Robert Reich: Should the Supreme Court Be Reformed?

The Supreme Court is one of America’s most
important institutions, providing a non-partisan check on the other branches of government
and upholding the rule of law. But in recent years the legitimacy of the Court has come
under question as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans have bent the nomination
process for their own political gain. At the same time, the Court has rewritten
the rules of our democracy. In just the last few years, it has rolled back the Voting Rights
Act, given corporations even greater power over their workers and consumers, and given
the green light to partisan gerrymandering. Many Americans — including several presidential
candidates — have begun asking whether the Supreme Court should be reformed. Here are 5 possibilities for strengthening the Court and rebuilding public trust: 1. Impose term-limits. The Constitution doesn’t
specify the length of service of a Supreme Court Justice. A fixed term would make the
court more reflective of the times, and prevent justices from accumulating too much political
power over the course of their tenure. 2. Reinforce ethics standards on the Court.
Currently, almost all federal judges sign on to some form of code of conduct — except
for Supreme Court justices. These standards emphasize independence, integrity, and the
avoidance of outside political activity. The Supreme Court should adopt the same standards. The Court should also institute a better system to recuse justices when conflicts of interest
arise. 3. Require justices to regularly disclose
their finances online, including their stock holdings. Currently, justices are not required
to submit the same financial information as other government officials or members of Congress.
The public should know whether members of the Court have a financial stake in the cases
before them. 4. Add more seats to the Court. Now, this
mustn’t be court packing to benefit one party or the other. Under one proposal known
as the “balanced court solution,” the court would be expanded from 9 justices to
15. 10 justices would be selected through the existing process, but would be split evenly
between Democratic and Republican appointees. Those 10 justices would then select 5 judges
from lower courts for the Supreme Court to serve with them for a year. This solution
would make the confirmation process less partisan and insulate the Court from politics. 5. Alternatively, the Supreme Court could
be comprised of a rotating panel of appeals court judges, who would cycle through the
Supreme Court on a scheduled basis. Federal judges already serve on rotating panels on lower courts. Doing the same for the Supreme Court would eliminate the current high-stakes
nomination process, and make the Supreme Court less partisan. The Supreme Court derives its strength not
from the use of force or political power, but from its integrity as an impartial adjudicator.
In an era of increasing political polarization, we should rethink how the Court is organized
in order to rebuild public trust. With neither the sword nor the purse, trust is all it has. What do you think? Is it time to reform the
Supreme Court? Let us know in the comments. If you found this video informative, please
also watch our video on Trump’s Takeover of the courts. As always, thank you for watching and please
subscribe to this channel for more videos like this one.

100 Responses

  1. Robert Reich says:

    What do you think — should the Supreme Court be reformed? Let us know in the comments.
    If you found this video informative, please subscribe to this channel and make sure to watch our video on Trump's takeover of the courts ►►

  2. Emily McCoy says:

    These are good ideas. Any Presidential Candidates supporting these reforms?

  3. Uriel238 says:

    The Supreme Court as it currently is is already an office that does not serve the people. It is a faithless court controlled by the Federalist Society, and should be disbanded or circumvented. Roberts' greatist nightmare (allegedly) is losing public faith in the courts. With Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, with the court's repeated adjudication favoring corporate power and religious institutions, it has already demonstrated it does not serve the American public. They are servants to our aristocracy, not the people.

  4. jandipeach says:

    Yes! Americans have no confidence in SCOTUS any more. It has become a partisan extension of the executive branch. And while we're at it, Kavanaugh must be impeached. He lied in multiple confirmation hearings.

  5. Sheil B Wright says:

    Please stop falling for the line that there are conservative judges on SCOTUS. They wish to conserve nothing except inequality in all its forms. These are radical reactionaries. Their agenda is incompatible with the rule of law. If you think this is too harsh, how many recent decisions have promoted democracy or the rights of the individual (except when they are in the religious majority)? Now compare that to the rights of corporations, the rich and the powerful?

  6. marcus stokes says:

    Well past time for a reform of the SC!

