Changing The Rules: Democrats Want to Limit the Terms of Supreme Court Justices

SUPREME COURT CHAMBERS

This photo shows the inside of the chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the nation, in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 6, 1976. (AP Photo)

It’s finally dawned on Democrats in Washington that they probably can’t stop the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme court. That means it’s time to change the rules, which is why we’re hearing more calls for steps like statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico and packing the Supreme Court .

But why stop there? Democrats are also reportedly planning to introduce a bill to limit the terms of Supreme Court justices. Rep. Ro Khanna is reportedly going to introduce the “Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act.”

From the Washington Times:

The bill would give each president the right to pick two justices per 4-year term and limit those choices to 18 years on the high court.

There’s only one problem with that.

The House Democrats’ bill raises constitutional questions, because the document grants life tenure to federal judges, both “of the supreme and inferior courts.”

That pesky Constitution just keeps getting the way.

In principle, I don’t object to term limits for judges. It provides a way to eventually get rid of a judge who simply can’t abide the Constitution without going through the political hassle of impeachment. But automatically giving each President two court appointments per term is a nightmare. With the Democrats fully expecting to win, steal, or tantrum their way into the White House next year, the negative Second Amendment implications of such a change are clear.

I wish I could read the actual text of the bill (it doesn’t seem to be on any of the sponsors’ web sites yet), because I can’t logically see a way to do this without a Constitutional amendment. You’d think the Rep. Khanna would know that, but he’s a California Democrat so it’s dangerous to assume anything.

Rep. Khanna has come up with what he thinks is a brilliant dodge to get around the constitutional issue.

Mr. Khanna told Reuters that his bill, which is not a constitutional amendment as most legal scholars have argued would be needed to end life tenure for federal judges, is consistent with that provision because the appointed justices would remain federal judges once their 18-year high court tenure is up.

Once term-limited, the former justices would become “senior” judges and rotate to lower federal courts, according to Reuters. The bill also would not affect the tenure of justices currently on the Supreme Court.

That last line is a puzzler. If the currently sitting justices keep their lifetime tenure, then this bill would have no effect for a minimum of 18 years, short of packing the court (Ginsberg’s replacement would be term limited).

For once, Democrats might be taking the long view here. Of the semi-reliably conservative justices, only two are under the age of 70 while three solid liberals are under 70 (yes, I’m including Roberts, here). Or the exemption for current Justices might be there simply to give the bill some chance of passing.

Does the appointment of two judges per term start right away, packing the court? Or would the bench remain at total of nine seats? Details matter.

Khanna pretends that “judge” is just a single office; that all judges have the one office of “Judge,” but sometimes differing duties. So taking a judge off of SCOTUS duty and bumping him or her down to “senior judge” status with differing duties is all peachy so long as the pay check stays the same.

The Constitution begs to differ. As usual.

Article III, Section 1

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

One supreme Court and inferior Courts. Both the supreme and inferior Courts. Hold their offices…plural. Different offices. Being a judge of the Supreme Court is rather obviously a separate office than being a “Senior Judge” of a lower court.

For once, I think judges would agree with my assessment of this proposal being unconstitutional, especially since it affects them.

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    I think the PR needs independence. And I think Trump should take the dems advice and pack the court with conservative justices. Lots of them.

    1. avatar Rusty - Molon Labe - Chains says:

      If Trump wins there is a good chance that he will get to replace Breyer making it a 6 to 2 court with a fairly useless swing vote occupied by Roberts (which serves him right for his Obamacare vote). I would call that as packed as the court will ever need to be.

    2. avatar Anonymous says:

      Changing The Rules: Democrats Want to Limit the Terms of Supreme Court Justices

      Well, when the dems aren’t making enough “progress” towards their utopia of equality of mediocrity and a nation of endless impulsive pleasure, promiscuity, and irresponsibility, then they change the rules. No surprise.

      1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

        Lets impose term limits on all government jobs including clerical to 4 yrs. Also, all spending bills are to be voted on by taxpayers before becoming law. The federal budget should be voted on by taxpayers too. Lets try this before we put term limits on judges. I am in favor of a contract on all elected officials including judges that if they endorse or propose any bill that violates our original constitution, they are automatically removed from office and loose any benefits accrued during employment

  2. avatar Dennis Sumner says:

    Well of course they do! And when they have the White House they’ll want to extend the term till ten years after they die. And they’ll also put as many on the bench as they need to to have a majority! Only time dems are are transparent is when they’re trying to cheat.

    1. avatar Anonymous says:

      Well, they have a vision of how you should be living your life. Which is less about you discovering your own existence and defining purpose for it and more about them determining purpose for your life and then forcing you to do it with their votes while they cheer “Democracy!”

