I've asked this question.

First comment, upvoted:

I think this question would be improved by removing the discussion of the Italian system, as it distracts from the main point of the question. I predict that, as it stands, it will attract answers attacking the Italian system rather than listing reform proposals in the US.

I follow the suggestion, and as foreseeable, is followed by:

And what would be the alternative? There aren't that many countries with a completely independent (not at least partially politically appointed) supreme court (equivalent) politics.stackexchange.com/questions/33720/… Another way to tackle this would be to lessen the stakes (i.e. power) of the supreme court, e.g. using the Canadian model but I don't see that happening

So, what does this SE wants? Does the example of an alternative distracts from the question, or is needed?

3 Answers 3


It could help the question to show that you have done some research and found countries where constitutional court nominations work differently. But the two-paragraph description of the Italian system is a bit too long IMO. It overshadows and distracts from the rest of the question.

I think it would be enough to describe the core differences to the US system (9 years term limit and each government branch appoints one third of the judges) in one sentence.

  • I ended up selecting this middle ground, also adding the UK example.
    – Federico
    Oct 4, 2018 at 8:08

If I were you, I wouldn't include the alternative.

The second comment does not seem to be about improving the question. It seems more to be musing about the potential for an answer, and what such an answer is. A comment like this would probably get removed if the automatic 20-comment flag came up on that question.


As originally written this question comes off as "Why doesn't the United States Supreme Court use the Italian system, since it's perfect?"

As noted this tends to lead towards responses about how the Italian system is not perfect.

And just mentioning Italy's differences doesn't really prove that someone has done research. Demonstrating research would require showing multiple differences, particularly in systems that are more like the US. Or even parts of the US. States have their own supreme courts which often work differently.

You might consider what you really want to know. Do you want to know what reforms are being considered of the US Supreme Court? Why it has lifetime terms and not nine year terms? Why all its members are picked by presidents and not by multiple branches? Is the Italian system perfect? Any of those questions is possible (although the first is a bit open-ended and the last subject to opinion). Your original question sort of mixed them all into one. Either of the middle two questions would be a much better fit for the site.

In a comment, you said

the middle two questions are basically my previous question, that did not get really satisfying answers, tbh. and the new question was suggested below the old one as a "better question". now you tell me that the old one is "better". I remain of the idea that this site does not have great guidelines.

I am not saying your previous question was better. As already noted, if you mention your own country's system in contrast, it increases the feedback that your own country is not perfect. So it has that against it.

Both questions are also rather broad. I suggested asking one of four questions. You then point me to a question that asks three of them. That might be better than asking all four, but not by much.

My biggest takeaway for your first question is that it should be on History.SE, not Politics.SE. You are asking how the system came to be. The system is over two hundred years old. There are going to be very few people here who are qualified to talk about what the historical situation was. Yet that seems to be what you're asking.

Not getting the kind of answers that you wanted, you then asked another question that was even broader than the first. It kept all the elements of the first and added the question of what revisions have been proposed. You made it rather clear that you were looking for revisions that would make the court work the way that you wanted it to work: to be less partisan and for court appointments to be for limited terms.

It is possible that your second question was worse than your first. But that doesn't make your first question great, good, or even adequate.

The strongest questions ask a single question. Your questions are basically, I see some aspects of the US system. Why isn't it more like the Italian system? Or is anyone talking about making it more like the Italian system?

What would happen if someone wrote the same question from the other perspective. E.g.

Given the corruption in the Italian system, are they considering changing their nine year terms on the top court to be lifetime terms and making their judges under more control of democratically chosen institutions, possibly by having them nominated by the president and confirmed by the legislature. That system is great at preventing corruption in the US. Are the Italians considering it?

Would you be annoyed by the implicit assumption of that question that the Italian court system is corrupt? Would you write an answer that answers in reverse the questions that you have about the US system? If your answers are yes to the former and no to the latter, then this would seem pretty much the mirror image of your questions.

I still, after two questions and a meta question, don't know what you want to know. Part of this may be that you're not sure. You don't understand something and can't really put it in words. That's normal and human. It happens to all of us sometimes. But it often makes for lousy questions here, as we are unlikely to be better than you at expressing what you don't know. This is because we have even less insight into you than you do. At best, we might bring a different perspective.

  • the middle two questions are basically my previous question, that did not get really satisfying answers, tbh. and the new question was suggested below the old one as a "better question". now you tell me that the old one is "better". I remain of the idea that this site does not have great guidelines.
    – Federico
    Oct 4, 2018 at 8:01

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