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Biden’s Supreme Court Commission Debates Over Justice Term Limits

Biden’s Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court held its second meeting Wednesday, with some scholars pushing for term limits for justices, limiting the high court’s power, or adding more seats to the court.

July 03, 2021

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The whole day meeting was held online, with experts divided into four panels to discuss a broad range of reform proposals.

“I strongly urge this commission to consider a reform proposal that many of us have discussed and written about, which are term limits for the Supreme Court Justices,” said Maya Sen, a public policy professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Sen pointed out that the court is fundamentally a political institution, and the appointments process is increasingly being exploited for partisan gain.

Sen argued that term limits could eliminate many political incentives and address the “fundamentally undemocratic nature of lifetime tenure.”

Ilan Wurman, an associate professor at Arizona State University, said, “the proposal for eighteen-year, staggered term limits, fixing the Court at nine Justices, strikes me as the most plausible of all available reforms” even he thinks term limits are unnecessary.

Staggered term limits with nine Justices mean there will be a vacancy every two years. So each President will get two appointees per term.

The experts spent limited time on the idea of increasing Justices to the high court, known as “court-packing,” but debated over ideas for limiting the court’s power of judicial review—such as stripping its jurisdiction to strike down particular laws.

Nikolas Bowie, an assistant professor of law at Harvard Law School, claimed in the meeting that the Supreme Court is an “anti-democratic institution.”

“The main problem is ‘judicial review’ or the power of the court to decline to enforce a federal law, when a majority of the justices disagree with a majority of Congress about the law’s constitutionality,” Bowie said, citing the court’s invalidation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a 5–4 decision in 2013.

“Democratizing the Supreme Court will be hard, but we must do it,” Bowie concluded.

But some experts disagree. Noah Feldman, a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, said substantial reforms could be “disastrous.”

Read the rest @ theepochtimes

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