      It’s all very comical. It’s actually not a tradegy. It’s a comedy.

      1. avatar PistoleroJesse says:

        Tragic Comedy is a thing.

  3. avatar LarryinTX says:

    How about if I want Dem politicians to have term limits? Like 5 years and you go back to Burger King? Why would I give a shit what they want?

    Also, if the people of DC want representation, VA and MD should annex DC, all done. Otherwise, Houston, Dallas, and FT Worth want representation as well, there’s 6 new GOP senators. And all of those have more citizens than DC.

  4. avatar Hannibal says:

    “That last line is a puzzler. If the currently sitting justices keep their lifetime tenure, then this bill would have no effect for a minimum of 18 years, short of packing the court (Ginsberg’s replacement would be term limited).”

    I think it’s intentional as the only way to give it a snowball’s chance of hell. And it makes sense. A lot more sense than the current situation which tries to pretend like justices are apolitical.

    But I wonder if the dems REALLY want to do it or if it’s just an attempt to sound reasonable proposing something that would kneecap them in the short term.

  5. avatar NORDNEG says:

    Probably stand a better chance of passage if it was a age limit to leave the Supreme Court, & then become a senior judge if they wanted to stay busy, at the same wages & benefits…But then again, there’s that U S Constitution thingy again…
    “””FREE KYLE”””

    1. avatar kyle says:

      yes!

      Free me!!!!

      1. avatar NORDNEG says:

        By the ‘POWERS of ME , MYSELF, & I, …
        I (somebody you don’t know) NOW DECLARE,,,
        you, “””KYLE “”” FFRRRREEEEEE….!!!
        🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸👍👍👍🔫😎

        1. avatar Ing says:

          You’ve got my vote.

  6. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    The DemoCommie party as a whole wants to replace the Constitution and are antithetical to the republic, perhaps America should just get it on and over with and be done with DemoCommies and what they Feelz.

  7. avatar Sam I Am says:

    ” I can’t logically see a way to do this without a Constitutional amendment. ”

    Really? All gun control laws are born of simple legislation, backed by the courts. Why should term limits for judges be any different? Depending on the courts to overturn such legislation? Maybe; self-preservation, but there will be eager judges waiting to be appointed to new Supreme Court additions. These eager beavers might decide that their best interest lies in not interfering with unconstitutional legislation.

  8. avatar Shire-man says:

    Win popular but lose electoral gotta get rid of that electoral.
    Court doesn’t favor our insane ideas gotta pack the court with buddies.
    Can’t pack the court gotta impose term limits………..but not on our fellow dem senators if course.

    They’re like children. Maybe if they don’t get their way long enough they’ll just take their ball and go home and we can get on with America.

  9. avatar kyle says:

    As long as they’re in a “term limiting mood” how about we put term limits on congress.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “how about we put term limits on congress.”

      The limits already exist. Voters keep issuing waivers.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        And DASS da troof!

  10. avatar Debbie W. says:

    Received my absentee voting ballot today. Of course Trump/Pence is listed below the democRat candidates and libertarian candidates. For some not so bright people that may make biden/harris look credible and they vote for them. Good news is Kanye West is running for POTUS as “The Birthday Party Candidate” and that should attract some of those who would normally vote for the democRat joe biden. Then there are outright socialist and communist candidates who should cost biden votes.
    On the other hand there are those running as Constitutionists and hopefully the seriousness of the election will come first and those candidates will not cost the POTUS votes.
    The POTUS should have received top billing on my ballot and rest assured ranking was not by a coin toss from the candidates but by some sneaky democRat throwing biden a rope like chris wallace did during the debate.
    Don’t put nothing past democRats to sabotage the election. Fight those sneaky marxist ratbassturds with your vote and everyone you can find to vote for TRUMP/PENCE 2020.

  11. avatar MB (the real MB) says:

    Not a bad idea, only if it included term limits for every political office in the entire country. 40+ years ago I proposed 2 terms in any office, 2 offices in a lifetime, thus no professional politicians. Got to stop these leaches of sucking off the public tit for 40 or 50 years, also eliminate the Cadillac healthcare, lifetime pension and healthcare. It’s called public service, treat it as such, then go back to your medical practice, plumbing business or law firm.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “40+ years ago I proposed 2 terms in any office, 2 offices in a lifetime,”

      If “We the People” are the source of governing power, then limits as you describe would be denying the people their proper exercise of their sovereign power.

      Republicrats engineered a constitutional amendment to limit the president to no more than 10yrs. The effort was designed to prevent a (Dimwitocrat) president-for-life chosen by the people. That amendment has worked to Repub disadvantage ever since.

