Supreme Court

Are Supreme Court Term Limits Coming Soon?

Biden’s Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court seems to favor judicial term limits.

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In April, President Joe Biden announced a new Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. The group would be composed of legal scholars and activists and would "provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform," according to a statement released by the White House.

That commission has been meeting this month. And as SCOTUSblog's Mitchell Jagodinski has reported, "term limits emerged as the leading reform proposal, and the commissioners seemed interested in fine-tuning how they will treat that subject in their report to the president, which is due this fall." Jadodinksi continued:

Much of the panel discussions spent a great deal of time on how term limits could be implemented. One consideration is the specific duration. An 18-year term limit would mean a new justice every two years—or two appointments per presidency. Other potential timeframes include 12 or 16 years. But as Vicki Jackson, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, explained, 12 years may be too short and could allow a two-term president to appoint six of the nine justices.

If the commission is serious about attracting bipartisan support for any Supreme Court "reform" it favors, recommending term limits may be the way to go. Unlike court packing, which is obviously designed to benefit one party's judicial appointees at the expense of the other party's judicial appointees, term limits would ostensibly benefit both Democratic and Republican presidents over the long haul. By assuring that each future president gets at least two SCOTUS picks, such a reform might even lower the temperature a little bit in future Supreme Court nomination fights.

Setting aside whether the idea is attractive, imposing judicial term limits would be no simple feat. According to Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, "The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour." That language has long been understood as granting life tenure to Supreme Court justices. In other words, term limits would likely require a constitutional amendment.

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  1. There are term limits already on SCOTUS members . It is called life-span.

    1. Too bad the same doesn’t apply to popular voting.

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      2. The one prosecuted case from the 2020 election:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/04/pennsylvania-bruce-bartman-voter-fraud/

        “Weeks before Election Day, Bruce Bartman mailed his mother’s absentee ballot with a check mark next to President Donald Trump’s name.

        “The problem was, his mother had been dead since 2008.”

        1. Wow, that was the only prosecuted case. In spite of all the massive, obvious fraud, that’s the one the chose to go after.

          America is totally fucked.

        2. You really just swallow democrat pablum like Tony swallows cock, don’t you?

    2. And just last year, some on the left felt that a SCOTUS justice could serve even beyond that. #DyingWish

      1. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        BOOM!

    3. SCOTUS is a start. Congress is the real problem. Desperate for term limits in Congress to eliminate aberrations like McConnell the lifetime grifter.

      1. Patrick Leahy has been in for a decade longer than McConnell, but I agree with the sentiment.

        1. Leahy is definitely the premier poster boy for term limits. None too bright, with a nasty disposition, and has been soaking the taxpayer for decades. For all the times one hears ‘privilege’ or ‘entitled’ tossed around, it’s odd that it is so rarely levied against career politicians.

  2. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.

    Or maybe they can be made to promise that they will serve for 18 years – and when they violate that that is demonstrated bad behavior.

    That said I kind of like this idea. course I really think we need an article 5 convention at this point. Not just some bullshit onesietwosie amendments that now just reinforce the privileges of existing party system rather than rights of individual citizens.

    1. So when you don’t have the votes to amend the constitution, just go around it?

      Seems legit…to a certain sort of person.

      1. And Art 5 convention adheres to the Constitution, hence the reference to “Article 5″…

    2. I don’t think an Article 5 convention would turn out like you think it would turn out, even if it could happen, which it can’t. In what world do you think there would be a super majority of anyone that would agree on anything except possibly to politically compromise you out of any remaining rights that you may have? Or two spontaneously generate a more than 2 party system?

      That said, what makes you think ANY Amendments could get through? Your child-like political naivete is positively charming.

      1. We have a Constitution written by arguably the greatest generation of politicians in history. Throwing that document out and replacing it with a document written by our current political class is unlikely to work out well. In fact, it is almost certain to end in disaster.

        Indeed, our problem is not the Constitution. Our problem is the Courts, Congress, and the President’s refusal to read and abide by the Constitution as written. No amount of amending is going to solve that.

