrison.

The focal point of the conference is a set of four proposals, with discussion that center on the policy issues of whether there is a need for the change and whether the proposed change would meet that need.  Briefly stated, here are the four proposals and their rationales:

1. Altering the appointment system to a regularized process, with future Presidents appointing one every other year; after 18 years, a Justice would move to senior status and would be available to sit on cases if there was a recusal or vacancy.

2. Limiting the term for future Chief Justices, of something like the seven years that the chief judges of the courts of appeals and district courts have.

3. Re-assigning most certiorari decisions to a body of experienced circuit court judges, that would be directed to grant a minimum number of cases each Term, with the Court retaining the ability to select other cases for review.

4. Instating a mechanism for the Chief Justice to take appropriate action when a fellow Justice becomes physically or mentally unable to perform the full range of duties of office.

After a brief presentation, panelists and audience members will be invited to participate with comments or questions. Although there are constitutional issues surrounding some of these proposals, this program is designed to focus on the policy issues surrounding these proposals, with questions of how to achieve these goals to be considered in the future. Constitutional issues will be discussed in papers found on the website, along with other papers related to the proposals.

If you have questions about the program, please contact Associate Dean Alan Morrison at 202.994.7120 or abmorrison@law.gwu.edu.


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