The Congress shall determine the number of Justices that sit on the Supreme Court according to the following:
The Supreme Court shall be composed of an odd number of Justices numbering no fewer than nine in total, all of whom shall be citizens of the United States from birth. The total number of Justices shall include one Chief Justice of the United States and the remaining even number of Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States.
The total even number of Associate Justices shall be the sum of two equal-numbered groups of Justices: one group being male by designation of legal birth certificate and the other group being female by designation of legal birth certificate.
When vacancies occur, the President shall nominate Justices to the Supreme Court who are then appointed by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate. The Chief Justice shall be appointed for nine years, and shall not be reappointed Chief Justice thereafter. Associate Justices shall be appointed to hold their offices during good behavior. Successive Chief Justices shall alternate between male and female without exception.
The President shall nominate the Chief Justice according to gender from among the Associate Justices, except no person shall be eligible for nomination who would be more than 69 years old at the time of appointment. If no Associate Justice is qualified by age to be appointed the Chief Justice, the President shall appoint any other qualified person.
If an Associate Justice is nominated to be the Chief Justice by the President but fails to be appointed by the Senate, that Associate Justice shall retain the position of Associate Justice. If an Associate Justice becomes the Chief Justice, that Justice shall retire from the Supreme Court when the nine-year appointment as Chief Justice expires.
Upon ratification, the amendment shall be enacted straightforwardly as existing Associate Justices retire and are replaced by female Associate Justices until an equal number of male and female Associate Justices are seated on the Supreme Court. Thereafter, all Associate Justice seats will be identified as being either male or female, and will be filled as the need arises according to strict gender distinction without exception. The current Chief Justice shall complete a nine-year term from the date he was sworn in as Chief Justice, and shall then immediately retire from the Supreme Court and shall be replaced by the first female Chief Justice of the United States. If the current Chief Justice leaves his position for any reason before his term expires, his appointed successor shall be female.
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Addendum (December 12, 2009):
All United States Court of Appeals en banc courts shall be composed of an even number of Circuit Judges, half of whom shall be male by legal designation and half of whom shall be female by legal designation. Only if the Circuit Chief Judge presides shall an entire en banc court be composed of an odd number of Judges.
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The Constitutional Amendment Process described in The Federal Register can be read here.
The history of the proposed Supreme Court Gender Equality amendment to the U.S. Constitution can be read here.
Steven A. Sylwester
November 25, 2009
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Supreme Court Gender Equality PAC
c/o Steven A. Sylwester
2390 Jefferson St
Eugene, OR 97405-2410
Contributions to: Steven A. Sylwester
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During the past 200 years, only three U.S. Supreme Court justices were foreign born: David J. Brewer, who was born in Turkey to parents who were American missionaries, which made him a U.S. citizen from birth; George Sutherland, who was born in Buckinghamshire, England, in 1862, who emigrated to America with his parents in 1863, and who then became a naturalized U.S. citizen; and Felix Frankfurter, who was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1882, who emigrated to America with his parents in 1894, and who then became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1898. Brewer served on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1890 to 1910, Sutherland served from 1922 to 1938, and Frankfurter served from 1939 to 1962.
The proposed Supreme Court Gender Equality amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “The Supreme Court shall be composed of an odd number of Justices numbering no fewer than nine in total, all of whom shall be citizens of the United States from birth.”
Plainly, the words “from birth” add an eligibility requirement that U.S. law does not presently require, and does so at the exclusion of some U.S. citizens. Therefore, I propose a “Sutherland / Frankfurter Revision” which excludes “from birth” from the amendment’s language while simultaneously adding “or United States Citizenship documents” in the two appropriate locations. Therefore, the revision would read:
... The Supreme Court shall be composed of an odd number of Justices numbering no fewer than nine in total, all of whom shall be citizens of the United States. The total number of Justices shall include one Chief Justice of the United States and the remaining even number of Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States.
The total even number of Associate Justices shall be the sum of two equal-numbered groups of Justices: one group being male by designation of legal birth certificate or United States Citizenship documents and the other group being female by designation of legal birth certificate or United States Citizenship documents. ...
I offer the “Sutherland / Frankfurter Revision” with some reluctance, because it is easy to read a prevailing sentiment in America today that is not generous to new immigrants who want to become U.S. Citizens. Too many people have grown comfortable closing the doors to American citizenship to those who want to become new citizens, and too many people are uncomfortable with their fellow citizens who have ethnic heritages that are different than their own. It seems that we have become a melting pot that is no longer just one pot, but several — on different burners, and with different seasonings in each pot.
Furthermore, the evidence is overwhelming to me that Americans in general have an inner bias against foreign-born citizens. This bias manifests most particularly in the wrong-headed notion that only natural born U.S. Citizens are eligible to the Office of President. To believe such a thing is to believe that the Founding Fathers who authored the U.S. Constitution were men who were uneducated in the English language; who lacked mastery of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure; and who were unable to articulate their thinking in a manner that is understandable and coherent according to the standard rules of correct writing. I happen to stand firm in my belief that the Founding Fathers were men of high intelligence who were properly schooled in their mastery of the English language, but I might stand in that belief with few compatriots.
The indisputable matter-of-fact truth is that the U.S. Constitution declares all U.S. Citizens to be eligible to the Office of President, including naturalized Citizens — and that includes Republican Austrian-born California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrat Canadian-born Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. That highly-educated attorneys and judges who should know better by mere schooling and that their grammarian specialists in legal writing who are paid to be precisely intelligent about such things as the meaning of a comma can together somehow en masse and in consensus overlook the correct meaning of one sentence for more than 180 years is either a clear indictment against American law schools or it is the ugly face of unashamed collusion in a power-grab that has wrongly denied Constitutional rights to naturalized U.S. Citizens throughout our Nation’s history.
I have written the following three articles to prove my position:
“All citizens of the U.S. are eligible to be President” linked here.
“The Bill of Rights in Plain Sentence” linked here.
“The Second Amendment” linked here.
And so I make this pact: If We The People can honor the correct understanding of our own U.S. Constitution by recognizing all U.S. Citizens to be eligible to the Office of President, then I endorse the “Sutherland / Frankfurter Revision” I have proposed without any reservation or qualification whatsoever. However, if We The People persist in being incorrect — and purposely so — in denying naturalized U.S. Citizens their existing Constitutional right to be eligible to the Office of President, then I reject the “Sutherland / Frankfurter Revision” because it is unworkable in our present reality, and I therefore endorse my original wording for the proposed Supreme Court Gender Equality amendment to the U.S. Constitution with some resignation, but also with determined resolve.
Political expediency never provides the best solution, but sometimes it provides the only solution. The question then is this: Are we good enough, righteous enough, and honorable enough to do the right thing? My answer: I hope so.
Steven A. Sylwester
November 28, 2009
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King Solomon wrote about his father King David in Proverbs 4:
3 When I was a boy in my father's house,
still tender, and an only child of my mother,
4 he taught me and said,
"Lay hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands and you will live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or swerve from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will set a garland of grace on your head
and present you with a crown of splendor."
What does such wisdom and understanding look like? I suggest that it might look like this.
Steven A. Sylwester
November 29, 2009