A little over a week ago, House Democrats started a movement to change the makeup of the Supreme Court by introducing a bill to expand seats from nine to thirteen. They have now taken the next step with legislation imposing 18-year term limits regarding how long a justice could serve on the high court, The Hill reports.
The longest tenured Supreme Court Justice happens to be Clarence Thomas, currently on his 30th year on the bench. The Supreme Court Tenure Establishment and Retirement Modernization Act would allow a president to nominate Supreme Court nominees every two years. This would occur during the first and third years of their terms. Thomas will immediately be moved to senior status if this bill is passed. Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito would follow once they hit the threshold in a couple of years.
After the new 18-year term limit is done, an active judge at the time would also receive the senior denomination. They will be moved over one-by-one in years one and three of a president’s term. Any “senior” judge would still hold an office and receive pay. If the Supreme Court falls below the nine-judge threshold, the most senior judge would be able to stand in and participate in cases.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) introduced the bill along with Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) as they believe it will “restore legitimacy and independence to the nation’s highest court.” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) also introduced the same measure in the Senate.
“Five of the six conservative justices on the bench were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, and they are now racing to impose their out-of-touch agenda on the American people, who do not want it,” he said, referring to justices nominated by former Presidents Trump and George W. Bush.
“Term limits are a necessary step toward restoring balance to this radical, unrestrained majority on the court,” he added.