Democrats in the House of Representatives will introduce a bill next week to limit the tenure of U.S. Supreme Court justices, from lifetime appointments — which is outlined in the Constitution — to just an 18-year single term.
The bill is being prepped on the heels of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s September 18 death, leaving a vacancy open for President Donald Trump to fill, and the Republican-controlled Senate to confirm.
Reuters reported on the forthcoming bill, Thursday:
The new bill, seen by Reuters, would allow every president to nominate two justices per four-year term and comes amid heightened political tensions as Republican President Donald Trump prepares to announce his third pick for the Supreme Court after the death on Sept. 18 of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with just 40 days to go until the Nov. 3 election.
According to Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna (CA), the bill — the “Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act” — is intended to tamp down partisanship.
“It 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,” said Khanna.
The California Democrat plans to introduce the bill on Tuesday, alongside Democratic Representatives Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts and Don Beyer of Virginia, Reuters said.
As noted by the outlet, legal experts have highlighted that changing the term of Supreme Court justices would have to be accomplished via a Constitutional amendment.
“The bill seeks to avoid constitutional concerns by exempting current justices from the 18-year rule,” Reuters said. “Those appointed under term limits would become ‘senior’ upon retirement and rotate to lower courts.”
Khanna argued, “That’s perfectly consistent with their judicial independence and having a lifetime salary and a lifetime appointment.”
“That was put into the Constitution to preserve the total independence of the judiciary,” explained Meltsner. “Once a justice is confirmed and takes a seat on the court, they’re not beholden to anybody.”
News at Northwestern noted, “This makes Supreme Court justices free to issue rulings based on the law, rather than political favor, Meltsner said.”
The fight over Ginsburg’s seat sparked Democrats to initially threaten even the impeachment of the president, an effort to stop Trump and the Senate from filling the vacancy. (If articles of impeachment are filed, the Senate will have to push the SCOTUS nominee’s confirmation to the back burner.)
Leading Democrats and activists are pushing the president to “honor” Ginsburg’s “most fervent wish,” that she not be replaced until after the inauguration — something that clearly has no legal or constitutional standing.
Earlier this week, The Daily Wire’s Jon Brown reported, “even a ceremonial resolution introduced by Republicans intended to honor the late justice became a point of contention after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) attempted to slip in an amendment about the alleged dying wish, which Trump has speculated was actually written by Democratic leadership to be used as an emotionalized political bludgeon. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) blocked the amended resolution.”
“Despite furious opposition from Democrats, Trump said he plans to name a new Supreme Court justice nominee on Saturday, after funeral ceremonies for Ginsburg are over,” Brown added. “He has vowed to name a woman, and many speculate that he intends to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative Roman Catholic.”