James Adams is a Delaware resident, and a member of the state’s bar association. He applied for a judicial job, but the job required he be Republican, and Adams is apolitical. This rule is part of Delaware’s effort to make the courts balanced.
Adams, being a lawyer, decided to do what lawyers do best. Sue some people. He argued the provision in the Delaware Constitution that allows such a requirement of political affiliation is some bullshit.
There is precedent in rulings on Elrod v. Burns and Branti v. Finkel which allows policy makers to have partisan rules for hiring other policy makers. But Adams is arguing that judges aren’t policy makers, since they don’t write laws or regulations, they merely interpret them.
A district court sided with Adam’s argument, and the U.S. Court of Appeals agreed, although they argued that Adams lacked standing for some reason.
So now, Carney thinks this is some bullshit, and has challenged the decision for Adams here at SCOTUS.
So now SCOTUS is being asked to determine if this rule violates the first amendment. Many of the justices brought up the point that other parties such as the Libertarian or Green party aren’t represented, yet they might bring even greater balance. But Carney is essentially arguing that his interest is in balance, and not necessarily making sure all parties are represented.
Carney also argued that there were other judicial positions open, that he were qualified for, and that Adams is merely trying to make a name for himself by going after this one he’s not.
Justice Gorsuch questioned:
The major party provision prohibits Independents from service, serving as judges.
That’s quite a sweeping rule.
As I understand you, you’ve indicated that you’d agree that that violates the Equal Protection Clause as applied to elected positions. But you indicate that it’s somehow very different with respect to appointed positions. And I guess I’m not clear why, given the absence of any historically-rooted tradition along these lines with respect to the major party requirement. I understand your argument that it serves as a backstop for the bare majority rule, which does have historical antecedents, plenty of them, but, near as I can tell, none of those has ever included this backstop before.
This is a novel thing.
And it does prohibit a great percentage of the population from participating in the process.
Justice Kavanaugh went on to ask:
Brett M. Kavanaugh
Why can’t Independents even better serve the goal of a balanced judiciary nonpartisan/bipartisan judiciary?
In a 8:0 decision, SCOTUS decided they didn’t give a fuck about Adams claim, saying it’s none of their fucking business. They said that Adams couldn’t even sue because he wasn’t even ready to become a judge if he won. It’s like he was suing in case he decided to try.