In response to the President’s SCOTUS nomination, House Democrats are proposing a bill that will put an 18-year term limitation on the length of time a Justice can serve on the court. Currently, Justices are appointed to a lifetime appointment on the court.
Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), the first vice-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus plans to announce the bill on Tuesday along with House Democrat Representative Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts and Don Beyer of Virginia.
The new bill, seen by Reuters, would allow every president to nominate two justices per four-year term, during the Presidents 1st and 3rd year in office. “It would save the country a lot of agony and help lower the temperature over fights for the court that go to the fault lines of cultural issues and is one of the primary things tearing at our social fabric,” said Khanna who also tweeted, “We need term limits for the Supreme Court. Every president should have an equal chance to appoint justices. Our entire democratic system shouldn’t hinge on the shoulders of individual Supreme Court justices.”
We need term limits for the Supreme Court. Every president should have an equal chance to appoint justices.
Our entire democratic system shouldn’t hinge on the shoulders of individual Supreme Court justices.
— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) September 24, 2020
The proposed bill also states that current justices will be “grandfathered” in and will not be subject to the term limits.
Saturday President Donald J. Trump will announce his nominee for the Supreme Court. The seat is vacant due to the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on September 18th. Prior to leaving for a peaceful protest on September 20th to North Carolina, President Trump responded to questions from the press pool regarding nominating a replacement, “We have an obligation. We won, and we have an obligation as the winners to pick who we won. That’s not the next president – hopefully, I’ll be the next president – but, we’re here now,” he responded.
The President tweeted on September 19th, “.@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!”
.@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2020
The President has said during his recent speeches that he will nominate a woman to the vacant SCOTUS seat. Among those on the list are Barbara Lagoa, 11th Circuit judge, Martha Packold, Northern District of Illinois judge, Sarah Pitlyk, Eastern District of Missouri judge, Allison Jones Rushing, 4th Circuit judge, Bridget Bade, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, – Kate Todd, deputy assistant to the president, and the front-runner Amy Coney Barrett, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
President Trump: "I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman." #SCOTUS
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 20, 2020
President Trump released his list of potential Supreme Court nominations on September 9th. This was in addition to his original list announced in 2017.
The appointment and confirmation of Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States involves several steps set forth by the United States Constitution, which have been further refined and developed by decades of tradition. Candidates are nominated by the President of the United States and must face a series of hearings in which both the nominee and other witnesses make statements and answer questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which can vote to send the nomination to the full United States Senate. Confirmation by the Senate allows the President to formally appoint the candidate to the court. The Constitution does not set any qualifications for service as a Justice, thus the President may nominate any individual to serve on the Court.
The U.S. Constitution doesn’t specifically grant the Supreme Court justices a lifetime appointment. Instead, Article III, Section 1, states, [federal judges] “shall hold their Offices during good Behavior.” The phrase “during good Behavior” translates to a lifetime appointment because the Founders set no specific term or age limit for service. This means that the only actions that can remove a federal judge are death, resignation, or impeachment by Congress.
The Founding Fathers gave justices and other federal judges a lifetime appointment to prevent them from being influenced by other branches of government. Most federal judges exit by way of death or resignation, with impeachment coming into play sparingly. Only 15 federal judges in U.S. history have ever been impeached and never a Supreme Court justice. Of the 113 justices to serve, only two have been faced with the threat of impeachment.
President Trump is scheduled to make his Supreme Court nominee announcement tomorrow at 5:00 pm ET.