      1. avatar MB (the real MB) says:

        @Sam I Am Most state governor position and the president are term limited. Nobody denied anything. Civics 101

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “@Sam I Am Most state governor position and the president are term limited. Nobody denied anything. Civics 101”

          The existence of a thing does not validate its correctness. The fact that one power group can limit the power of another is not justification for violating the right of all the people to choose whom the wish to tolerate as government. Term limits are a direct assault on the First Amendment prohibition that “Congress shall make no (NO) law …prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

          Time limits not recognized in the constitution on office holders abridges the freedom of speech, speech by the minority who lost the vote to install term limits. Term limits also impact the ability to petition the government via the election process.

          In modern times, people who support new term limits, at their core, believe those limits will put a throttle on their political adversaries. Politics informs us this is a futile hope.

        2. avatar MB (the real MB) says:

          @Sam. Nope, it’s to prevent tyranny, to a self installed king, no state needs a tyrannical governor or professional politician in state senate, or U.S.. Congress either. The framers of the Constitution were geniuses but they didn’t foresee the day when there would a child molester in the senate and executive branch for 47 years or that some morons would think the NFA and GCA were great ideas.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “The framers of the Constitution were geniuses but they didn’t foresee the day when there would a child molester in the senate and executive branch for 47 years or that some morons would think the NFA and GCA were great ideas.”

          The founders trusted the judgement of the electorate, and knew full well that perpetual politicians were a possible outcome. They decided that the terms set in the original document were sufficient to allow the voters to make changes they felt were needed, and allow the voters to sustain the politicians they favored. All this other “term limits” is simply a cry of “Wah. My guy can’t win so I need a way to make sure the other side loses”….except, it doesn’t work out that way.

          Have you noticed that the Convention of States movement is pretty much dormant? There is a reason.

        4. avatar Ing says:

          I figure we need term limits because without them, we ALL lose.

          Term limits mean that the voters get a periodically guaranteed referendum on what their representation looks like instead of a pro forma “decision” between your party’s entrenched incumbent or some ginky from a party you fundamentally disagree with. Primaries might actually mean something.

        5. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Term limits mean that the voters get a periodically guaranteed referendum on what their representation looks like instead of a pro forma “decision” between your party’s entrenched incumbent or some ginky from a party you fundamentally disagree with. ”

          How does that actually happen? The voters who put the “bad guy” in office are still there. Why would they vote differently because of “term limits” than they do at the currently prescribed limits? People vote for whatever they believe is in their self-interest. How would a combined length of service cause people to vote contrary to their established interests?

          “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves,…”

          The fault, friends and neighbors, is not in our politicians, but in ourselves.

      2. avatar GS650G says:

        Clinton and Obama would of ruled forever if not for term limits.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Clinton and Obama would of ruled forever if not for term limits.”

          Perhaps Kennedy would not have been elected if Ike were in office until death. Or Clinton would be a faint memory if Reagan had managed lifetime wins. Or, who knows what would have actually happened.

          Regardless of the details, if the American voter wants a president for life, and can achieve it, that is the expression of the will of the people. The founders somehow were comfortable with the limits they put in the version 1.0 of the constitution. They were willing to risk forever office holders.

        2. avatar GS650G says:

          Well a majority of states approved the change. Maybe they didnt want el Presidente for life after all. With the low approvals Congress gets people and state legislatures would approve term limits on Congress. Congress of course would not. So we are stuck.

      3. avatar Paul says:

        I agree with MB on this. We can all witness the corrupt vermin in both parties who have leeched off of Washington politics for a lifetime. That is all just wrong.

        Additionally, the two party system itself is corrupt. They colluded to create “laws” which make it nigh impossible for any third party to win a seat. They have colluded to give themselves campaign money, while denying similar campaign money to third parties.

        You can’t forget the incumbent’s advantage. The incumbent always has a huge advantage in fund raising, visibility, and just plain inertia.

        I am all for term limits. No congress critter should sit in the house for more than 2 terms. We need to flush the District’s toilet.

        Finally, despite my own advancing age, I’m really, really, REALLY tired of old senile fools making this nation’s important decisions. Let’s flush twice, alright?

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I am all for term limits. No congress critter should sit in the house for more than 2 terms. We need to flush the District’s toilet.”

          Just as with the limits on the federal government set down in the constitution, artificial term limits do not ensure the political class will be improved, or that “the good guys” would replace the “bad guys” anywhere.

