Final commission report of Supreme Court reform says term limits merit ‘serious consideration’
Away from the circus and noise on Capitol Hill, the commission on Supreme Court reform issued its final report on ideas for how to improve SCOTUS operations.
The commission took no official position for or against the proposed reforms it studied. But it did note where the general mood was on a couple of high-profile issues – term limits and so-called “court packing,” or adding more justices to the court.
On court packing, the commissioners said:
Congress has broad authority to increase the number of justices but takes no position on expansion, noting the “profound disagreement among commissioners on this issue.”
That’s a nice way of saying this is issue probably isn’t going any further, save for the fever swamps of the progressive left.
As for term limits:
The report, which takes no position on the proposal, cites testimony from a group of Supreme Court practitioners who concluded that an 18-year nonrenewable term “warrants serious consideration.”
Should Congress seek to impose term limits, the commission suggests a constitutional amendment would be the preferred approach rather than a change in statute. The report cautions that any change driven by lawmakers could face a constitutional challenge to be decided by the Supreme Court, raising questions about whether the justices could even review such a case.
Of course limits would have to be established through constitutional amendment – just as they were for the president. As for the “any change” to the court generating a legal challenge…Congress would seem to have the upper hand in such matters.
The report is not light reading, but it offers the most comprehensive look at Supreme Court reforms in decades. Will a SCOTUS term limit amendment appear in the next Congress? Stay tuned.