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Book Cover
Author Atkinson, David N. (David Neal), 1940-

Title Leaving the bench : Supreme Court justices at the end / David N. Atkinson.

Published Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, [1999]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Law  KL 241.1 G1 ATKI    AVAILABLE
Physical description xiii, 248 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 229-238) and index.
Contents 1. Why Do They Leave or Stay? -- 2. The Antebellum Court, 1789-1864 -- 3. Civil War to Century's End, 1865-1899 -- 4. The Court in Prosperity and Depression, 1900-1936 -- 5. From Roosevelt to Warren, 1937-1968 -- 6. The Contemporary Period, 1969-1998 -- 7. When Should Justices Leave? -- App. A. Who Asked Justice Grier to Resign? -- App. B. Age and Tenure of Justices -- App. C. Where Are They Buried?
Summary Life appointments make Supreme Court justices among the most powerful officials in government and allow even dysfunctional judges to stay on long after they should have departed. For that reason, when a justice leaves the bench is often as controversial as when he's appointed. This first comprehensive historical treatment of their deaths, resignations, and retirements explains when and why justices do step down. It considers the diverse circumstances under which they leave office and clarifies why they often are reluctant to, showing how factors like pensions, party loyalty, or personal pride come into play. It also relates physical ailments to mental faculties, offering examples of how a justice's disability sometimes affects Court decisions.
Ultimately, Atkinson shows just how human these people are and enhances our understanding of how the Court conducts its business. He also suggests specific ways to improve the present situation, weighing the pros and cons of mandatory retirement and calling for reform in the delegation of duties to law clerks - who in recent years have dominated the actual writing of many justices' decisions. As the current Court ages, how long might we expect justices to remain on the bench? Because our next president will likely make several appointments, now is the time to consider what shape the Supreme Court will take in the next century. Offering a wealth of information never before collected, Leaving the Bench provides substantial grist for that debate and will serve as an unimpeachable reference on the Court.
Subject United States. Supreme Court -- Biography -- Biography.
Judges -- United States -- Biography.
Judges -- Retirement -- United States.
ISBN 0700609466 (alk. paper)