          I had an online discussion with the official Convention of States organization. Got the propaganda that new Amendments would right the ship, and return us to original intent. Eventually I noted that the Convention cannot simply impose a new constitution (and neither did the original convention). A Convention of States can draw up and approve all sorts of amendments, and then the process for ratification falls into the hands of the very politicians and courts the Convention was supposed to overcome. Also, the delegates to the Convention would need an organization that controls the proper majority of state governments and legislatures. And if that can be accomplished, there is no need for new amendments.

          The people at the Convention of States abruptly stopped corresponding. For some reason.

  12. avatar tdiinva says:

    Term limits would require a constitutional amendment.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Term limits would require a constitutional amendment.”

      Gun control laws don’t.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Technically, they do in a purely Constitution-honoring world. To change “shall not be infringed” to “except when the Dems want to”, the USC needs to be amended.

        Otherwise, all current gun contol laws in all forms are repugnant to the Constitution as currently worded, and therefore null and void.

        But…a social contract is only as good as the intent of its society to keep it.

  13. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

    The ultimate irony will be if the bill passes, the Supreme Court would slap it down before the ink was dry.

  14. avatar GS650G says:

    This really takes balls. We put up with RBG for 27 years.

    Trump should drop 6 more on next year if he gets Congress totally back. Let’s give them a taste of their own medicine.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      I like your zeal, but Trump can’t do anything. Congress is empowered to dictate structure of the Federal Courts, not POTUS.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        The Consitution sets the term of a Federal judge as life. Congress cannot change that.

      2. avatar GS650G says:

        They add the slots, Donny fills them.

        He can certainly do that.

  15. avatar WI Patriot says:

    How about term limits in the house and senate…??? Oh wait, then the dems wouldn’t be able to control the false narratives any more…

  16. avatar Jeffery P says:

    I do support term limits on judges. Perhaps fix the number of SCOTUS justices at 9, too. Just takes a Constitutional amendment.

    But first, let’s pass a constitutional amendment for term limits on the House and Senate. POTUS gets 2 terms/8 years (under normal circumstances). Let’s say 8 years for the House and 2 terms for the Senate. While we’re at it, do away with retirement for elected officials. Let them have IRAs instead.

  17. avatar former water walker says:

    Do the Dims “get” what goes around comes around? Obviously dingy Harry Reid didn’t…prayer’s for my President!

  18. avatar enuf says:

    Bills such as this one are dog whistles, PR stunts. The bill has zero chance, just as a court packing bill would have zero chance. There is not the support in either party or in either house of Congress. Not for a Constitutional Amendment to set term limits and not for a packing bill to add justices.

    Running scared over such noise is just silly.

  19. avatar FedUp says:

    Putting term limits on federal judges may or may not be a good idea.

    Increasing the number of judges to put SCOTUS in one party’s pocket and eliminate the final Constitutional check and balance when one party controls the Presidency, the House, and the Senate? That’s an act of war against the United States.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “That’s an act of war against the United States.”

      Hardly. It is just politics, completely within the boundaries of the constitution. This nations always gets the government it deserves. As the founders knew.

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        Changing the number of justices is just politics.
        Changing the number of justices in order to make the existing justices irrelevant, because those justices were the last line of protection the Constitution had, is an act to overthrow the Constitution.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “…is an act to overthrow the Constitution.”

          The Constitution contains its own seeds of destruction; amendments. So, yes, the people of the nation, through their representatives, and the amendment process, could restructure the Constitution in a manner to provide for utter dictatorship. Hence the challenge, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

          Following the Constitution in order to morph into something completely diffrent from original intent is not the same as “overthrow”. That would only happen if the people would tolerate a declaration by the powerful, that without any further delay, the Constitution is dissolved and replaced by ad hoc rule of the powerful.

        2. avatar enuf says:

          Wrong. The Founders gave to Congress the power to set the size of the court. That size has been changed a number of times, starting at six. It has been as large as ten. There is nothing un-constitutional about changing the number of justices on the Supreme Court.

          When FDR attempted to alter the court, he did it thru Congress and the attempt was therefore Constitutional. His attempt was not to set term limits, but to add a new justice for each one over a certain age. Had this succeeded the number could have gone as high as fifteen.

          FDR’s plan failed because it was incredibly unpopular with all sides. No support in his own party or from the loyal opposition.

          Situation today is no different. There is no where nearly enough support to alter the Supreme Court.

  20. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    While it is fairly obvious the author failed to identify Representative Ro Kahana properly as a socialist-democrat. Additionally Mr. Kahana identifies himself as a “Gandhian Hindu”, which is interesting as they self-identified as “seekers of the truth” which clearly he is not.