  7. markw999 says:

    The real problem is Congress is a bunch of cowards and they leave legislation to the courts rather than taking a stand. The Federal court system was never meant to create legislation, that was power was delegated to congress. Now it's the battle of the activists (left and right, Dems and Repubs, EVERYONE wants their activist on the bench) and the nomination process is a disgrace. But make no mistake, the problem starts with Congress and their collective cowardice.

  8. Philippe Avril says:

    Music at the end please! Thank you for the incredible content

  9. Thomas Kelly says:

    Short Answer: Yes.
    Long Answer: Yesssssssss
    All five of these options seem quite sound. But I don't hear this talked about anywhere. How/where do we begin to make this happen?

  10. jooky87 says:

    Yes this reform is needed

  11. George B says:

    Notice Robert you have no problem with the Liberal Block always voting together.

  12. Bart Doo says:

    It's ironic that Democrats want to reform government and pass new laws after Trump was elected. They had eight years of Obama to change the Supreme Court, secure voting rights for prisoners, abolishing the Electoral College, changing state election laws to restrict candidates, etc.

  13. Nate S says:

    Yes reform because gerrymandering should not be allowed and the reinforcement of gerrymandering demonstrates it needs to be done!

  14. Kongolox says:

    Diffently not #1.. otherwise we wouldnt have justice ginsburg…

  15. Boneshaker says:

    I disagree with the last 2.

  16. Kathleen Fubler says:

    Yes it is time to rebuild the courts.

  17. FortCC says:

    An empathic YES. Congress must also be reformed – term limits for Senators and Representatives!

  18. that_pac12 says:

    it should be stacked

  19. Dude Von Dudenstein says:

    I think no one talked much about this until trump got two nominations

  20. Nine Hundred Dollar Luxury Yacht says:

    I have had zero confidence in anything other than their total corruption since they blocked Obama's nominees until he was out of office, then Trump gets to appoint two. Moscow Mitch is not a friend of democracy. If you want to fight for your country, don't go to Afghanistan, move to Kentucky and help vote Mitch McConnell out of office.

  21. Vernon Dent says:

    Simple – 18 year terms. A new justice every 2 years.

  22. Tink-R-Toys' Will I Am Shark Wheels and Ham says:

    We also need to reform the Electoral College too. Now that we have Modern Communications to report Votes and Such!

  23. Bryant Monroe says:

    Yes it is time for a long time

  24. Ticky Tacky says:

    One person should not have as much power as Senate majority leader has.

  25. Jim Fling says:

    It's time for the court to be revised. Your plan sounds correct but probably impossible to implement. People don't give up power easily. Our Democracy is broken in so many ways. The court is just one that needs new rules. Trump and O Connell has made it clear that the safeguards we have been told will protect our Democracy are not really there.

  26. Jehuda Ish-Shalom says:

    Very true but the problem is deeper with the WHOLE method of Laws, Judges and Justice!
    This system is better than NOTHING BUT really does NOT work justly for the common person!
    I do NOT agree with all that you say but you are a great person that I admire how you think, work and make presentations, especially the movie that you made.
    Do not give up keep going. Hopefully there will be more like you.

    Some laws are even WRONG "mathematically." E.g. UCCJEA final version regarding Jurisdiction. The Draft version was OK and used by many states e.g. FL BUT the final version was adopted by around 50% which is WRONG by mathematical LOGIC analysis, e.g. NY version. This is a KNOWN problem (that I have shown a DETAILED example of how it was used to my personal detriment – BUT fixing would NOT have ANY effect on me personally!) but was NOT fixed due to political pressure and fear of the ripple effect of correcting this problem which is very complex to foresee the effects of change (from what I understand – I am a scientist and NOT a lawyer, even that I have a NYS Case law to my name).
    Contact me personally or publicly to obtain further details, if you really want to try to fix the WHOLE system.
    This overall problem is a VERY complex task to fix and VERY significant for the WHOLE world, not just USA.

  27. Ed Tolliver says:

    Every recommendation is both logical AND needed.

  28. Alan Lambert says:

    I love the balanced court solution. 15 justices, 5 of which rotate in?
    Sign me up.

