Your Views: Chief justice debate in Wisconsin shows need for term limits for all

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

The recent controversy over the selection and duration of tenure for chief justice of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court persuades me that we need open elections and strict term limits for all government positions.

There’s no such thing as a completely objective, impartial judge, whether in the highest courts of the land or any other. Leaders, legislators and bureaucracies in all three branches of government impose statutes and administrative rules upon us that are interpreted by judges, which eventually establish precedent in the courts. So long as there’s a need to interpret the intent of most laws and policies, there’s no doubt that a judge’s personal bias directs his or her course and consequence upon the citizenry.

The American interpretation of fairness dictates that the chief justice position, like any other in government, should be open to change and competition with a reasonable balance among those vying for it. It matters not that this seat only has ceremonial status. Every other position in every level of government changes over time, depending upon the preference of the citizens. Term limits for chief justice and all Supreme Court judges will help to prevent partisan dictatorships and will promote public participation at the polls.



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