Presidential candidate Joe Biden was asked during a town hall tonight about proposals to reform the Supreme Court, and this is part of what he said:
“There’s a number of constitutional scholars who have suggested […] that there are at least four or five options that are available to determine whether or not you can change the way in which a court lifetime appointment takes place consistent, arguably, with the Constitution. I have not been a fan of court packing. […] There’s going to be a lot of discussion about other alternatives, as well.”
This means Biden, like Perry and Carson and Huckabee and Buttigieg and Booker and Castro on the trail before him, may be considering prospective term limits for justices – i.e., changing the way in which Supreme Court justices maintain life tenure in the judiciary, but not with 100% of that tenure being on the high court.
This is encouraging news for anyone who is tired of partisan, antagonistic confirmation hearings and the direction of our laws based around the health of octogenarians.
An 18-year term – after which justices would retire, serve on lower courts or return to SCOTUS in case of an unexpected vacancy – is, to quote Justice Kagan, the ‘going proposal.’
This proposal is, for the first-time ever, extant in a House bill (H.R. 8424) introduced earlier this month, consistent with the views of three-fourths of the country, and in line with the views of his top advisor/Senate replacement (i.e., Ted Kaufman supports SCOTUS term limits).