Should the Supreme Court Have Term Limits?
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recently announced that he will soon retire from the bench. Soon, President Biden and the U.S. Senate will carry out one of their most important constitutional duties—the nomination and approval of a new member of the Supreme Court. In recent years, there has been considerable debate over whether or not Justices should have term limits. This debate will surely arise again as the focus of the country shifts to the Court.
Those who argue that term limits for Supreme Court Justices contend that doing so will be helpful for the health of our constitutional republic. They argue that doing so will help to reduce political partisanship in our country and help restore public opinion of the Court. Additionally, they may argue that the high courts in other nations have terms limits—and that the United States should follow suit. Finally, they claim that term limits will allow for greater turnover in the Court and thereby allow the will of the people to be more involved in judicial review.
Those who oppose creating term limits for Supreme Court Justices argue that term limits will not help reduce political polarization in the country—and may in fact increase it. They contend that setting term limits will increase turnover, which means there will be a greater frequency in the debates that occur each time a new Supreme Court Justice needs to be appointed and approved. This side also argues that since Article III of the U.S. Constitution bans term limits for the Supreme Court, a constitutional amendment is required to make the change—which is not only unrealistic but changes to our governing document could further divide the country. Finally, they may argue that the Supreme Court is not designed to reflect the will of the people as much as the president and Congress, and that it instead should be an apolitical body that is stable. They contend that term limits would threaten this stability with greater turnover.
So, what do you think? Should the Supreme Court Have Term Limits? Students may answer Yes, they should; No, they should not; or a nuanced answer in between!
Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:
- Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner
- Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers
- Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors
- They address counter-arguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner
- They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly
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This question will run from 1/31/22 to 2/18/22, so be sure to submit your answers in time to be considered for our prizes!