Toward a Truly Impartial Supreme Court

When you’re a hammer the world is a nail; when you’re a Supreme Court Justice, the world is the Constitution.

How can we improve the chances that SCOTUS will be impartial in its rulings, when underneath each Justice’s ruling is an all too human being?

By human, we mean someone with passions, values, beliefs, conscious and especially unconscious biases.

What about trying the following method for increasing the impartiality of all of the Supreme Court Justices?

It will require an outside facilitator to follow these steps:

1. Reserve an entire day for the following exercise.

2. Invite and urge all Justices to attend or have Chief Justice John Roberts require all the Justices to attend.

3. During the day long program, the facilitator will have each Justice share openly in a group composed of all of them, their:

a. Passions

b. Values

c. Beliefs

d. Conscious biases (they are aware of and will admit to)

4. As each Justice shares the above, they will also share how they came to hold each of them, which may include their origin stories and wakeup calls that led them to them.

5. After each Justice has done the above, they will each next share instances of when they have made rulings during their entire career as either a Justice or judge that went against their passions, values, beliefs and conscious biases but were in alignment with either the Rule of Law or the Constitution and to describe, if they can, how they were able to put aside those personal inclinations to rule impartially.

The above process would not only serve to increase the impartiality of the Justices, it would also offer them the chance to better understand and empathize with and deepen their respect towards each other and to form a more cohesive, cooperative and collaborative body, which doesn’t mean that they would necessarily be more prone to engage in group think.

Also, if the Supreme Court was willing, especially since all of the justices have been through public confirmation hearings, it would do amazing things for the trust, confidence and respect in which it is held by the American public if this were done publicly. And imagine if C-Span held it, what it would do to their ratings?

They may prefer not to, but that begs the question, why not? If any of them would prefer not to, it could be very revealing if they shared the reason for their objection.

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Mark Goulston

Mark Goulston

Dr. Goulston is co-founder of Michelangelo Mindset, a speaker, MG100 Coach & the author of "Just Listen,” the top book on listening in the world.