Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna (CA) introduced a bill on Thursday that aims to “fundamentally reframe the power” of the U.S. Supreme Court by limiting the terms of those appointed to 18 years.
According to Khanna, Democrats seek with the legislation a “regular, fair process that doesn’t reshape the court for decades at a time.”
We can’t face a national crisis every time there's a SCOTUS vacancy.
I’m introducing a bill to impose 18yr term limits on future Justices. Long enough to influence judicial trends but not so entrenched. Every president appoints 2 per term.
— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) September 25, 2020
“We can’t face a national crisis every time a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court,” Khanna said as he announced the Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act. Original House sponsors of the bill include Virginia Rep. Don Beyer (D) and Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D). Khanna added:
No justice should feel the weight of an entire country on their shoulders. No president should be able to shift the ideology of our highest judicial body by mere chance. Most importantly, our country’s top constitutional questions shouldn’t be decided by a panel of jurists who are biding their time until a president of their choice is elected. It’s time to standardize and democratize the Supreme Court.
Current justices are exempt in the bill, which will allow termed-out Supreme Court justices to complete their lifetime appointments to the federal judiciary by serving on lower courts.
The introduction of the legislation comes one week after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose seat is now vacant. Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and President Donald Trump were quick to act on a replacement for the seat.
According to Reuters, which has looked over the bill, the legislation “would allow every president to nominate two justices per four-year term.”
President Trump is scheduled to announce his nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy on Saturday from the White House at 5:00 p.m. ET.