The United States Supreme Court has decided to take on a case that could have an impact that would change the courts forever.
The high court announced on Friday that it would take on the Carney v. Adams case which will challenge the Delaware Constitution’s provision that says the state’s Supreme court must have a “bare majority” from either political party.
The decision in this case could have reverberations in every state court in the nation and could change the foundation of state Supreme Courts.
The case was brought by a retired attorney named James R. Adams, a former Democrat who filed the lawsuit.
Adams charged that the provision violated the free speech rights guaranteed in the United States Constitution and the right to be considered for any office regardless of political affiliation.
“Such a system assumes, without foundation, that Republicans and Democrats are monolithic in their judicial views and that their political views will control their decision-making,” he and his attorney David L. Finger said to the Supreme Court. “Worse, it reinforces the fears of the public that judges will decide cases based on political affiliation.”
In February Adams was victorious in a lower court ruling that agreed with Adams and his attorney.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals said that “portions of Delaware’s constitution that limit Adams’s ability to apply for a judicial position while associating with the political party of his choice violate his First Amendment rights.”
But the state was not pleased with the decision, namely Delaware Gov. John Carney who filed a petition with the Supreme Court to undo the decision of the lower court.
“The Delaware courts play a dominant role in American — and indeed global — corporate governance,” the governor’s attorney Michael W. McConnell, Stanford law professor, said in the petition.
“Sixty percent of the Fortune 500 and more tha an half of the corporations listed on the New York Stock Exchange are incorporated in Delaware, in no small part due to the reputation — and reality — of the Delaware courts as objective, stable and nonpartisan. These qualities have not come about by accident. For more than 120 years, Delaware’s Constitution has required a politically balanced judiciary,’ he said.
Adams argued that the restriction would be similar to placing a restriction on the race or religion of a judge.
If Adams is successful it would put an end to the practice in Delaware and it would also set precedent for the rest of the nation.
It could lead to courts being stacked by one party or another in those states where one party rules the legislature and governor’s seats.
The case is unique to Delaware, but nothing happens in a vacuum at the Supreme Court. It could even be grounds for a Democrat president to rule that the Supreme Court itself is too one sided and look to change the nine Justice limit and pack the court. A frightening proposition.