        1. Then wipe the smear of slavery off of “secession” and let’s all agree to part as friends…

          1. No secession. Just put an end to the marxists.

        2. Our problem is the Courts, Congress, and the President’s refusal to read and abide by the Constitution as written.

          No, the problem is the people’s failure to resist the gradual usurpation that has taken place since the Constitution was ratified. All governments are evil, and the difference between free and unfree countries is how much shit the people will tolerate.

          -jcr

      2. McConnell will simply add it to the stack of legislation on his desk that he is refusing to even sent to the Senate for consideration.

        1. Pretty sure that McConnell is technically the minority leader at this point so doesn’t decide which legislation goes up for consideration. All he can do is try to get the Rs to filibuster.

        2. How DARE he not do what Democrats want to have done!

      3. And then it only takes 12 states to block passage.
        Changes must be accepted by 3/4 of the states.

      4. Republicans are only a few state legislatures from having 34 states to convene an Article 5 constitutional convention.

        A 3/4 majority of states then have to ratify the amendments.

        Some suggestions include
        1. setting the SCOTUS number at 9 or 7.
        2. Balanced budget- Require a 75% super majority in both houses of congress to raise taxes and debt ceiling plus a national vote. If they get all that then they can raise taxes. Simple majority to lower taxes and spending.
        3. Term limits for representatives and senators.
        4. Set a punishment for government officials violating the constitution.
        5. Repeal 17th amendment, returning selection of senators to state legislators.

    3. I think I prefer how the current lifetime appointments minimize partisan pressure on Supreme Court decisions, but term limits would be much better than court packing, which is a terrible, awful idea.

    4. It will take a Constitutional amendment.
      An it only takes 16 states to stop an amendment from being adopted.

      1. You went from 12 to 16. The actual number, though, is 13, assuming we’ll still have 50 states.

    5. “Or maybe they can be made to promise that they will serve for 18 years – and when they violate that that is demonstrated bad behavior.”

      Still illegal to add in those extra requirements. Sorry.

      1. I didn’t realize. So the requirement that they support/overturn Roe v Wade is in the Constitution or illegal too eh? Must be in those penumbras and emanations.

  3. “Biden’s Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court seems to favor judicial term limits.”

    Biden’s commission on the Supreme Court is a political stunt. At best, it’s meant to intimidate the Court to rule in the way Biden wants, and, at worst, it’s meant as a B.S. justification for packing the Court.

    Taking Biden’s commission on the Supreme Court seriously may do serious harm to the cause of libertarianism. It should be ridiculed and legitimized at every opportunity. I don’t care what they say about anything.

    1. “It should be ridiculed and legitimized [delegitimized] at every opportunity.”

      —-Ken Shultz

      Fixed!

    2. It’s obvious that the commission was just created to give a veneer of credibility and deliberation to Biden and Marxist Left’s plans to break the Supreme Court. Biden pretended during the election to not have decided on the issue, so if he “defers to experts,” then he’s not flip-flopping.

    3. Now here’s Ken doing his version of an ad-hominem.

      “Don’t listen to ideas that come from people that I don’t like!”

      Whether term limits for judges are a good idea or not a good idea is completely independent of one’s opinion of Biden, or whether that idea is discussed at a commission appointed by Biden.

      Now here is MY version of doing an ad-hominem:

      Ken is a pompous coward who mutes people who disagree with him and pretends to construct arguments out of pure emotionless logic, except what he actually does is smuggle in plenty of logical fallacies in his premises and conclusions hoping you won’t notice. He gaslights you into thinking that supporting Team Red is an inescapable logical conclusion based on reason alone when it is just his personal preference masquerading as logical purity.

      1. “Now here’s Ken doing his version of an ad-hominem.”

        No. It isn’t.
        That isn’t remotely what he said.

        What kind of fools do you take us for you mendacious, fifty-centing, piece-of-shit.