    Ethics standards and FULL disclosure?
    Yes, please.

  29. Chae says:

    Fantastic as always, Robert!

  30. ntamny says:

    I wouldn’t trust current government to reform anything.

  31. Justin Fitzsimmons says:

    This would be a ideal in theory but in reality they do everything to stop any kind of reform and this is because they have interests they the Republican judge's have and they don't work for the people more likely for there corporate masters. Just like any kind of logical reform like universal healthcare or Supreme Court's reforms they will never let any of it happen because they would have to much to lose.

  32. Pat Mischel says:

    You are damn right. But does it require a Constitutional amendment?

  33. John Billings says:

    Hang them all. Why not?
    When's the last they fought for the little guy?

  34. Adam Dennis says:

    Great idea

  35. City of Roses 1845 says:

    I think these are all good ideas. Yes, reform the courts.

  36. FeebleAntelope says:

    Whoops Coperate

  37. NileshR12 says:

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg hasn't served for a long time since her injuries & she must be protected to serve on the Supreme Court at all costs. I mean the people who get nominated for Supreme Court should also be determined by popularity among voters so it should be unbiased & impartial with representation of people of as many races, gender identity expressions, people of vary sexual orientation, etc. to make sure that minorites in the country actually have a vice about laws that directly affect their lives.

  38. roxanneworld11 says:

    i've said, for decades, that it doesn't make sense, lifetime appointments! no job in government and/or politics should be for the remainder of the life of an appointee or someone voted in to their job. it's 💯% counter-intuitive. some great ideas presented here.👍

  39. Devin Jones says:

    Lol rebuild public trust? Yeah sorry that's not gonna happen anymore. I think the government has lost almost all public trust and that won't be regained without some kind of massive undertaking which these lazy ass corporate welfare queens would never allow.

  40. B A says:

    The Roman Republic is floundering… throw most of it away and start again.

  41. Ash Green says:

    Sure there Democrats reform SCOTUS because they uphold a part of the Constitution the Democrats don't like and pack the court with 10 more Liberal justices.

    Then the Republicans come in and pack the court with 20 more conservative justices….

    This goes on until the judicial branch on the government is completely rendered useless.

    Great plan

  42. CultureSubculture says:

    Absolutely, and right on-point! As always, thanks for sharing your insights!

  43. daveogarf says:

    ABSOLUTELY AGREE! Impartiality is the key to a well-functioning Supreme Court, and we need to return to that standard!

  44. Reuben Yancey says:

    Keep in mind sir, both parties are corrupt and the majority are independent, with good reason. Assigning power/responsibilities to parties is neither fair nor balanced. I’ve quit the Democratic Party. The donor’s out sized influence and the superdelegate BS, plus in a recent court case the Party stated that it felt no requirement to reflect the wishes of their membership in its decisions, including the choice of candidate. The Democratic Party represents no one other their corporate owners.

  45. Ria Davis says:

    Absolutely yes and as always ty 💙sharing 👍🏻

  46. Garin Goldsbury says:

    Don't care for adding more supreme court seats; you assume that this country will always be a two-party country. Senator Bernie Sanders is an independent. What if the Senate becomes 90% independent but the Supreme Court remains at least five Democrats and five Republicans! What if the country becomes ten political parties?

  47. Edd Blackler says:

    Supreme Court reformation is long overdue. This video makes some good points.

  48. Stephen Yount says:

    If it was stacked with dummycrats you wouldn't be making his video

  49. jeb bush says:

    Like all but #4

  50. Bennie Crawford says:

    The justices should be elected by the people not appointed and have term limits.

  51. Paul Gibson says:


  52. Lon Brooklyn says:

    Current court can be perceived more Trumpist oriented!It will also depend on how the will rule on current Trump related litigation!

  53. Edward Haaland says:

    Yes, reform the court! These are excellent suggestions.

  54. WystenDraco says:

    It's way past time to reform the Supreme Court. A single fixed term of twelve years, with each seat staggered by two years, so that a President has an opportunity to appoint two new Justices per Presidential Term. Term limiting Congress would also be helpful, two-term limits for Senators and three-term limits for Representatives. Given the long odds of those occurring in anyone living today's lifetime, all I can say is "good luck to us all."

