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Statement on the Opening of the Supreme Court's 2015-16 Term

FTC executive director Gabe Roth released the following statement marking the start of the Supreme Court’s October Term 2015:

Fewer than 300 people were able to witness Chief Justice John Roberts gavel in the new term today – roughly the number who witnessed Charles Evan Hughes do the same in 1935.

The technological advances in the 80 intervening years have been staggering, yet the high court stands alone among the branches in resisting reforms that would give the public a better understanding of and access to their institution. Civic education in the U.S. continues to suffer due to their stubbornness.

As a new term begins, a majority of the justices have now served on the high court for more than two decades, which is far too long for individuals to hold so much power and is more autocratic than democratic. Instead, instituting fixed terms at the Supreme Court would mercifully increase the rotation of individuals who serve and, over time, depoliticize both the nomination process and the court itself.

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