Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) has introduced legislation that would set term limits for U.S. Supreme Court justices at 18 years.
According to an announcement from Kennedy: “After their 18-year terms, justices would then be allowed to continue their service on lower courts. Additionally, the bill would then create a regular appointment process to allow every president to nominate a new justice to the Supreme Court during each odd year, guaranteeing each president the opportunity to nominate two justices per four-year term.”
Said Kennedy: “Lifetime appointments to the highest court in our land undermine our democratic process and erode progress in our nation. In recent days, Donald Trump and Senate Republicans have once again exploited the Supreme Court in their anti-democratic power grabs. If we believe in the promise of this nation and our march toward a more perfect union, we must enact term limits on our Supreme Court justices.”
Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) are co-sponsoring the bill.
Said Beyer: “For many Americans, the Supreme Court is a distant, secretive, unelected body that can make drastic changes in their lives without any accountability. The dramatic politicization of the Court in recent years has greatly undermined the conception of the Court as a group of dispassionate, apolitical jurists, and made the argument for lifetime tenure increasingly obsolete. When I first ran for Congress in 2014, one of the core ideas in my platform was reforming the Supreme Court to limit terms to end lifetime tenures. Recent upheaval in the Court has only made it clear how much that reform is needed. Our bill would achieve this important advance, and restore a measure of balance, and I thank Rep. Khanna and Rep. Kennedy for their leadership on this important legislation.”
Said Khanna: “We can’t face a national crisis every time a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court. No justice should feel the weight of an entire country on their shoulders. No president should be able to shift the ideology of our highest judicial body by mere chance. Most importantly, our country’s top constitutional questions shouldn’t be decided by a panel of jurists who are biding their time until a president of their choice is elected. It’s time to standardize and democratize the Supreme Court.”