(LifeSite) A group of House Democrats introduced legislation on Tuesday that would restrict the terms of U.S. Supreme Court Justices through regular biennial appointments which would “bump” existing Justices off the bench.
The proposed bill, called the Supreme Court Tenure Establishment and Retirement Modernization Act, would mandate that the President appoint one justice every two years, “during the first and third years after” a presidential election. Upon each appointment, the most senior Justice would be bumped to retirement status.
The result would be a term limit of 18 years, upon which “the justice shall be deemed to have retired from regular active service,” according to the legislation.
The legislation also aims to “[p]reserve life tenure by ensuring that senior justices retired from regular active service continue to hold the office of Supreme Court justice, including official duties and compensation,” according to Rep. Hank Johnson’s press release on the bill. It is unclear what “official duties” are included during retirement from “active service.”
One of the Democrats who introduced the bill, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), cited dismay over a string of recent Supreme Court rulings of a conservative bent.
Nadler, who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said term limits for Supreme Court Justices are “essential” amid “all the harmful and out-of-touch rulings from the Supreme Court this last year.”
“Otherwise, we will be left with a backwards-looking majority for a generation or more,” he added in a statement, according to The Hill.
Recent Supreme Court rulings that have given rise to celebration from conservatives — most notably, the reversal of Roe v. Wade — have likewise distressed liberals to the point that many have called the legitimacy of the Supreme Court into question, or outright denied it, as a result.
Johnson argued in his press release statement that Justices appointed by former presidents no longer reflect the will of the people, since their stance opposes that of the sitting “elected” president, Joe Biden.
“Five of the six conservative justices on the bench were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, and they are now racing to impose their out-of-touch agenda on the American people, who do not want it,” he said, referring to justices nominated by former Presidents Trump and George W. Bush.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) is introducing the legislation in the Senate, according to Johnson’s press release.