  21. avatar strych9 says:

    Just another tenth of a degree added to the room. Part of the reason that it’s not really a surprise that 61% of people think we’re on the verge of CW 2.0 and 52% are actively preparing for such.

  22. avatar Anton Solomyr says:

    Guys. Our country is proper-f***ed. Seriously. The next several years (or longer, god forbid) are going to suck…hard.

    There is polarization amongst the populace that we’ve not seen since 1865. Let’s hope this time we can divorce ourselves from each other in an amicable, peaceful way. A velvet revolution, so-to-speak.

    Hope in one hand, prepare in the other.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Divorce ain’t gonna happen for essentially the same reason it didn’t happen last time: the precedent that sets means we don’t actually have a country.

      Nope, we work this out or we fight it out. Those are the options.

      1. avatar DinWA says:

        “There are no bloodless coups.”

  23. avatar possum says:

    Idea #1: Staggered 12 year term limits, voted by the people. Nominees picked by both parties. ,,America could have two political superbowls. Idea #2: Supreme Court judges elect one for life Wizard of Oz an unknown man behind a curtain who doesn’t listen or talk to nobody about nothing except to a young prostitute, a big kitty,a strawman( yup the gunm kind) and a robot.

    1. avatar Miner49er says:

      “man behind a curtain who doesn’t listen or talk to nobody about nothing except to a young prostitute”

      Stormy, is that you?

    2. avatar George Washington says:

      You’re a fkn embarrassment to rural people everywhere…. do yourself, myself and real Americans a favor and shut your computer off dip$hit

      1. avatar possum says:

        The comment was in the futility of expecting justice from justices whom cannot comprehend written text. Machine Gunm act, unconstitutional, but lawyers are word twisters and judges were lawyers. Shall not be infringed, doesn’t mean kinda sorta this or that and maybe.

  24. avatar George Washington says:

    Leave it to someone named Ro Kannah (?wtf) to come in from whatever $hithole they crawled from to try to change the document written by THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF THIS COUNTRY!!!!

    Americans are gonna have to stand up for their country….. and it’s only the wealthy that can even afford to take the lead in THE STAND…. OBVIOUSLY the system has been gamed to weed out the regular American…
    Regular Americans have limited options on what they can do….

    Also, the only class of people I’ve seen take a stand is the rural class….. they are the only ones to make a show of force….. this is all well and fine but we need WAY more people to take THE STAND….

    WE NEED TOTALLY NEW BLOOD IN THE POLITICAL REALM…… WELL FUNDED AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, NONE CAN BE “COLLEGE EDUCATED IDIOTS”…. THESE PEOPLE ARE THE MOST BRAINWASHED CLASS IN THIS COUNTRY…. THEY WILL CONTINUE TO SELL OUT AMERICA INTERESTS FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL GAIN…..
    THE TRUTH IS IF YOU ARE THE KIND OF PERSON WHO WAS “COLLEGE MATERIAL”, THAT JUST MEANS YOU ARE EASILY BRAINWASHED…. THAT IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF WHERE AMERICA HAS FALLEN….

    LOOK at America in it’s formative years…. these MEN are who built this country…. they ARE NOT the homosexuals and diversity warriors today’s disgusting college education system turns out…. it was real men, with real intelligence and conviction….
    You college educated IDIOTS are America’s DOOM

    1. avatar Billy says:

      His parents immigrated from India (why are so many progressives from India?). But your point is taken. Immigration moratorium.

    2. avatar possum says:

      I do not believe the wealthy want change, it’s worked for them so far.

  25. avatar Independent says:

    There should be term limits on them all. Presidents, Congress, Supreme Court Justices.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “There should be term limits on them all. Presidents, Congress, Supreme Court Justices.”

      Which accomplishes exactly nothing.

      How did the politician you want to limit manage to get elected? Does a term limit gaurantee that the replacement will not have the same agenda? Politicians get elected for a reason. If the electorate is not changed, the next occupant of the office will be no different. Politicians are not elected because they had fewer votes than their challengers. The problem is not politicians. Just like with drugs, the problem is with the buyer, not the seller.

  26. avatar James Campbell says:

    Small minded children ALWAYS want to change the rules of the game WHILE it’s being played. Even going so far as throwing TANTRUMS when their opponents use THEIR mid-game rule changes against them.
    The childish demtards need to be put into a “time out”.
    Vote the pestulent toddlers out.
    Trump/Pence 2020!

  27. avatar HEGEMON says:

    democrats are pushing for PR statehood, even though PR residents have rejected statehood several times in the past. This will never pass, there is minimal support for statehood in PR.

  28. avatar busybeef says:

    All Congresscritters and appointees should have term limits.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email