In the span of a single term, former President Donald Trump successfully appointed three justices to the highest court in the land, a fact that generated significant panic among liberals who – with the help of a new administration – are now aiming to reshape the institution in their favor once and for all.
Amid the ongoing debate about the future of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Washington Post editorial board this weekend argued for the establishment of term limits for justices which would see them removed from service after 18 years on the bench, purportedly as a means to guarantee that both political parties have ample opportunities to make nominations.
The Post’s recommendations comes in the aftermath of an executive order issued by President Joe Biden on Friday creating a commission charged with studying potential reforms for the high court. An official statement from the White House announcing the order stated:
The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices.
Potential reforms to the Supreme Court were often a subject of discussion during the 2020 presidential campaign, with then-candidate Biden declaring the judicial system “out of whack” and pledging to develop a bipartisan commission to explore solutions, as Fox News noted.
Many in the progressive wing of the Democrat Party have long been advocating for the addition of several more seats on the high court – filled, of course, by liberals. However, this type of “court packing” has remained a political hot potato, so much so that during the presidential campaign, Biden himself refused to state a position on the matter until after the election.
Liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 82, has issued strong words of caution to those who would make such sweeping alterations to the court, stating recently, according to the Post, “those whose initial instincts may favor important structural chance…such as forms of court-packing, think long and hard before they embody those changes in law,” arguing that tweaking the number of seats on the bench to bolster policy objectives would erode public faith in principled jurisprudence.
According to the Post’s editorial board, it is therefore not court packing, but rather term limits that represent the best immediate course of action for the commission to pursue, and it urged members of that group to consider “replacing life tenure…with an 18-year term.” The paper argued that doing so would “drain some of the intensity from Supreme Court politics by providing both parties with foreseeable, regular opportunities to nominate justices – thus lowering the stakes of each vacancy.”
However, not everyone is on board with the substance of the recommendation, with former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D) declaring term limits “inappropriate,” and current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling Biden’s commission itself a “direct assault on our nation’s independent judiciary,” according to Fox News.
Indeed, regardless of whether Biden’s commission actually succeeds in moving the needle toward fulfillment of the left’s desires with regard to court reform, the blatant nature this attempted power grab should give all Americans pause.