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Lerner and Lund Argue for Change in Supreme Court Practice

Professors Craig Lerner and Nelson Lund have written a paper forthcoming in the George Washington Law Review that calls for major changes in the way Supreme Court justices carry out their duties.

Lerner and Lund lament the "cult of celebrity" surrounding U.S. Supreme Court justices and suggest several changes that they believe should lead to "fewer self-indulgent separate opinions, more coherent and judicious major opinions, and more reason for future justices to treat the resulting precedents respectfully." A statute requiring the opinions of the Court to be anonymous would go a long way in this regard, say Lerner and Lund.

Among the other suggestions the two have for modifications to Supreme Court practices is a requirement that the justices hear at least one case certified from a circuit court for every federal question case they choose from their discretionary docket. In addition, Lerner and Lund suggest law clerks should do research for the court, rather than for individual justices, and that justices should spend part of their time as circuit-riding judges on the lower courts.

Read the paper -- Judicial Duty and the Supreme Court's Cult of Celebrity