Democrats Introduce Supreme Court Term Limits Bill

Via press release:

In an effort to restore legitimacy and independence to the nation’s highest court, today Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) introduced the Supreme Court Tenure Establishment and Retirement Modernization (TERM) Act, which would establish term limits for Supreme Court justices while preserving constitutional protections for judicial independence in decision making. Under the TERM Act, a new justice would take the bench every two years and spend 18 years in active service.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) is introducing the legislation in the U.S. Senate.

“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,” said Chairman Jerrold Nadler. “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.”

The Supreme Court TERM Act would:

•          Establish terms of 18 years in regular active service for Supreme Court justices, after which justices who retain the office will assume senior status;

•          Establish regular appointments of Supreme Court justices in the first and third years following a presidential election as the sole means of Supreme Court appointments;

•          Require current justices to assume senior status in order of length of service on the Court as regularly appointed justices receive their commissions;

•          Preserve life tenure by ensuring that senior justices retired from regular active service continue to hold the office of Supreme Court justice, including official duties and compensation; and

•          Require the Supreme Court justice who most recently assumed senior status to fill in on the Court if the number of justices in regular active service falls below nine.