House Democrats are poised to introduce a bill placing an 18-year term limit on Supreme Court justices, according to Fox News.
The news comes in the wake of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week at the age of 87, according to NPR.
The new bill — set to be introduced Tuesday by Democrat Reps. Ro Khanna (CA), Joe Kennedy III (MA), and Don Beyer (VA) — “would allow every president to nominate two justices per four-year term,” according to Reuters. But according to some, it may be unconstitutional.
Khanna calls for term limits
According to Reuters, Khanna says his bill “would save the country a lot of agony and help lower the temperature over fights for the court that go to the fault lines of cultural issues and is one of the primary things tearing at our social fabric.”
It’s the first legislation ever put forth to limit Supreme Court justices’ tenures “by statute,” Reuters reports. Many have argued that such a move must be done by constitutional amendment.
But Khanna apparently doesn’t think so. According to Reuters, he argues that justices whose 18-year terms end before they want to retire would be placed on a lower court’s bench.
“That’s perfectly consistent with their judicial independence and having a lifetime salary and a lifetime appointment,” the congressman told reporters, according to Reuters.
Khanna reiterated his message in a tweet posted Thursday, according to Fox.
We need term limits for the Supreme Court. Every president should have an equal chance to appoint justices.
Our entire democratic system shouldn’t hinge on the shoulders of individual Supreme Court justices.
— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) September 24, 2020
“That’s what’s coming”
Of course, while term limits for the Supreme Court have had bipartisan support in the past, this bill is likely to die even if it squeezes by the Democrat-led House.
Senate Republicans have made clear that they’re looking to move forward on a nomination from President Donald Trump for a replacement for Ginsburg, and Democrats can’t just complain their way out of this one.
“The nominee is going to be supported by every Republican in the Judiciary Committee,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said earlier this week, according to the Washington Examiner, “and we’ve got the votes to confirm the justice on the floor of the Senate before the election. And that’s what’s coming.”