  55. Deniz D. says:

    In Germany the supreme court is made of high profile judges and (most of them) law professors, without even knowing wich party they are drawn to but instead with focus on diverse law topics they specialized in. And its not for life but for some years.

  56. Cioda says:

    At the very least, they should have term limits.

  57. Charles Williams says:

    5 Republicans & 5 Democrats? Independents need not apply?

  58. Barge Arse says:

    The system worked in the UK. 11-0!
    That would never happen in the USA!

    Your system is broken.
    Fix it.

  59. Blake B. says:

    We need to reform Mitch McConnell all the way back to Kentucky

  60. Supadubya says:

    1, 4, and 5 are all much too drastic and have serious flaws. But reinforced ethics standards and disclosure of finances is an obvious fix that should have been implemented decades ago…

  61. mjnari022 says:

    I like your idea's

  62. Charles Gerard says:

    Sure, sounds great but who in Congress is talking about doing something like this. Does it have any support at all?

  63. Brian Greenberg says:

    I like the first three. There should be an eight year term for Justices.

  64. Christian A. says:

    Thanks for inviting Andrew Yang to an interview. I look forward to seeing that discussion

  65. kathy sizemore says:

    I think it's a great idea! How can we make it happen? I have to say protesting is treated like a parent waiting out the tantrums of a toddler. Tolerated as free speech for a while, but if they don't lose steam after a while, they begin to mock protester, spread misinformation about the movement, go after its leaders, or try to hijack it. They did that that with the 99% in NYC and with the Black Lives Matter and with Bernies Political Revolution, trying to morph it into the "Resistance ". I vote, but now I don't have faith in the election process because of how the blatantly manipulated the 2016 Primary and it's clear they are doing the same in the 2020 Primary in particular with Bernie and Tulsi.

  66. Onyx Lee says:

    Separation of powers is supposed to mean: the justices should not be assigned by parties and Congress or Senate

  67. Chris Goody says:

    yes, democrats and all republicans need to be kick out including warrens, sanders, the squad and Clinton and everybody. they need to be reformed. they gone too far with there harrassment, threats, safety, liberty and freedom. plus, they pose dangers too international students now and every American. where the fuck is obama if you people actually cared enoguh? he left thats why. he never cared for you, eh created these messes with the support of the dems and liberals, republicans. they done worse too. so the whole white needs to be reformed and kick. so all of them including warrens and republicans all need to be fired and kick.

  68. Richard Jimenez says:


  69. James Liguori says:

    I think having the number of Justices nominated based on party is a way to prevent more political parties from organizing. We should have at least 4 parties at this point: Democrats, Republicans, Progressives and Libertarians. I say each party gets to have 2 Justices they nominate, those 8 nominate and internally select 3 from the lower courts to serve for 24 months.

  70. D4rk50ul-v2 says:

    The 9th circuit is all the evidence you need for a reform. It goes both ways but this particular court is so heavily biased and politically driven it has lost all resemblance of a neutral entity.

  71. Mike Borrelli says:

    You should be POTUS .

  72. Kate Panthera says:

    Does the Supreme Court need to be reformed? You bet your sweet bipee (old Laugh-In reference for those of us 50+ years old)
    I like all of the suggestions offered by Mr. Reich, esp. limiting term limits. The older the judges get, the more entrenched the ideas that they came into office with generally become. (No slam against against the notorious RBG – I love her.)

  73. William Smith says:

    It’s way past time to reform the Supreme Court.

  74. Curtis Penner says:

    Term Limits – No
    Ethics Standard – Yes

    Disclose Finances – Yes
    Add More Seats – No
    Rotating Panel – No

  75. Dawn Sperry Allen says:

  76. Elias Farias says:


  77. super man says:

    You messed with yang and now you lost me as a subscriber. Maybe you need to think harder and I might come back.

