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Good argument for SCOTUS term limits


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"The Post’s Editorial Board and many others have suggested limiting the term of Supreme Court justices. Back in 2014, Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute wrote:

With a Court that is increasingly active in overturning laws passed by Congress and checking presidential authority when there is a president of the opposite party, that means nominations both to appeals courts and to the Supreme Court have become increasingly divisive and polarized, for both parties. And the policy future of the country depends as much on the actuarial tables and the luck of the draw for presidents as it does on the larger trends in politics and society....
 
For more than a decade, I have strongly advocated moving toward term limits for appellate judges and Supreme Court justices. I would like to have single, 18-year terms, staggered so that each president in a term would have two vacancies to fill. Doing so would open opportunities for men and women in their 60s, given modern life expectancies, and not just those in their 40s. It would to some degree lower the temperature on confirmation battles by making the stakes a bit lower. And it would mean a Court that more accurately reflects the changes and judgments of the society."
 
Edited by homersapien
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Give this a read. Be warned, it is lengthy.

https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=388082074064088026089009098001126064039053020018026058109067010101115097066024005086004023025048015127038004074087001123113003023025088064054106093078000072079091068003007121003031025122124094020096031072014064105023087087073082022118127067001074066&EXT=pdf

"Our findings suggest that the danger of increased instability due to term limits is very real, and that policymakers should take that risk into account when considering the proposal. Furthermore, this reduced stability could fundamentally change the nature of jurisprudential evolution and change the focus of litigants, policy makers, and lower-court judges from precedent to the Court’s composition. Any proponent of term limits has the burden to show that strategies exist, and can be effectively utilized, to mitigate the dangers, and that the benefits can be sufficiently realized. To date, no proponent has carried this burden, but this study helps provide a path to do so." 

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I actually don't agree with court term limits.  However, I very much want congressional term limits.  Preferably a max of 12 in each chamber (6 elections for House, 2 for Senate).  I think those would mitigate issues you could have with the courts.

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8 hours ago, homersapien said:

"The Post’s Editorial Board and many others have suggested limiting the term of Supreme Court justices. Back in 2014, Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute wrote:

With a Court that is increasingly active in overturning laws passed by Congress and checking presidential authority when there is a president of the opposite party, that means nominations both to appeals courts and to the Supreme Court have become increasingly divisive and polarized, for both parties. And the policy future of the country depends as much on the actuarial tables and the luck of the draw for presidents as it does on the larger trends in politics and society. …
For more than a decade, I have strongly advocated moving toward term limits for appellate judges and Supreme Court justices. I would like to have single, 18-year terms, staggered so that each president in a term would have two vacancies to fill. Doing so would open opportunities for men and women in their 60s, given modern life expectancies, and not just those in their 40s. It would to some degree lower the temperature on confirmation battles by making the stakes a bit lower. And it would mean a Court that more accurately reflects the changes and judgments of the society."
 

I want term limits for the Supreme Court if we ever have a majority of left leaning justices and I don’t want them as long as we have a majority of strict constitutionalists on the high court. 

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22 minutes ago, Brad_ATX said:

I actually don't agree with court term limits.  However, I very much want congressional term limits.  Preferably a max of 12 in each chamber (6 elections for House, 2 for Senate).  I think those would mitigate issues you could have with the courts.

And would force congress to actually work and heaven forbid make compromises

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7 hours ago, Brad_ATX said:

I actually don't agree with court term limits.  However, I very much want congressional term limits.  Preferably a max of 12 in each chamber (6 elections for House, 2 for Senate).  I think those would mitigate issues you could have with the courts.

i have little faith in ouor gove to do the right thing but i am in agreement with term limits in congress and the senate. seems to me people are just serving themselves and getting rich somehow instead of doing what the majority of americans want on both sides of the aisle.

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14 hours ago, SocialCircle said:

I want term limits for the Supreme Court if we ever have a majority of left leaning justices and I don’t want them as long as we have a majority of strict constitutionalists on the high court. 

That's called hypocrisy.   It also evaluates a proposal for a positive structural change for the country into terms of political partisanship which irresponsible behavior for a patriotic citizen.

But thanks for being honest and up front about it.

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14 hours ago, Brad_ATX said:

I actually don't agree with court term limits.  However, I very much want congressional term limits.  Preferably a max of 12 in each chamber (6 elections for House, 2 for Senate).  I think those would mitigate issues you could have with the courts.

I feel just the opposite. 

Legislators have to face reelection periodically.  To impose term limits is to restrict the citizens who might otherwise want to vote again for them.  And don't underestimate the value of experience and seniority.

