Friday, February 26, 2016

The next Supreme Court justice could serve for 400 years

The debate over replacing Antonin Scalia is already extremely contentious because most people assume the next justice will sit on the bench for about 3-4 decades, but the stakes could actually be radically higher. There is the small but real possibility the next Supreme Court justice could end up holding that position for the next 3-4 centuries.

Let's assume President Obama is able to nominate and get confirmed someone who is 45 years old. Even without any further advances in medical technology, we could expect that justice to live to the year 2065. While so far technology has only enabled modest increases in longevity, that could easily change by 2060.

Google Venture is dropping hundreds of millions into research to reverse aging. According to Bill Maris, the president of Google Venture, “If you ask me today, is it possible to live to be 500? The answer is yes.” Nor are they the only group working on a cure for aging. There is some promising research all over the world, from Japan to Harvard. Some people are figuring out ways to make our bodies stop aging, others are looking at ways to grow replacement organs, and some are trying to transfer our minds into completely new bodies.

Some of the more optimistic investors and researchers think the big breakthrough will come before 2065. While it is likely any such technology will be very expensive and limited at first, someone as important as a Supreme Court justice would have no trouble getting access to it.

Lifetime appointments are already a very bad idea for numerous reasons, but with the growing possibility that a lifetime appointment could span centuries, it is a rule that needs to be reconsidered.

My first sci-fi novel, Cobalt Slave, is now on sale at Amazon.

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