Former Delaware U.S. senator promotes Supreme Court term limits [LISTEN HERE]
By Sarah Mueller
Delaware Public Media
Former Delaware Sen. Ted Kaufman says U.S. Supreme Court justices shouldn’t have lifetime appointments.
Kaufman was former Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff for nearly two decades. He was appointed to serve out Biden’s term when Biden left the Senate to be President Barack Obama’s Vice President.
More than 60 legal scholars, along with Kaufman, are promoting term limits. Kaufman said giving partisan judges lifetime appointments diminishes the credibility of the court.
“If you talk to voters, 75 percent of voters support term limits for Supreme Court nominations,” he said. “And that’s Republicans, it’s bipartisan and it includes independents.”
Kaufman is recommending 12 years, while others are calling for an 18-year limit. But he said the length is up for debate.
“Judges have been appointed because they’re young and because they’re ideological and because they can be nominated in their 50’s and serve until their 80’s,” he said. “And they’re on the court for 30 years. That’s not a good thing.”
Kaufman said Congress could pass term limits. But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently pointed out in an NPR interview that the Constitution spells out lifetime appointments for justices.
Ginsburg, who’s served on the Supreme Court for 26 years, said it’s very difficult to amend the Constitution.