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'Time to Standardize and Democratize the Supreme Court': Ro Khanna Introduces Bill for Justice Term-Limits of 18 Years

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/25/time-standardize-and-democratize-supreme-court-ro-khanna-introduces-bill-justice


This should have been done decades ago, and I would argue that 18 years is even too long for a federal judge to sit on the bench - I’d say 8 years is plenty long. The way the court system is set up in this country along with the electoral college are two thing that make this not a true democracy.


All public offices should have term limits and age limits too.


Maybe 10 - 12 years.

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Anything longer than 1 session creates the risk of corruption.

The law should be changed so that each year 9 new justices are randomly chosen from a preapproved pool of judges that is continually updated.


The article states The Republicans have held the Presidency for 24 of the last 44 years while the Democrats held it for “just 20”. This is deceptive language. This means out of the 11 different Presidencies the score for Republicans versus Democrats is is 6 to 5. That is not really a great difference as it just one term. When you are measuring 11 Presidencies ONE of the parties is coming out ahead and the closest it can possibly be is 6 to 5. (24 years to 20)

So now we get to the fact the Republicans appointed 15 to the Supreme Court while the Democrats appointed 4.

How is it that in having just ONE more term the Republicans appointed nearly 4 times as many to that Court?

There two answers neither of which is “The Democrats have been in power for JUST 20 years out of 44”.

1>For whatever reasons Judges just happen to die or resign during a Republican Administration.

2>The Democrats are incompetent when in power when it comes to appointing Supreme Court Justices.

Now if we ignore number 1 as an answer (One would have to go back and see how many judges died or resigned during Republican and Democratic administrations) and we assume that a Judge just as likely to retire or pass away no matter which party in power then one can arrive at the conclusion that the Democrats are not as effective at this as they are by their own words “Centrists” and are trying to “work across the aisle” when it comes to getting Judges appointed. If this conclusion turns out to be correct (and I am not saying it is see conclusion number 1) , it shows Centrism only serves to move the Country to the Right.


I suppose there is also the possibility that those that choose to resign as opposed to dying on the court have for whatever reason done so more during an R presidency. I haven’t looked into much of this though.

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Jeffrey on the court’s future:

Another seismic twist of fate was a bet, against long odds, gone by RGB, leaving Trump with the prospect of stacking the Supreme Court with Federal Society berserkers, salivating for the opportunity to obliterate the modest constitutional expansions forced on the Warren Court by the mass movements of the 1950s and 1960s. You can see the landmark rulings set up to fall like judicial dominoes: Roe, voting rights, restrictions on the death penalty, affirmative action, most environmental and worker safety regulations and perhaps even the ruling which was the original ignition point for the forging of the New Right: Brown vs. the Board of Education, because if there’s anything a right-winger hates as much as abortion it’s the prospect of a fetus growing up into a black teenager sitting next to their own progeny during a critical race theory class analyzing the Great Patriotic History of our glorious republic. When stare decisis falls, does it make a sound?

and incidentally…

The radical journalist, film-maker and world-traveler Andre Vltchek, who wrote many dispatches for CounterPunch over the years, died in Istanbul at the tender age of 57. Despite some feverish speculation, the cause seems to have been natural, perhaps a consequence of his diabetes.


The value N = 18 was chosen so that N/9 (where 9 is the number of justices) gives a round number so it’s simple to say when appointments are (for N = 18, one every two years).

So you should suggest N = 9 (appointing every year) and not N = 8.

I like Ro, and this sounds like a good idea, but given the article says all current justices still get lifetime appointments, I’m not sure how this goes into effect without changing the number of justices until all the lifetime ones are gone (and then we will be back to 9). Maybe that doesn’t matter as it won’t be considered court packing. We’ll have even numbers of justices some of the time though.

Also - people can die or need to retire before their term is up - I suppose the lucky president gets a bonus?

I was interested as to whether or not who controlled the Senate made a bigger difference with Supreme Court appointments then who controlled the presidency.

The article detailed 44 years where 19 total appointments made. Over this span of time the Democrats had the Presidency for 20 of those years while the Republicans held it for 24 of those years. This can not explain how the Republicans made 15 appointments to the Democrats 4 so how about the Senate?

I used the same 44 year timeline. In that time there were 2 Senates that were statistical ties.

In that time the Democrats held the Senate 12 times.
In that time the Republicans held the Senate 11 times.

The Senate was held for 1 more “Congress” by the Democrats as compared to the Republicans over that time period.


Unless Supreme Court Justices resign or die an inordinate number of times during a period where the Republicans Control the Senate and or Presidency , the Democrats are ineffective at appointing justices to the Supreme Court. Having a Democrat as President or having them Control the house does not translate to more left leaning judges.

I will try and determine just when those 19 vacancies came up next. It will be a bit more work.


If a sitting justice dies or quits, the proposal provides for bringing back a term-limited previous justice to fill the chair until the next 2-year nomination rolls around.

18 is too long. 12 max.

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Since we’re dreaming, let’s put 8 years for the Senate and 6 years for the House. The House members never stop campaigning due to their short tenure. Maybe these people could do actual work if they weren’t campaigning.

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Ok the nearest I can tell in the 44 year old time period referenced in the Article 13 of the Judges died or retired during a Republican Presidency and 6 during A Democratic one. (I could be worng +/-1 as the dates cross at times.)

That is the single largest factor in the discrepancy between the fact that 15 of the Supreme court judges appointed in a Republican Presidency and 4 in a Democratic one. Limits to how long a Justice can sit and or a mandatory retirement age would seem the way to go.

The thing is that even with such a system the partisan nature of how judges appointed would result in respective parties gaming the system as in “hey Joe we can appoint you to the supreme Court as a chief Justice but promise us in turn you will resign for family reasons only during a XXXX Presidency”


How many would agree with under ten years and still want to bother leaving their present position.?
Unless the justices have figured out how to get rich like politicians do.

There also needs to be a law or laws that protect the independence of Attorneys General, Inspectors General and other members of the Department of Justice from being pressured and/or threatened with dismissal by the Presidunce once they have been approved by the Senate. The CIA and FBI, etc., should not be affected by partisan politics — especially at times like the present when BOTH wings of the Duopoly are so UTTERLY corrupt.

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Generally a good idea, but it needs to be adjusted to say what happens if, during a president’s 4-year term, three or more Supreme Court Justices reach their term limits, retire, or die.

About time someone is trying to limit life terms to the court. GOOD LUCK

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they seem to do alright.

But the politicians get millions if they play it right.

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