        Fuck you, seriously fuck you chemjeff. You’re as disgusting as you are dishonest.

      2. You don’t like the idea of getting muted?
        Better get used to it, because about 2 seconds after I post this comment, that’s what I’m doing to you. Why? Because you project your own proggie/lib lies onto others.

      3. Ken’s comment from yesterday where he dropped all pretense of not being a Trump Republican partisan.

        1. https://reason.com/podcast/2021/07/21/louis-menand-freedom-was-the-slogan-of-the-times/#comment-9005492

          “Maybe Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney should go miniature golfing, grab dinner and movie. Have some drinks. See what happens next.”

          1. So what? That’s it?
            You’re so pathetic, shillbot.

        2. “he dropped all pretense

          Ken was telling people to vote for Trump as the only plausible choice for libertarians for months, you fifty-centing sockpuppet, and you know it.

          However he’s not a paid shill like you and chemleft, pretending you didn’t vote straight ticket Democrat when it’s blatantly obvious they’re the only reason your here.

        3. Is that ,Ike accusing someone of watching Fox News now?

          Fuck off. You’re a worthless democrat shill without an original thought in that barren head of yours.

    4. “… it’s meant as a B.S. justification for packing the Court.”

      If that is so, why is the committee proposing term limits rather than court packing?

      1. “…justification…”

        The mind boggles.

      2. Packing can be done by a law through Congress.
        Term limits takes a Constitutional Amendment.
        A regular Amendment needs 2/3 of the states to be ratified.
        An article 5 amendment needs 3/4 of the states to be ratified.

        They made “changes’ either hard, or very hard for a lot of good reasons.

        1. All amendments take 3/4 of the states to ratify. You appear to have confused the requirement for 2/3 of each chamber to assent to send amendments to the states. A theoretical Art. V convention would report out amendments directly to the states.

        2. It does not take a constitutional amendment to limit term lengths for SCOTUS.

      3. Joke Biden in a future speech: “It’s with great reluctance that I make this decision, but the obstructionist Republicans who refused to endorse any of the reforms proposed by my Supreme Court reform commission leave me no choice but to appoint a rubber-stamp Left-wing supermajority”

        1. So, you (and Ken) have no evidence, other than your feelings about Democrats, to believe what Ken said about the committee being a fig leaf for Biden’s intention to pack the court.

          1. “So, you (and Ken) have no evidence, other than your feelings about Democrats”

            And their stated intentions. The Left has not been quiet about this.

  4. What, has court-packing already lost its cachet?

    1. This is the commission he set up to tell him whether to pack the Court.

      And we’re supposed to take it seriously.

      1. One of the things I think that has taken a lot of the air out of the court packing scheme is that none of the members of the Court liberal or conservative support it. And my guess is that they have privately made it clear that they are not going to tolerate it. If they pack the court with three new Justices, the existing justices will just shut the new ones out and ensure they are always in the minority.

        For a while I was very worried these crazy bastards were going to do it. I am more optimistic now. They don’t have the votes in the Senate and never had the support of the public.

        1. They don’t have the votes in the Senate and never had the support of the public.

          What about Pens and Phones?

          1. Can’t do it without changing the law and it is debatable if you could do it then.

          2. Biden is actually in a position of terrifying power for the Democrats as far as the pen and phone crap goes.

            He can issue executive orders all the livelong day, and when Kamala replaces him as planned, they can blame the disastrous consequences on an invalid parked in a home somewhere.

            Brilliant strategy from the evil assholes.

        2. I think the reason they haven’t taken any action on packing the Court is because they’re afraid of what the voters would do to them if they did. If Biden doesn’t get some of this stuff done quickly, it won’t get done. He’s in danger of his own radicalism running out the clock on his window of opportunity.

          They need to raise the deb ceiling. The infrastructure bill is in serious trouble, and if it doesn’t go through, Manchin and Tester may not be there for his $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. He needs to do something about the Dreamers since the courts nixed DACA. He only has so much political capital to spend, and the fundraising for 2022 start at the end of this summer.

