Note: the post was revised and expanded on 16 April 2014.
As things currently stand, nine members of a quasi-legislative committee meet in secret to decide some of the most important cases and controversies in the U.S. (These politicians in robes are called “justices,” of all things.) Under the guise of judicial review (a power that does not appear anywhere in the original U.S. Constitution or in any of its amendments), a mere five members of this elite cabal have the self-declared and self-serving power to veto laws passed by Congress. There has got to be a more efficient and equitable way of deciding Supreme Court cases, right? Here’s a thought: why can’t we crowdsource some of the decisions of the cases pending before the Supreme Court, at least on an experimental or trial basis? For starters, by way of example, perhaps we could croudsource specific types of cases, such as disputes involving issues of intellectual property or bankruptcy law, allowing all lawyers who practice in these legal fields (and, why not, law professors who teach these subjects) to cast a vote on the outcome of such cases as they arise?
Constitutional Postscript: Note that Article III of the U.S. Constitution calls for a national supreme court, but Art. III does not require a certain number of “justices” or a specific type of procedure for deciding supreme court cases. So there are no constitutional or technological barriers preventing us from trying out such a crowdsourcing reform as the one described above, just a lack of our collective imaginations.