Jack Balkin at Balkinization refers us to a proposal recently submitted to "the Vice President, the Attorney General, and the chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary committees:"

§1. NUMBER OF JUSTICES SITTING TO DECIDE CASES ON THE MERITS; QUORUM. The Supreme Court shall generally sit as a Court of nine Justices but if necessary six Justices shall constitute a quorum. The Court may by rule authorize a single Justice to make provisional rulings when necessary.

§2. REGULARITY OF APPOINTMENTS. One Justice, and only one, shall be appointed during the first session of Congress after each federal election, unless during that Congress one or more appointments are required by Section 3. Each appointment shall become effective on August 1 of the year following the election. If an appointment under this section results in the availability of more than nine Justices, the nine who are junior in time of service shall sit to decide each appeal certified for its decision on the merits.

§3. VACANCIES. If a retirement, death or removal of a Justice results in there being fewer than nine Justices, including Senior Justices, a new Justice or Chief Justice shall be appointed and considered as the Justice required to be appointed during that Congress, if that appointment has not already been made. If more than one such vacancy arises, any additional appointment will be considered as the Justice required to be appointed during the next Congress for which no appointment has yet been made.

§4. THE OFFICE OF SENIOR JUSTICE. A Justice who is senior to nine or more Justices shall unless disabled continue to hold office as a Senior Justice. If there is a vacancy on the Court or if a Justice is recused a Senior Justice shall be called by the Chief Justice in reverse order of seniority to sit when needed to provide a nine-member Court to decide a case. A Senior Justice shall also participate in any other matter before the Court including decisions to grant or deny a petition for certiorari or to promulgate rules of court in compliance with the rules enabling provisions of Title 28.

I like Justice Ginsburg. Our constitutional doctrines should not be subject to the health of her pancreas.

The Supreme Court is the only governmental organization in which the health of a governmental officer is considered an appropriate determinate of what the organization does. Justice Stevens, whom I also like, is now 88 years old and has been setting national policy for 34 years.

The model proposed by Balkin et al is not new — it’s the same model that’s been used successfully by the Federal Reserve for decades.