          If he shoot his wad on packing the Court, he wouldn’t have much left to push for some of the other radical things he wants, and I think he’s just making choices about his priorities. If Congress goes into recess in August, and they come back to raise the debt ceiling over the objections of the Republicans, that may be his last opportunity to get the radical part of his agenda through.

          If he can’t get through all the other stuff needs to do, he may not be able to get to packing the Court at all. In the meantime, Pelosi is going full blown witch hunt over January 6th. She only has a nine seat majority over there. The moderates will start pushing back against being associated with all that radicalness eventually. Moderate Democrats won’t want to stick their necks out for packing the Court, January 6, or anything else radical come 2022 either.

          1. They were unable to get HR1 through, I don’t see how they can get court packing through. As horrible and unconstitutional as HR1 is, it is orders of magnitude less radical than packing the court.

            1. Hopefully it stays that way. I’m not making any predictions, but Biden is running out of road for radical reform. He may be reduced to executive orders sooner rather than later.

          2. Read some years ago that if you (the President) don’t get major changes through in your first 100 days then it won’t go through. To paraphrase Rosie O’Donnell’s character in Sleepless in Seattle, “it may not be true but it feels true”.

          3. You think he’s making choices. That’s hilarious!

            Well, maybe about what kind of pudding he wants after his nap.

        3. One of the ironies that they don’t seem to be considering is that regardless of whether the Dems get it through and Biden signs it into law, it will be challenged before the current SCOTUS. And there is that pesky little inference and historical precedence that strongly suggests that changing the term is unconstitutional. They key is whether the current slate of Justices will stick to such precedence in unison or if there are a couple activist liberals who will upend 250 years of precedence for the sake of Party politics.

          A split court is likely to declare the law unconstitutional, but would likely destroy the court’s future, half of the country being sure that the court has no more value than yet another legislative body, and possibly less. A less than unified court likely puts pressure on this and future administrations to simply ignore any SCOTUS decisions that aren’t in line with their political desires. SCOTUS is devoid of any powers that force anyone to do anything. Only administrative and legislative respect for the institution keeps it relevant and powerful.

          1. I can’t imagine any justice, no matter what their politics, is keen on the idea of expanding the court and diluting their power. Also, the justices certainly understand that if Democrats are allowed to expand the court Republicans will be free to expand it more and then Democrats do the same when they get into power. Where is the limit?

            I could absolutely see the Court coming down 9-0 or 8-1 with a decision that said the practice of the court consisting of nine justices has been so ingrained into the system as to be a part of the Constitution that cannot be changed without amending the Constitution. It would not be an unreasonable decision. Just because the framers didn’t specify the size of the court doesn’t mean they meant it’s size would be subject to the arbitrary discretion of the Congress and the President.

            1. Well technically legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President isn’t “arbitrary”, it’s how the system works. Not sure that SCOTUS would have standing to challenge this. ????

            2. The SCOTUS is its own branch of government so just like houses of congress get to decide rules, the SCOTUS gets to decide its own rules on how it operates.

              The big catch is that the House controls the purse. The SCOTUS could make a rule that 9 justices are the norm but congress could mess with funding the SCOTUS.

              The real problem is that government is filled with corrupt assholes who dont have Americas best interests but their financial futures.

      2. Kinda reminds me Nicolás Maduro convening a commission to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution.

        1. Gotta do what the experts say, right? I don’t have a choice!

          Zuckerberg has an internal board he pretends tells him what to do, too, on controversial decisions like whether to ban Trump’s account and for how long.

          It’s bullshit.

          1. Time to teach the other 95% of the population about argumentum ad verecundiam [appeal to authority/expertise]. How much would that have saved the world in 2020?

      3. They will find one Rino to participate and label the commission “Bipartisan.”

    2. Guess so, Paul. I have to give Manchin (and those of you who believed in him) credit. I thought he would have folded by now.