  78. John Schomisch says:

    If you go looking for injustice….you would find that even though I am subscribed and have rang the bell for notifications. I am not getting you in my subsvriptions….also I watched a post about aligarky on face book have you done an episode for you tube on the subject? Pretty sure you have….

  79. Sturm Crow says:

    The supreme court must be reformed, without this change our democracy will surely die soon

  80. Angels Mic says:

    Lifetime appointments should be prohibited retroactively. In order to maintain judicial continuity and completion of their known duties term limits must not be less than 8 years. Supreme court must represent 50% of all majority parties. Never more than 50% representation of any particular party based upon our current two party system.

  81. Stillnapie says:

    And the he is back with more horrible ideas…

  82. laimelady says:

    1 IDNK, that court didn't have a code of conduct, nor financial disclosure. That explains paid for trips to GOP events as Antonin Scalia did and Clarence Thomas still does. Who knows what Neil Gorsuch is into, but corrupt Brett Kavanaugh certainly needs a big-a$$ probe 😜
    2 I love the idea of a Balanced Court with 10 even split with the addition of 5 one year clubbers. Seems a good compromise between lifers and rotating appeals court judges (still partisan appointed).

    3 OTH, I get the idea of term limits… but for how long? The evolution of lifers, seemed to come from the idea of continuity with the ability to change POV. What I believed as a kid, teen or young adult is not the same in middle age or as a senior. And at what point was it demented? Is wisdom not valued in a era of *click-bait*?

  83. Joy G says:

    Trust is no way to run a government.

  84. TheBigGSN5 says:

    Not exactly likely to happen.

  85. Christopher Haist says:

    Sort of like the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, where FDR tried stacking the court because they kept ruling against him for all of his illegal power grabs? No thanks.

  86. sasha voja says:

    Yes!! Excellent ideas!!

  87. H R Holden says:

    #2 Re Enforce ethics standards on the court. Don't most people have a standard of ethics at their place of work? #3 Require justices to to regularly disclose their finances. Aren't we all required to disclose our finances at tax time? WTF! How is the Supreme Court not held to higher standards?

  88. Beautiful Rosemary says:

    Yes, it should be reformed like the Senate and Congress. No one should have that much power for that amount of time.

  89. Hoigwai says:

    I would be behind the 15 solution rather than the rotation since it would seem to be easier to stack lower courts to get the same issue that we have now. Perhaps the 10 with the 5 being on rotation would be a better option.

  90. Judith Aldridge says:

    I am not in favor of term limits because we would lose too many good justices, however rotation of justices might be a good idea.

  91. Ted Phillips says:

    This is absolute fabrication. Ever since President FDR tried to expand the number of justices from 9 to 12, because many of his programs were deemed unconstitutional, the Democrat party has tried to convert our independent judiciary to a rubber stamp for its' political agenda. As a member of what was the legitimate Democrat party, I am deeply offended by the deceitful propaganda of the 4th Reich, Robert Reich. It is the goal of the hijackers of the Democrat party to subvert the Constitution and destroy its' legitimacy by turning it into a rubber stamp, as in Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, and Mao's China. Shame on you, Reich.

  92. Vickie J Severance says:

    Yes it's time 2 refom

  93. Stndsure says:

    To smart and to retional for our modern society to buy into.

  94. Danny Mayle says:

    Supreme Court Justices are not some “Holy” entity that cant be persuaded by Financial and Political gain. We must have term limits and we must overhaul the Senate to take away one person’s ability to deny nominations and the bringing of legislation to a vote. 🤬

  95. Steve Harding says:

    Typo: corporate not coperate. OOPS!

  96. Denise Lauzon says:

    The judges to Supreme Court should be nominated for 2 years only. Those chosen should be nominated by a committee composed of let's say 12 or 20 members (whatever the number) and it would have to be the same number of Republicans and Democrates.

  97. Angela Doll says:

    Watching all your videos it's very hard to understand why you're not more supportive of Pete Buttigieg sir. I'd love to see you do a sit down interview with him like you did Warren & Sanders, I think if you read his policies & discuss them with him you'll see why so many of think he's the perfect nominee to defeat Trump & repair our broken democracy.

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