Multiple Democratic lawmakers are pushing a bill that would impose 18-year term limits on Supreme Court justices. The measure would also establish a system in which a new justice is appointed every two years.
According to a press release, the proposal would involve establishing “terms of 18 years in regular active service for Supreme Court justices, after which justices who retain the office will assume senior status.” It would also involve establishing “regular appointments of Supreme Court justices in the first and third years following a presidential election as the sole means of Supreme Court appointments.”
If adopted, the proposal would mark a significant change — currently, Supreme Court justices may remain on the bench for the duration of their lifetime and presidents only have the opportunity to nominate a new justice in the event that one of the nine members of the high court dies or steps down.
“This Supreme Court is increasingly facing a legitimacy crisis,” Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia said, according to the press release. “Five of the six conservative justices on the bench were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, and they are now racing to impose their out-of-touch agenda on the American people, who do not want it. Term limits are a necessary step toward restoring balance to this radical, unrestrained majority on the court.”
“With all the harmful and out-of-touch rulings from the Supreme Court this last year, legislation creating 18-year terms for justices is essential,” Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York said. “Otherwise, we will be left with backwards-looking majority for a generation or more. Instead, under this bill, each President would be entitled to appoint two justices. We would begin to see a Court that better represents this nation and that better reflects the public whose rights it is responsible for protecting.”
Johnson introduced the measure, according to the press release, which noted that cosponsors include Nadler, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Karen Bass of California, and Ro Khanna of California. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island is introducing the bill in the Senate, the press release noted.