      1. He’s either holding out for perks and power as he did with Obamacare and several other times or there’s a threat to his power back home. The man simply isn’t that principled, though he talks one hell of a game. Even I want to believe what he’s saying while he’s talking and have to remind myself of every other time in this man’s career that he looked principled and then folded.

    3. I thought it has lost its cachet when it came out of Biden’s mouth on the campaign trail. This commission was to make it more palatable among his electorate and members of his own party.

  5. I am sure dems will try to impeach if they can. They are not above doing evil and lying as needed. Treasonous.

  6. How about we do congress first? Of course that’s probably not happening without a constitutional convention.

    1. The constitution? That old thing? Pfft.

    2. Article V; it could happen.

    3. To be clear, my point is that I don’t see congresscritters limiting their own power that way and it would have to happen through an amendment process that excludes them.

    4. Quit yapping about a constitutional convention… it doesn’t have a chance to even come close to the threshold to hold convention. Even if it did, it won’t turn out like you think it will. The LP or any other party isn’t going to be voted into success, your rights will not be reestablished, politicians will still politic, and money and special interests will buy their way into every word written. The country can’t agree on what constitutes a girl, so how the hell are they going to end up with a super majority that agrees what everyone is entitled to in life?

      1. “The country can’t agree on what constitutes a girl, so how the hell are they going to end up with a super majority that agrees what everyone is entitled to in life?”

        Need “like” buttons on Reason comments.

  7. No they are not. Article III says lifetime appointment. There is no way to term limit Article III justices without amending the Constitution. And that is not happening. There is no support for it in the Congress nor the states.

    1. Look, you just create deepfakes of the justices doing criminal or highly inappropriate things for 16 years then release the “truth” to your propaganda organs and bingo, pretext enabled. More expensive than a bullet, but there are perks to being on the side of the swamp.

      1. Why bother with deepfakes when you had libertarians using the term “superficially credible accusations” based on literally *zero* evidence?

        1. Hey, let me hold onto the delusion we’re not living in a post-fact world. Just because Robby and the rest of the reason team saw more and ever increasingly batshit crazy allegations against Kavanaugh as somehow proof of the allegations doesn’t mean I have to surrender my sanity too.

          1. I was reading a ‘news’ article today that claimed the tip line that the FBI created during their background investigation of Kavanaugh received over 4,500 accusations. Of course the Democrats were complaining that the FBI didn’t put some kind of hold on his confirmation until they had all been investigated.


  8. By assuring that each future president gets at least two SCOTUS picks, such a reform might even lower the temperature a little bit in future Supreme Court nomination fights.

    Or it will heat things up as each court attempts to nullify the prior court as much as possible. I could see situations where it would make ‘the law of the land’ do 180 reversals every four years or so.

    Not saying it isn’t worthwhile to examine term limits for SCOTUS, I’ll admit it sounds good on paper. I just suspect that term limits that are short enough for each President to get two nominations will just make the court that much more partisan rather than doing anything to ‘fix’ the judicial system.

    And the fact it likely will take an amendment to the constitution means it’s probably DOA anyway.

    1. A better idea would be to limit the power of the government such that the Court doesn’t matter as much. I don’t find term limited robed overlords any more appealing than lifetime appointed robed overlords.

      The easy way to impose some degree of term limitation would be for Congress to refuse to fund the hiring of clerks. Make the old bastards have to write their own opinions and no longer be able to farm their work out to clerks and they would likely retire a lot younger than they are now.

    2. Rather than term limits – a mandatory retirement age. We really don’t need these people holding on and suddenly dying in office, throwing the nation in turmoil because too many die in one President’s terms.

      A retirement age makes this more predictable. I think with a caveat that we need a mechanism to spread ages out in order to prevent clustering.

      To be effective, the term limit would need to be 20-30 years anyway.

      1. Yeah. A mandatory retirement age of 75 would be perfectly reasonable and needed.

        1. I disagree with you here in light of your point above.

          I don’t see how 3 justices hitting mandatory retirement in one President’s term is any less ‘disruptive’ than 3 dying in the same term.

