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In a Historic First, Senators Introduce Bill to End Life Tenure at SCOTUS

FTC’s take: This is “addition by addition” — the more proposals that are out there, the more robust a discussion the public will have, which in time will spur action.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and four Senate colleagues today introduced a bill that would cap future Supreme Court justices’ terms at 18 years and give each president two SCOTUS picks per term.

This is the first time ever, as far as we can tell, that members of the Senate have introduced a bill to place term limits on the Supreme Court.

It is also the companion to the bill Rep. Hank Johnson and several House colleagues introduced on July 26.

For more on FTC’s views on the text, see last week’s press release. In general, FTC prefers the Rep. Ro Khanna proposal that would exempt the current justices from ever having to take senior status.

The Johnson-Whitehouse bill would require the current nine to take senior status one at a time every other year beginning in 2023.

See Also: Realistic and Unrealistic Options for SCOTUS Reform | What Senators Have Said | Why An Amendment Isn’t Needed

Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth said: “Ending life tenure at the Supreme Court might be the only thing that Sen. Whitehouse and the co-founder of the Federalist Society agree on. That alone would make the policy worth a second look, but when you consider that term limits would reduce the Court’s currently unchecked power and mean a more predictable confirmation process, and that it’s already backed by the vast majority of the country, that makes it worthy of serious consideration. I’m pleased to lend my support to the TERM Act, and I appreciate the senators’ leadership in introducing the Senate’s first-ever SCOTUS term limits bill.”

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