After Roe's overturning, Americans are demanding Supreme Court term limits

Following the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning half a century of abortion rights under Roe v. Wade, nearly two-thirds of Americans want fundamental court reform, specifically term limits for Supreme Court justices.

Indeed, on July 25, 2022, Democrats introduced a bill that would allow a new justice to take the bench every two years and spend 18 years in active service.

The majority that overturned Roe was possible only because of the current system in which justices serve for life and are therefore able to choose when and whether to step down.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett owes her seat to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s refusal to retire under a Democratic president and her subsequent death under a Republican.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh is on the court because of Reagan appointee Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision to step down under a GOP administration. Justice Neil Gorsuch was appointed after conservative Justice Antonin Scalia happened to die and President Donald Trump took office.

The author of the opinion in Dobbs, Justice Samuel Alito, took his seat when Republican Justice Sandra Day O’Connor chose to leave under President George W. Bush.

Justice Clarence Thomas – the leader of the court’s conservative majority – has served on the high court for over three decades and is there only because liberal icon Justice Thurgood Marshall refused to retire under a Democratic president and subsequently died with a Republican in office.

All federal judges in the U.S., including Supreme Court justices, enjoy life tenure.

Under Article 3 of the Constitution, justices cannot be forced out of office against their will, barring impeachment. This provision, which followed the precedent of Great Britain, is meant to ensure judicial independence that allows judges to render decisions based on their understandings of the law – free from political, social and electoral influences.

Our extensive research on the Supreme Court shows life tenure, while well intended, has had unforeseen consequences.

It skews how the confirmation process and judicial decision-making work and causes justices who want to retire to behave like political operatives.

Problems with lifetime tenure

Life tenure has motivated presidents to pick younger and younger justices.

In the post-World War II era, presidents generally forgo appointing jurists in their 60s, who would bring a great deal of experience, and instead nominate judges in their 40s or 50s, who could serve on the court for many decades.

Tujuan kami adalah menciptakan tempat yang aman dan menarik bagi pengguna untuk terhubung melalui minat dan kegemaran. Untuk meningkatkan pengalaman komunitas, kami menangguhkan sementara fitur komentar artikel