          I expect the exact same political rhetoric about packing the court and delaying appointments (with the added bonus of relaxing the retirement requirement) being tossed because RBG Jr. will hit 75 while Donald Jr. is in office.

          1. I don’t think they could impose a retirement age by statute. Life means life. It would have to be done by amendment. Not sure if I made that clear. I don’t think it is a bad idea as amendments go. But I do not think it is a necessary one either.

        2. Nonsense. That simply assures that politicians start factoring math and age strategies into the equation, and appeals processes then consider the Justices birthday into when appeals are made. The only thing that benefits from making this change is political strategy.

          1. They do that now anyway. No one much over 50 is ever nominated these days. And they generally don’t last much past 80 anyway. So, it wouldn’t have much of an effect.

          2. The founders added a lifetime appointment clause because they wanted the courts to choose when they left not when some politicians wanted to kick them off the court.

            Its not a perfect solution but to principles justices who are willing to stand up to congress and a president, its a great check and balance.

      2. We really don’t need these people holding on and suddenly dying in office, throwing the nation in turmoil because too many die in one President’s terms.

        I agree with Briggs, term limits for SCOTUS is a solution searching for a problem;
        We really don’t need the Director of the CIA holding on and suddenly dying in office, throwing the nation into turmoil because too many die in one President’s term.

        We really don’t need the Director of the FBI holding on and suddenly dying in office, throwing the nation into turmoil because too many die in one President’s term.

        We really don’t need the Director of the CDC holding on and suddenly dying in office, throwing the nation into turmoil because too many die in one President’s term.

        … Department of Education …
        … FCC …

        More reliable turnover doesn’t make for less turmoil. Less power and encroachment does.

        1. None of those people dying in office has anywhere the effect on us as a SCJ. If any of them dropped dead right now his deputy would carry on as if nothing happened – for good or ill.

          Replacing a single justice has far reaching policy implications for the whole country.

          yes, it would be nice if they weren’t that imporant. that’s ot the world we live inx

    3. Yet, if you look at the actual history of the Supreme Court, they have tended to decide in impartial, judicial, non-partisan ways, and to largely refrain from overturning previous decisions.

      It seems to be the only one of the three branches that takes its job seriously. Don’t see why that would change with term limits.

  9. Off topic: California universities adopt new admissions measures predicted to reduce Asian, Black, and Hispanic enrollment, in the name of anti racism.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/07/why-university-california-dropping-sat/619522/

    1. It is called “whole person” admissions. That means we only admit kids if they have engaged in extra circular activates that are only available to rich, white kids from the right neighborhoods.

    2. How is basically removing any objective criteria going to reduce admissions of these ethnic groups?

      1. The article is worth a read.

      2. That part is all hand waving except as pertains to asians.

        I could see arguments that it would reduce % graduated rates within the categories or even overall if admission is sufficiently mismatched to ability and preparation, but that’s just racist white man logic.

        1. The author specifically addresses how it will affect some 5 figure number of minority students (annually) from shitty high schools who gain admission through their test scores.

          1. Yes, and both you and her are stupid or dishonest enough to think the planned scheme will not immediately have the numbers backfilled in some other bullshit subjective manner. Papering over the failures from K-12 is the entire point of the change.

            1. But it would be a change from a fairly objective way (test scores) to give the smarter students from bad schools a chance to a more bullshit subjective manner of deciding who gets in.

            2. Who’s the one actually “hand waving”, now?

      3. The objective criteria allowed for a bypass of more, uh, diverse/subjective criteria. Some public schools (guess which ones!) didn’t offer all the requirements to attend. You could do well on the SAT/ACT, lack some of the necessary courses, and still get in. Without the SAT/ACT you’re stuck with(out) the requirements that your school/district may not offer.

  10. In other words, term limits would likely require a constitutional amendment.

    Why? Nothing post-Prohibition has.

