Democrats’ bill would limit SCOTUS justice terms

NewsNation's Blindspot

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(NewsNation) — A group of Democrats have introduced a bill that would set term limits for Supreme Court justices, allowing them no more than 18 years on the bench.

As it stands now, the Constitution allows Supreme Court justices to hold office “during good behaviour,” meaning they can remain on the bench as long as they choose, barring impeachment. The longest-serving Justice in U.S. history, William O. Douglas, served for more than 36 years before his retirement in 1975.

There’s a chance that you haven’t heard about this story. The majority of news outlets (59%) who reported on the topic were right-leaning, according to NewsNation partner Ground News’ Blindspot report. Eighteen percent were left-leaning and the remaining 23% were outlets aligned in the center of the political spectrum.

The bill, dubbed the Supreme Court Tenure Establishment and Retirement Modernization Act, would allow the president to nominate Supreme Court justices every two years, according to a news release from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) who introduced the bill.

Those nominations would happen in the first and third years after a presidential election. Johnson said the bill would “preserve life tenure” by ensuring that senior justices who retired from regular active service continue to hold the office, including official duties and pay.

If the Democrats’ bill passes, justices would retire after no more than 18 years and assume senior status.

In the event of a vacancy, disability or disqualification, the justice who most recently attained senior status would serve as the ninth associate justice, The Hill reported.

Justices on the bench at the time of the bill’s enactment would switch to senior status individually in order of length of service.

About two out of three Americans say they favor term limits or a mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court justices, according to a recent poll from The Associated Press.

This story is part of NewsNation’s new “Blindspot” initiative in partnership with Ground News to provide readers with contextual, unbiased news they may not find covered by every media outlet.

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