LINDQUIST & VENNUM SYMPOSIUM: THE FUTURE OF THE SUPREME COURT: INSTITUTIONAL REFORM AND BEYOND: Essay: Reintroducing Circuit Riding: A Timely Proposal Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2006 Minnesota Law Review
Minnesota Law Review

LINDQUIST & VENNUM SYMPOSIUM: THE FUTURE OF THE SUPREME COURT: INSTITUTIONAL REFORM AND BEYOND: Essay: Reintroducing Circuit Riding: A Timely Proposal

May, 2006

90 Minn. L. Rev. 1386

Author

Steven G. Calabresi + and David C. Presser*

Excerpt

The Justices of the Supreme Court have a lot of free time on their hands during the summer months, 3 and most of them also have their best years behind them. 4 Some, like Justice Anthony Kennedy, 5 spend their summers abroad in Europe 6 and bring European notions of constitutional "interpretation" back to bear on the constitutional questions before them on the U.S. Supreme Court. 7

This Essay considers whether there is a way, short of a constitutional amendment, to rein in the Justices' transatlantic legal dalliances, while also encouraging aged, life-tenured Justices to retire. We contend that there is. The solution to both problems is to reintroduce the practice of circuit riding by Supreme Court Justices, which was abolished almost 100 years ago but which existed for the first 122 years of the Court's history. We propose that the Justices be required to ride circuit for a four-week session in July following the recess of the Supreme Court's annual Term, during what is now the Justices' three-month summer vacation. We note, as Chief Justice John Roberts did early in his career, that ""only Supreme Court justices and schoolchildren are expected to and do take the entire summer off,'" 8 and we suggest a partial correction of that situation. During their one month of riding circuit, the Justices would preside over trials on the district courts of their respective circuits 9 rather than hobnobbing in Salzburg with foreign luminaries. We propose to pay the Justices an additional $ ...
 
 
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