    1. What about DC’s Presidential electors, smart guy? Huh?

      Wait, that’s not the strongest example…

  11. It is an interesting idea that ought to be considered. I’m mildly in favor of the idea. Why should Clinton’s choices for judges be ruling us now, almost 30 years later?

    Many items ought to be on the table when it comes to judicial reform. Why are there only so many federal circuits? Why not have more circuits?

    What is so magic about the number 9 for the Supreme Court? Why not 3, or 27?

    There’s a lot of different possible reforms that could be considered for the courts. But as another commenter mentioned, the generally better solution is to not have the courts so involved in public life in the first place.

    1. And what if it’s usually Republican presidents when the mandatory retirement kicks in? How are you going to ensure that doesn’t happen.

    2. Why should Clinton’s choices for judges be ruling us now, almost 30 years later?

      This is the perfect case of why I oppose the idea. Abject ageism. I’d understand if you were saying they can’t stay awake through oral arguments or were too infirm to write their own opinions, but your argument is essentially, “Why should someone born so long ago be allowed to have an opinion?” It’s not like they’re forbidden from reading case law upon appointment. Being appointed during the Clinton Administration doesn’t *prevent* them from being informed on more contemporary issues.

      I’m more agreeable to the other ideas.

      1. “Why should someone born so long ago be allowed to have an opinion?”

        No, they can have an opinion, along with everyone else, judge or not. Why should their opinions, reflecting the choices made decades ago, have such strong weight on today’s decisions in the form of a lifetime appointment?

        Are you aware of some proposals out there that would automatically sunset laws, so that we don’t again wind up with laws like Social Security, which continue going on and on forever, continually hamstringing and binding future decisions due to its enormous cost and impact? It’s sort of like that, but with judges.

  12. Two per term? So a 2-termer could swing the court far-left or far-right.

    I suggested months ago that a president should get 1 per term, with the oldest USSC justice being retired (with additional ones if unexpected circumstances required). Thus no single president could turn the court into a political body, and no justice would serve more than 36 years. With deaths and early retirements, the term would likely be significantly shorter.

  13. To the multiple commenters who believe that the concept could not muster 37 states to pass an as Amendment, I think there may be enough disgust with the current mess on both side for this to happen fairly quickly. The big thing will be if both houses can get 2/3 to agree to anything beyond the time for lunch.

    1. 37 is a lot of states. The problem is that as soon as it appears that term limits will have the immediate effect of limiting one side or the other’s membership on the court, the states which are controlled by that side will suddenly become a lot less interested in having them. I don’t see the political will for them in Congress or the States.

    2. Time for lunch is a no-go. If for no other reason than that the other side is then granted a “win”. The only way to get 2/3 is to make sure there’s something about puppies for quadriplegic children there, and then only right before an election.

  14. To be fair Biden only wants term limits for some of the judges

    1. Kammy wants presidential term limits. About 18 months for the current one.

  15. Jesus, is nobody here going to defend the proposition that judges are fair and impartial and non-partisan and it doesn’t matter who appointed them? I remember back when Trump attacked “Obama” judges and we heard that argument quite frequently. What’s changed in the past year or so?

    Besides which, I think it’s a demonstrable fact that Supreme Court justices tend to not be predictably biased and partisan – at least not the ones appointed by Republican presidents.

    1. That’s because Republicans appoint judges, democrats appoint activists

      1. So the Citizen United decision wasn’t judicial activism?
        What dreamland do you live in?

        1. It’s frequently referred to as “The United States of America”. You?

        2. Can you explain why some companies should have free speech while others should not?

  16. Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court lol if you had any stones you’d mock the concept instead of setting aside whether the idea is attractive

  17. President Spaghetti Brain will probably claim he can do it via an Executive Order.

  18. All they have to do is pass a Constitutional Amendment, with 2/3 of each house agreeing and then convincing 3/4 of all the states it’s a good idea.

    No problem. While we’re at it, lets have term limits for the House and Senate as well.

