Term limits for Supreme Court
I want a flash poll of our posters, 18 year term-limit for supreme court justices, yes or no?
Why? The dems will most certainly dip below the 50 year old mark to appoint a justice on their next opportunity.
While I like the idea of myself becoming a justice while in my 30s, I think this makes a lot of sense and prevents some sort of race to the bottom for justices in terms of age.
Interesting article from today's WSJ: http://www.opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110007012
"The secrecy that shrouds the high court can also allow someone to turn his chamber into a nursing home, as William O. Douglas did in the 1970s. He was so determined to hang on until a new president could appoint someone philosophically compatible with him that he refused to leave after an incapacitating stroke. This is not only irresponsible, but for, say, a liberal justice hanging on through a series of Republican presidents, it is directly at odds with the preferences of the electorate. In Douglas's case, his colleagues were so concerned that they informally agreed that during the last year of his service none of the court's decisions would be valid if his was the deciding vote. They finally pressured him to resign in 1975. A weakened Thurgood Marshall often looked to his fellow octogenarian William Brennan on how to vote because he no longer could hear well enough to understand the arguments other justices made during their conferences"
"The various proposals to impose term limits have interesting variations on the same theme. All would exempt sitting justices from any limits, ending arguments that one president could "pack the court." Almost all would set the limit at 18 years, with one seat opening up every two years. Some proposals would seek to change the Constitution, others maintain a mere statute would suffice if the principle of life tenure were retained by giving retiring justices the right to serve on a lower federal court after 18 years.
A major advantage of term limits is that they would limit the temptation for justices to remain in office if the presidency is occupied by someone they are ideologically opposed to. Each president would get to appoint at least two justices. That would end the anomaly of some presidents being unable to make any appointments for an entire term (Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush in his first four years) while others (William Howard Taft) get to appoint four during a single term in office. Confirmation battles, now routinely toxic, might become less so because the stakes would be reduced, with everyone knowing the nominee would serve 18 years instead of a possible 35 or more.
Had a simple 18 year limit been in place when each of the current justices on the court were confirmed, William Rehnquist would have retired in 1990 followed by John Paul Stevens three years later. Sandra Day O'Conner would have left the court in 1999 and Antonin Scalia would have stepped down last year. David Souter, who some conservatives call one of the biggest mistakes made by the first President Bush would have to step down in the final year this President Bush will be in office. "