It’s time to terminate lifetime Supreme Court appointments

The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, is the protector of the Constitution and interprets if laws follow it. There are nine seats on the Supreme court and the justices who sit in them serve for life. Justices have served anywhere from 18 days to 36 years before resignation or death, the latter more prevalent than the former. Being a judge is the only appointment in the government in which someone serves for life without having to be elected or renominated. This is a relic from the era of British rule of the United States where magistrates, who acted as judge and jury, weren’t the only position in which someone could serve for life. This has always been the case in America: people are appointed to the Supreme Court and serve for an average of 15-20 years. The issue with that is the people nominated are often above or near the age of 50 and serving until 70 or 80 means that we have people who hold old ways of thinking, imposing values on a younger country, and considering we are a democracy our leaders should represent the people. The argument, other than tradition, for allowing justices to serve for life is so that their decisions are not influenced by the worries of being re-appointed for another term. However, the benefits gained of imposing sentencing on Supreme Court justices would far out way the drawbacks.

In Congress, senators and congresspeople are always looking for ways to boost their public image so that they can be re-elected for another term. This is best illustrated by President Trump’s attempt to secure funding for his border wall. He does this so the people will see him as tough on immigration. As a result, politicians can get lost and do not agree on legislation that will actually help people out of the fear that it will hurt their reelection chances. The fear of giving justices term limits it that they will fall into patterns similar to politicians. Doing what they think will help them get renominated and not what is best for the people. This is a sound principle and it has worked for generations, which is another argument for keeping it. It already works and changing it would create problems for the country, such as one president getting to appoint several justices while the next won’t get any, could create a way for one party to gain control of the court.

While this is a valid argument, this is already an issue, an example being that President Regan appointed four justices, and President Trump has nominated three, while other presidents have only been able to nominate one or two justices. This was also caused by senator Mitch McConnell’s blocking of President Obama’s court nominations. This problem can also be solved if the appointments are spaced out so that two justices come up for nomination every two years allowing a fair amount of equality among presidents.

However, the main reason that the Supreme Court justices should have term limits is so that they aren’t imposing an old way of thinking on to a country that has outgrown those aged perspectives. As said before, justices on average serve for about 15-20 years which is a long time, and they are often older in age when they are nominated. This can lead to justices that have an old way of thinking imposing their ideas on a country that disagrees with them. This has terrible implications as it could mean rights being taken away or laws that help millions of Americans could be struck down. It also means the people aren’t accurately being represented, which is a huge problem as we are a democracy, and the only way that it works is if our leaders accurately represent us. The way to fix this is to institute a ten-year non-renewable term limit on the Supreme Court. This would give justices plenty of time to give their up-to-date interpretation of the Constitution. It would also solve the issue of justices being swayed by politics since the term would be nonrenewable, or they could only serve one term.

Providing a term limit for Supreme Court justices will prevent them from handing down decisions based on sentiments from an America that have retired to the history books. Presidents will be able to fulfill their Constitutional duties by filling SCOTUS seats that would inevitably come up every so often. This is a step that absolutely needs to be taken as it would secure a better future for America for generations.