    1. Ooh, ooh, can we repeal the 17th while we’re in there?

      1. So you want senators chosen by the bribes they used to pay the state legislators to become senators?
        That’s why direct election of the Senate was created, as most senators bribed their way in to it!

        1. Actually more than half the states had some form of direct election of senators prior to the Amendment. So why not let the states decide?

        2. Yes, our current method is so much better. Money certainly is not involved now.

          It would, bare minimum, kill the leftist whine that “It’s UNFAIR that Montana and California have the same number of Senate seats”

  19. One thing for sure: It were proof positive that “issues that may matter” to the American people were, indeed, being cycled through a society of judges as if there were symptoms of an actual, dynamic body politic going around & coming around.

    Children need to see this …

  20. Biden’s Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court seems to favor judicial term limits.”
    Again Reason gets it wrong. Biden’s Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court seems to favor COURT PACKING. Once that is done, they will flip-flop and favor life time appointments.

    1. “Biden’s Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court seems to favor COURT PACKING.”

      How do you know that? Cite?

      1. I told him. Fuck off.

  21. So no, then.

  22. No.

  23. While the Constitution says they hold their job for life. it doesn’t say they hold a position on SCOTUS for life.
    So Congress could just pass a law that after 18 years, a SCOTUS justice automatically becomes an appellate court judge.

    1. No, federal judges hold life tenure in the position they are appointed to. The records of the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers, and more than 230 years of continuous, uninterrupted and unchallenged practice make that absolutely clear. It’s far too late to claim everyone has had it wrong since the founding of The Republic.

    2. I see we’ve collected a new fifty center.

    3. “While the Constitution says they hold their job for life. it doesn’t say they hold a position on SCOTUS for life.”

      An appellate court judge and SCOTUS justice are not identical jobs. At all.

    4. The circuit court of appeals and district courts are sub creations of the SCOTUS.

  24. I usually defer to the Founders for political insight instead of our current crop of deep thinkers in Washington, but I think the idea of term limits is worth considering. Even though Justices are appointed for life, the Constitution does allow for Justices to be impeached and removed from office. As a practical matter, this will never happen, regardless of how infirm or incoherent any Justice might become. While there are people in their 80’s and above who are physically and mentally capable of being on the Supreme Court, one can also imagine situations like someone having health issues and or slight cognitive issues so that he or she can kinda sorta perform the duties but is unwilling to resign and so stays on the court because impeachment won’t happen. Is this what the founders intended?

  25. We don’t need term limits for the supreme court, we just need a way to nullify supreme court rulings. If 2/3 of state legislatures pass a nullification bill to overrule a particular decision, then that decision should be rendered null and void.

    -jcr

  26. I know this question is late to the game, but I have a serious question:
    “The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior.”

    IF Congress were to enact term limits for SCOTUS and it were to be challenged, exactly how would this be litigated? If SCOTUS were to bring the case, it would be a bit weird for them to also judge the case. Even if someone else could find standing to bring the case, it seems like the SCOTUS would all still be extremely conflicted.

    1. Im sure the SCOTUS will refuse to hear such an important case like when more than 50% of states challenged the results pf federal elections as being ripe with election fraud.

  27. One thing they could do is just allow one judicial pick every other year and not try and change the life terms. The size of the court would be variable (which should be constitutionally fine) and should hover around 9 a SCOTUS appointment has been confirmed every 1.8 years on average since 1789)

  28. “…Biden’s Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court seems to favor judicial term limits…” The wish list of a mentally incompetent presidentially commissioned commission, does not a Constitutional Amendment make.

  29. Extremely well written and useful guide. That’s really impressive and helpful information you have given, very valuable content. Thanks for sharing nice information.

  30. While I like the idea of a limited term for judges there is no getting round the fact that this requires a Constitutional amendment and that is a heavy lift.

    What I like about the idea of a 18 or 20 year appointment is it is long enough to insure some continuity but it does not have justices hanging around too long. It would also open up the opportunities for older individuals who have the seasoning for the work but are considered too old to chance giving a lifetime appointment.

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