Citing Fix the Court throughout, the Center for American Progress released a report today in which the influential think-tank called for imposing term limits on future Supreme Court justices.
Read their report here.
“The rules governing the U.S. Supreme Court must be updated to reflect the reality of life in modern America,” writes author Maggie Jo Buchanan. “The average tenure of a Supreme Court justice has significantly lengthened since the establishment of the federal judiciary in the 1700s, giving outsize power to nine individuals in a way the framers of the Constitution could never have imagined.
“This longevity has resulted in a lack of regularity in vacancies, introducing further randomness to the judicial selection process. As a result, the confirmation process for the highest court has become politically divisive, with extremely narrow votes and theatrics from the nominees themselves. This state of affairs is untenable; policymakers must address it by enacting legislation to create term limits for justices.”
The report goes on to note that our plan for adding a new justice every two years, so each prospective member of the high court would serve 18 years and then rotate off, has “achieved broad support […] by notable progressives and conservatives alike.”
In terms of whether the reform could be achieved via statute and just through an amendment to the Constitution, Buchanan writes, “As long as term-limited judges are allowed to take on senior status or otherwise serve the judiciary in some capacity while continuing to be fully compensated, there is every reason to think that term limits could be done by statute.”