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One Way Our Term Limits Bill Could Be Implemented

We often get asked, why term limits for the Supreme Court?

First off, term limits would keep an unseemly amount of power out of the hands of a few individuals. It’s a popular reform. And it’s a policy that every other court of last of resort the world over has implemented – that or a mandatory retirement age.

Then we’re asked, how would term limits work in practice? Let’s do an experiment.

Let’s assume that the current justices are exempt from any new term limits law and that they, like Sandra Day O’Connor, will serve until age 75. Given the health issues of half the current court, we believe that’s fair.

Let’s also assume there are no retirements in presidential election years, and let’s begin the calculations this year.

End of 2020: Roberts, Thomas, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett (9 justices)

2021: Term limits law passes, Breyer retires (27-tear term), add Justice A: Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, A (9 justices)

2023: Thomas retires (32-year term), add Justice B: Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, A, B (9 justices)

2025: Alito retires (19-year term), add Justice C: Roberts, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, A, B, C (9 justices)

2027: Add Justice D: Roberts, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, A, B, C, D (10 justices)

2029: Sotomayor retires (20-year term), add Justice E: Roberts, Kagan, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, A, B, C, D, E (10 justices)

2030: Roberts retires (25-year term) (9 justices)

2031: Add Justice F: Kagan, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, A, B, C, D, E, F (10 justices)

2033: Add Justice G: Kagan, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, A, B, C, D, E, F, G (11 justices)

2035: Kagan retires (25-year term), add Justice H: Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H (11 justices)

2037: Add Justice I: Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I (12 justices)

2039: Justice A retires (18 years after appointment), add Justice J: Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J (12 justices)

2040: Kavanaugh retires (22-year term) (11 justices)

2041: Justice B retires, add Justice K: Gorsuch, Barrett, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K (11 justices)

2042: Gorsuch retires (25-year term) (10 justices)

2043: Justice C retires, add Justice L: Barrett, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L (10 justices)

2045: Justice D retires, add Justice M: Barrett, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M (10 justices)

2047: Barrett retires (27-year term), Justice E retires, add Justice N: F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N (9 justices becomes permanent)

Now's Our Best Chance to End Life Tenure at the Supreme Court

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