Why Are There No Term Limits on Supreme Court Justices

Those who argue that term limits for Supreme Court justices are limited claim that it will be helpful to the health of our constitutional republic. They argue that this will help reduce political partisanship in our country and restore public opinion to the court. In addition, they could argue that other countries` supreme courts have term limits — and that the U.S. should do the same. Finally, they argue that term limits allow for greater fluctuation within the Court and can thus more closely involve the will of the people in judicial review. Huckabee`s reflections on this issue run into another logical obstacle in the structure of the Constitution. He was quoted as saying that if presidents who appoint members of the court can only serve eight years, the person they appoint should not serve 40 years. But until the Twenty-second Amendment was incorporated into the Constitution in 1951, there was no term limit for those who served as president. Thus, for 163 years after the incorporation of Article III into the Constitution, there was no potential contradiction between the terms of office of the presidents and that of the judges of the Supreme Court. Those who oppose the creation of term limits for Supreme Court justices argue that term limits will not help reduce – or even increase – political polarization in the country.

They say setting term limits will increase turnover, which means that the debates that take place every time a new Supreme Court justice is to be appointed and confirmed will be more frequent. This site also argues that since Article III of the U.S. Constitution prohibits term limits on the Supreme Court, a constitutional amendment is needed to bring about the change — which is not only unrealistic, but changes to our government document could further divide the country. Finally, they could argue that the Supreme Court does not reflect the will of the people as much as the president and Congress, but rather should be an apolitical and stable body. They argue that term limits would undermine this stability with higher incomes. Term limits have received support on both sides of the political aisle, but some concerns remain. There are two main objections to term limits: first, that it would lead to greater instability in the judiciary and, second, that it would encourage judges towards the end of their term to hear or base their decisions on their next post. While these are indeed important considerations, none of the objections outweigh the potential benefits of term limits. There is not the slightest indication in these sentiments that Hamilton, Madison or Jay were “about to impose limits on judicial mandate in the Constitution” or that “they could never have imagined that people would want to serve in government for decades.” Supreme Court justices should not sit for more than 18 years, after which they would sit in lower courts and/or fill SCOTUS if there was an unforeseen vacancy. A single, standard 18-year term on the Supreme Court would restore the boundaries of the most powerful and least accountable branch of the U.S. government. Each new judge would be added every two years, and since 9 (judges) x 2 (years) = 18, it would take 18 years to reach the end of the cycle, i.e.

18-year terms. Appointments would become predictable exercises, not embarrassing partisan spectacles. Trump`s first commissioner on the court, Neil Gorsuch, was 49 at the time of that appointment, meaning he could potentially sit on the bench for 40 years. Many people today live to be 89. If Trump appoints another judge of the same age, it could be another potential 40-year appointment. Lifetime appointments of judges lead to longer and longer terms, which have important implications for the politicization of the Court. The creation of term limits for judges would ensure the regularity of vacancies and help avoid an escalation of the negative outcomes associated with ever-longer lifetime terms of judges. The nine people on the Supreme Court have incredible power over American life. It is therefore crucial that the composition of this court be determined not by chance, but by American support for the decision-makers responsible for selecting and confirming federal judges.

While the most direct way to limit terms would be through constitutional amendment, it is obviously a long way to go in today`s politics. Most of the term limit proposals, including the White House bill, would set an 18-year limit on “active service” for judges and establish the regular appointment of two new judges to each presidential term. At the end of an 18-year term, judges would move to higher status — a decision that would technically preserve the requirement in Article III of the Constitution that federal judges, including judges, “shall perform their duties in good conduct.” The proposal thus avoids the need for a constitutional amendment. The judge who was last promoted to the status of senior judge would intervene if the number of active judges fell below nine. The Framers accepted life sentences at a time when people simply didn`t live as long as they do today. A judge who was isolated from the normal streams of life for twenty-five or thirty years was a rarity back then, but it is now commonplace. Setting a term of, say, fifteen years would ensure that federal judges would not lose touch with reality after decades of existence in an ivory tower. It would also lead to more regular and significant turnover among judges. Both developments would be healthy from my point of view.

Future Chief Justice John Roberts2 One convincing answer is 18-year term limits, which would solve critical problems: But Huckabee`s dispute is not just about constitutional language, but also about what this highly influential founding document – the Federalist Papers – has to say about the terms of service to the Supreme Court. The Court is losing the confidence of the American people. Something has to be done. We are a company in which the rule of law plays a central role and not the rule of the individual. The highest court in the land is above all decisive. There are various options for rebuilding trust, and we are now looking at them before moving on to our preferred choice of term limits. For further consideration of the ideas presented by the authors here, readers can refer to the final report of the Presidential Commission for the Supreme Court, which further reflects the debate on the Court through the expertise of various jurists. The age limit for Supreme Court judges offers another possible solution to the problems arising from lifetime appointments. The Senate attempted to implement it in 1954 through a constitutional amendment that would have created a mandatory retirement age of 75 for all federal judges. Soon after, however, political energy shifted and the amendment was dropped as attention turned to fighting desegregation with Brown v. School Board. Today, age limits may appear as a simple solution to the Court`s image problems.

Judges would serve their terms and retire at a predetermined age, continue to sit in lower courts and have higher status. Several state supreme courts use age limits, such as Massachusetts and New Jersey, so proponents can cite these examples as instances where this policy works effectively at the state level. The idea of limiting the term of Supreme Court judges (10, 12 or 18 years are the most common proposals) has been circulating for decades.