The Case for Returning Politicians to the Supreme Court

55 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2010

See all articles by Robert F. Alleman

Robert F. Alleman


Jason Mazzone

University of Illinois College of Law


In the past few decades, prior service in the federal judiciary has become an increasingly important qualification for appointment to the Supreme Court. As a result, the Court has lost one kind of Justice who was very nearly a constant on the Court for 170 years: the politician who joins the Court after distinguished and prominent service in public life. Politicians of national prominence should be returned to the Supreme Court. These statesmen give legitimacy to the Court in an age when confirmation hearings are unrevealing. They have a history of accountability on concrete legal and political issues. They bring wisdom and skills that can improve the work of the Court. Today’s Supreme Court interprets and reviews statutes and decides issues of executive power without any Justice with experience voting on legislation or serving as a cabinet member. Former politicians can enhance the Court’s interactions with the other branches of government and predict and manage the political fallout from unpopular decisions.

Keywords: Supreme Court, Judicial Confirmations, Confirmation Hearings, Politicians, Judiciary Committee, Confirming Judges, Judicial Service

Suggested Citation

Alleman, Robert F. and Mazzone, Jason, The Case for Returning Politicians to the Supreme Court. Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 61, p. 1353, 2010; Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 204. Available at SSRN:

Robert F. Alleman


No Address Available

Jason Mazzone (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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