Supreme Court Term Limits Merit ‘Serious Consideration,’ Biden’s Review Panel Says
Members of a commission appointed by President Joe Biden are “seriously considering” proposals for an 18-year Supreme Court justice term limit, according to a 200-page draft released Thursday.
Though the commission did not make any explicit recommendations, it did discuss some possible consequences of potential changes made to the Court’s functioning.
One draft paper read: “Commissioners are divided on whether court expansion would be wise. The risks of court expansion are considerable, including that it could undermine the very goal of some of its proponents of restoring the court’s legitimacy.”
“Recent polls suggest that a majority of the public does not support court expansion. And as even some supporters of court expansion acknowledged during the commission’s public hearings, the reform – at least if it were done in the near term and all at once – would be perceived by many as a partisan maneuver.”
Justice Stephen G. Breyer has stated that he is skeptical about increasing the size of the Court. “Think twice, at least. If A can do it, B can do it,” he said. “And what are you going to have when you have A and B doing it?”
The second draft paper, however, showed support for limiting justices’ terms. “Among the proposals for reforming the Supreme Court, term limits for Supreme Court justices appear to enjoy the most widespread and bipartisan support,” the report stated. “A bipartisan group of experienced Supreme Court practitioners who testified before the commission concluded that an 18-year term limit ‘warrants serious consideration.’ Commission members are divided about whether Congress has the power to create a term limits system by statute. Some believe it is possible; others believe any statutory system would encounter so many constitutional problems it would be unwise to proceed that way.”