The problem with the legislative system is the influence of money.

Finally,  I fail to see how term limits for legislators would improve the courts.

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14 minutes ago, homersapien said:

That's called hypocrisy.   It also evaluates a proposal for a positive structural change for the country into terms of political partisanship which irresponsible behavior for a patriotic citizen.

But thanks for being honest and up front about it.

I think he's yanking your chain a bit.

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6 hours ago, aubiefifty said:

i have little faith in ouor gove to do the right thing but i am in agreement with term limits in congress and the senate. seems to me people are just serving themselves and getting rich somehow instead of doing what the majority of americans want on both sides of the aisle.

First, the fact a majority of American's "wants" are being thwarted has more to do with biases in our representation system than it does with how long they serve. (After all, a legislators first responsibility is to represent his own constituency instead of the country as a whole.)

Second, what makes you think the "serving themselves and getting rich" problem wouldn't be accentuated knowing that they have a only limited time to do so?   That's a problem with campaign financing and the influence of big money donors.  If that doesn't change, term limits ain't going to fix it.

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1 minute ago, homersapien said:

Could be.  

But if so, it's a testament to the general quality of his posting history that suckered me in. ;)

I also think he's making a subtle point - that most people are probably like this if they're honest.  

I'll also note, you don't seem to see these kinds of articles appearing when Democrats get two or three picks, or when the picks are replacing someone of similar political bent (a liberal replacing a liberal, a conservative a conservative, a moderate a moderate).  It's only when a Republican gets a few nominees or when you have a chance to make a shift in the makeup of the court (and even that, when it's going to shift it to the right) that suddenly term limits for judges becomes a concern.

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2 minutes ago, homersapien said:

Second, what makes you think the "serving themselves and getting rich" problem wouldn't be accentuated knowing that they have a only limited time to do so?  

If the prospect of being a career politician is diminished or removed, I think far fewer with that mentality would be willing to try it. Originally these positions were not the primary job of those who held them.

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1 hour ago, homersapien said:

That's called hypocrisy.   It also evaluates a proposal for a positive structural change for the country into terms of political partisanship which irresponsible behavior for a patriotic citizen.

But thanks for being honest and up front about it.

Nice to see your recent concern for term limits now that it looks like the supreme court isnt going to favor your side anymore.     How convenient 

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15 minutes ago, auskip07 said:

Nice to see your recent concern for term limits now that it looks like the supreme court isnt going to favor your side anymore.     How convenient 

What in hell are you talking about? :dunno:

I support SCOTUS term limits but am skeptical of the benefits of legislator term limits.  That's been my position for a very long time.

Are you misreading again? <_<

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55 minutes ago, TitanTiger said:

I also think he's making a subtle point - that most people are probably like this if they're honest.  

I'll also note, you don't seem to see these kinds of articles appearing when Democrats get two or three picks, or when the picks are replacing someone of similar political bent (a liberal replacing a liberal, a conservative a conservative, a moderate a moderate).  It's only when a Republican gets a few nominees or when you have a chance to make a shift in the makeup of the court (and even that, when it's going to shift it to the right) that suddenly term limits for judges becomes a concern.

Don't know if that's actually true or not.  It sounds like fanciful opinion to me.

But I don't suddenly support term limits because of the current disposition of the court, but more due to the reasons laid out above by Norman Ornstein.

The politicization of the court is separate issue, but I suspect term limits would improve that rather than make it worse. Regular turnover would make it far less likely for a given political party to have an opportunity to "stack" the court with extreme conservatives or liberals.  Like Mitch (once) "let the voters decide".  A regular turnover would be a better system for allowing that, as we are currently witnessing.

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1 hour ago, homersapien said:

I feel just the opposite. 

Legislators have to face reelection periodically.  To impose term limits is to restrict the citizens who might otherwise want to vote again for them.  And don't underestimate the value of experience and seniority.

The problem with the legislative system is the influence of money.

Finally,  I fail to see how term limits for legislators would improve the courts.

Legislators face re-election sure.  But how many go unopposed?  I want term limits for Congress because it forces new ideas and new voices in the chambers.  It would also help stop the accumulation of power that you see with McConnell, Pelosi, et al given that they have been there for at least a generation.

How I see it helping with the courts is simply that less pressure would be applied on Senators to go party line if they could only be there for 12 years.  My hope would be that voting their conscience would be more regular.  If a Senator knows he/she can't possibly be re-elected, there is less incentive to stick to party politics, hopefully moderating the court.

