Propose Amendments to the Constitution All the ideas and discussions
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Limit Supreme Court terms to 12 years

Every four years, three justices are termed out and three new ones appointed.

DEAN DIETRICH , 30.09.2011, 18:00
Idea status: under consideration


Paul, 02.10.2011, 10:23
WOW, would this kill the courts. It is conceivable that the court would philopsophically wag like the tail of a dog. Therefore, everyone would continue to appeal their case(s) until a "friendly" court came along.
Kevin, 14.10.2011, 13:11
I agree with Paul. This would devastate our legal system. The people who create law and the people who execute law need to govern with consent and that mandates some level of fluidity in the representation which is accomplished through recurring elections. The courts however are not really established to create law but to interpret it when bodies of the government disagree or the people feel wronged. The courts provide stability in our government most of the time and upheaval in government when needed because they are only appointed once and don't have to worry about to swaying public opinion.

The way to better the court is to force it to abide by conflict of interest rules that every other judge must abide. The proposal currently being considered would over politicize an appointment that has already become more political than it ever should have been allowed to become. This proposal would undermine our entire system of laws and justice.
Dean, 20.10.2011, 16:28
When the Court decides constitutional law cases, it is almost entirely based on their political beliefs, not the "law". You can predict how eight of the justices will vote in virtually all of the major constitutional cases, Kennedy being the only wild card. For this reason, I think it is wrong to have someone like Thomas sit on the court for 30 or 40 years with his anachronistic beliefs. This happened before at the beginning of the 20th century and led Roosevelt, in frustration, to try "packing" the court. By having a more orderly turnover of justices, we will have a court more in line with current political thinking. Irrespective of whether the term is 12, 15 or 18 years, it should not be for life. Too many dinosours. Our political system is already too disfunctional.
Virginia, 14.10.2011, 15:42
However it might be worthwhile to limit time of service. Force a judge to retire after 20 years on the court.
DMFairchild, 20.10.2011, 05:35
What I would rather see implemented is a rule that the Supreme Court must elect it's own chief justice every year. The Chief justice has a lot of power in deciding which cases, of those submitted, will be heard.
Dean Dietrich, 20.10.2011, 16:19
Not correct. It takes 4 justices to decide to hear a case......any 4 justices.
iceclimbr, 08.11.2011, 00:10
The lifetime appointment is crucial for the supreme court so they can make decisions based on a sound constitutional basis, not on current political or social norms. I definitely don't agree with all their decisions, but in general the current system has served this country well. Perhaps a better system, in order to prevent one President from "stacking" the court in the event of multiple absences, a rule could be put in place where a President could only install one permanent member of the court, any additional members would be temporary. I'm not sure what a more amenable solution would be....
Jameson Quinn, 17.11.2011, 15:14
I agree with a supreme court term-limit, but the ideal term is 18 years. That's more than the average term on the court in the first 150 years of the US, so nobody can complain it would politicize the court. It meshes well with the presidential term, so that each presidential term would nominate two justices - who were nominated during two different presidential terms in the past. And there's plenty of important work administering the judicial branch (including ethics rules for judges and lawyers) for the "emeritus" justices, so they would not have to find another job, with the potential corruption that implies.

As for the justices who currently have over 18 years of service... they should be encouraged to retire immediately, but allowed to serve out their natural terms if they insist. But the one-appointment-every-two-years should not wait; so meanwhile, the number on the court would temporarily increase until the dinosaurs left (or perhaps, in the case of Thomas, were impeached).
fabianmockian, 12.01.2012, 13:18
I agree with your modification of this proposal. You sound very enlightened, so I would appreciate it if you would review a similar proposal that I have put forward on this site. My proposed amendment would require that a Supreme Court Judge recuse themselves when a conflict exists or to have the conflict reviewed by other judges. Here is the link to my proposal. http://convention.idea.informer.com/proj/?ia=40089
Jsailor, 26.01.2012, 04:52
I agree this would be a good idea but it doesn't require a constitutional amendment, in my opinion. It can be enacted by Congress, as it did with federal judges. See 28 USC 455.
Jeff, 03.07.2012, 19:32
Gotta agree with Paul and Kevin this is a bad idea and would kill our legal system! Term limits uave the same issue. The real issue is activist judges not only on the supreme court but in courts everywhere, we really need a way to remove activist judges from all courts and then we can talk about remaining issues with the courts.
skeptic, 19.12.2012, 12:39
I think this is a great concept. I would modify is somewhat (18 years and staggered terms so that one justice is appointed every two years.

Two professors argue the case for it here:

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