Over the last decade or so, the idea of term limits for Supreme Court justices has popped up.
While it had been taken off the table, Trump’s most recent appointment, along with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s advanced age has apparently created some bipartisan interest in the topic again.
To say Democrats were not happy with the Senate blocking Obama’s Supreme Court nomination during his last year would be the understatement of the century.
That move, however, ensured a conservative tilt on the bench for decades.
With the health concerns of Ginsburg and the age of two of the liberal justices now making retirement under Trump a very strong possibility, Democrats are trying to figure out a way to offset this tilt.
There are also more than a few Republicans that want to explore the possibility of term limits.
Senator Joseph Kennedy (R-LA) told The Hill recently, “I don’t know exactly how I would come down, but it’s certainly worth talking about.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said, “The institutional stalwart says no way, but, you know, we’re living in a different world, literally, than the Framers ever envisioned and maybe we need to think about it.”
The Arguments and Solutions
With Kavanaugh only being 51, he could potentially serve on the court for 30 years or longer before retiring.
On the flip side, we have someone like Ginsburg that while technically still able to do the job, has health issues that continue to plague her.
She has made it very clear she does not plan on retiring while Trump is on office, leading to the next argument that our Supreme Court has become very political over the last decade or so, something the Framers never intended.
As Blumenthal argued, offering lifetime appointments runs the danger of having justices that are simply out of touch with what is happening in the current world.
One of the solutions proposed is to set an 18-year limit on justices with very specific appointment times.
To avoid the lame duck problem, specifically appointing justices in the first and third year of a presidential term has been proposed.
Democrats have also floated the idea of adding four more justices to the bench if they win the Senate and White House in 2020.
This strategy makes it more apparent how political the Supreme Court has actually become; it’s highly unlikely that they would support that plan if Republicans hold the Senate and Trump wins a second term.
Mind you, all of this talk is coming from politicians that refuse to set term limits on their own positions, something many conservatives have been requesting for years.
One thing is quite clear… our political system is broken and our judicial system is not very far behind.
Surely, the Framers and Founders never envisioned ‘political careers’ and it’s highly unlikely they ever thought the Supreme Court would be more about ideology than justice.