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2 minutes ago, homersapien said:

Don't know if that's actually true or not.  It sounds like fanciful opinion to me.

But I don't suddenly support term limits because of the current disposition of the court, but more due to the reasons laid out above by Norman Ornstein.

The politicization of the court is separate issue, but I suspect term limits would improve that rather than make it worse. Regular turnover would make it far less likely for a given political party to have an opportunity to "stack" the court with extreme conservatives or liberals.  Like Mitch (once) "let the voters decide".  A regular turnover would be a better system for allowing that, as we are currently witnessing.

I wasn't saying you personally hold this position for the reason I stated.  I just know that Obama picked two SCOTUS judges with a chance to nominate a third - and his third pick would have altered the makeup of the court since he would have been replaced Scalia.  Don't recall any suggestions for SCOTUS term limits then.  Clinton got to choose two, same silence on the matter.  I could be wrong.  Maybe there were a few articles on the subject.  But I certainly don't remember the volume of articles suggesting it back then.

I'm not even saying it's a bad idea.  I just, for some, question their motives as to why it matters to them now.

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22 minutes ago, Brad_ATX said:

1) Legislators face re-election sure.  But how many go unopposed? 

2) I want term limits for Congress because it forces new ideas and new voices in the chambers. 

3) It would also help stop the accumulation of power that you see with McConnell, Pelosi, et al given that they have been there for at least a generation.

4) How I see it helping with the courts is simply that less pressure would be applied on Senators to go party line if they could only be there for 12 years. 

5) My hope would be that voting their conscience would be more regular.  If a Senator knows he/she can't possibly be re-elected, there is less incentive to stick to party politics, hopefully moderating the court.

1) Again, I think that's more of a money problem than anything else.  Government funding of elections (as an example) would be a better way to ensure competition.

2) Maybe, but w ith no other reforms, you would likely just get the "next Republican up" (in my state).  Perhaps - in that case -  there might even be a race to harden entrenched partisan positions.

3) There will always be leadership positions with a large amount of power no matter how much experience or time in office they have had.  These people derive their legislative powers from the office, but their political power comes from voters. If voters want to keep a given person in office why deny them the ability to do so?

4) Possibly.  If I could be convinced term limits would reduce the power of political parties I would be more inclined to support them.  My concern is it might do just the opposite.  In fact, the proposition is ripe for unintended consequences IMO.  Though I will admit I am not expert enough to anticipate them.

5) That would certainly be my hope as well.  That's a pretty good argument - assuming it's true of course. ;)

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9 minutes ago, TitanTiger said:

I wasn't saying you personally hold this position for the reason I stated.  I just know that Obama picked two SCOTUS judges with a chance to nominate a third - and his third pick would have altered the makeup of the court since he would have been replaced Scalia.  Don't recall any suggestions for SCOTUS term limits then.  Clinton got to choose two, same silence on the matter.  I could be wrong.  Maybe there were a few articles on the subject.  But I certainly don't remember the volume of articles suggesting it back then.

I'm not even saying it's a bad idea.  I just, for some, question their motives as to why it matters to them now.

Well, it doesn't matter any more to me now than it ever has. 

I don't reject your premise that it rises to prominence for any given political faction based on circumstances - that's more or less commonsense and to be expected.  I just don't remember it, from either side.

(Also, FWIW,  I think Obama's selections were far more toward the moderate side of the spectrum that what we see from Trump and the Federalist Society.)

 

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2 hours ago, homersapien said:

How so? 

 

 

1 hour ago, Brad_ATX said:

Legislators face re-election sure.  But how many go unopposed?  I want term limits for Congress because it forces new ideas and new voices in the chambers.  It would also help stop the accumulation of power that you see with McConnell, Pelosi, et al given that they have been there for at least a generation.

How I see it helping with the courts is simply that less pressure would be applied on Senators to go party line if they could only be there for 12 years.  My hope would be that voting their conscience would be more regular.  If a Senator knows he/she can't possibly be re-elected, there is less incentive to stick to party politics, hopefully moderating the court.

IMO, Brad summed it up nicely

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1 minute ago, bigbird said:

 

IMO, Brad summed it up nicely

I agree.  Public service should not be a permanent career path.  At least not at the federal level.  State and local gov't can do whatever makes sense for them.

I'm also open to the 18-year term limit for SCOTUS judges, but it's not something I'm ardent about.  I think the lifetime appointments slow the process of change down and even though incremental change is almost anathema to the fire-breathing progressive types, I think it's better overall for the country.  

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