Vanderbilt Law Review


Bernard Goodwin

First Page



The recent growth in the importance and apparent power of the Supreme Court has been one result of our rapidly changing twentieth century society. In the social ferment of the last two decades, the Court, more than Congress, has expressed the conscience and intellectual consensus of American culture. Speaking as a practicing attorney and concerned citizen, the author of this article does not criticize the Court for stepping into this gap in our governmental structure, but he feels that the possibility of increased activism on the part of the Court indicates a serious breakdown in governmental checks and balances and may be leading to the 'fatal infallibility" of the judicial branch. After tracing the historical events which have eroded the ideas of the framers of the Constitution, Mr. Goodwin suggests two ways to restore the Court to a position of "viable fallibilism'" that retains the confidence of the people and reinstates the original balance. He advocates a permanent panel, of judges and citizens to assist in the important process of judicial selection, and he outlines a procedure by which the Constitution may be more easily amended in response to changing social needs and urgent problems.