By James Fite*
Democrats in the House have introduced a new bill to keep fresh faces on the Supreme Court. The measure will “restore legitimacy and independence to the nation’s highest court,” they argue. Republicans and the Constitution may disagree. It’s no secret that Justice Clarence Thomas is the left’s least loved member of the Court – or that he has been on it longer than any other currently serving member. What’s really behind this push to impose term limits for SCOTUS? Is it really about achieving balance or simply a shortcut to get rid of a hated originalist?
Supreme Court Term Limits
Under the Supreme Court Tenure Establishment and Retirement Modernization Act of 2022, every president would be allowed to appoint two SCOTUS justices per term, one in the first year and another in the third. Like any other job, the judges could decline, be disqualified, die, or retire, of course, but barring that, each justice would serve a single term of 18 years. Those who are forced out would have two options: retire totally or remain as a sort of SCOTUS reserve, holding the title “Senior Justice,” in case an unscheduled vacancy occurs. The idea is presented as term limits for the Supreme Court, but it is, in fact, a complete overhaul of the system.
Under the proposal, every president is allowed to nominate two candidates per term, but no more. If a vacancy appears for any reason that causes the number of active justices to fall below nine, the most recently replaced – if he or she chose to remain a senior justice rather than retiring completely – would become active once again, serving as the final associate justice until a replacement is made.
Bye-Bye Justice Thomas
If this becomes law, Justice Thomas is off active duty in 2023, regardless of what happens in the 2024 election – but suppose Biden or another Democrat, like Gavin Newsom, wins the White House. By the time the 2028 elections roll around, Justices Thomas, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito are all out, almost certainly replaced by much younger, much more progressive candidates, resulting in a 6-3 majority for the far left.
Assuming nothing else changes, this will result in the ideological majority of the Supreme Court flip-flopping on a semi-regular basis. But now it’s time for a bit of speculation. Consider some of the positions the Democratic Party has taken over the last few years: Mail-in ballots for everyone, no ID or even US citizenship required to vote, a legal voting age of 16, and an open southern border.
For The Greater Good, No Matter The Cost
The Constitution very clearly sets the authority for nominating Supreme Court justices at the president’s feet alone – though the Senate must confirm any appointees – and those justices, once nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, serve until they die, retire, or are successfully convicted after impeachment. Changing this should require an amendment, but that simply wouldn’t do. Donald Trump managed to appoint and see confirmed three justices the left considers radical. To the most dedicated of Democrats, this is something of a constitutional crisis.
“Five of the six conservative justices on the bench were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, and they are now racing to impose their out-of-touch agenda on the American people, who don’t want it,” lamented Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia, one of the Democrats who introduced the bill. “Term limits are a necessary step toward restoring balance to this radical, unrestrained majority on the court,” he added.
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler (D-NY) called the measure “essential” after “all the harmful and out-of-touch rulings from the Supreme Court this last year.” He warned that otherwise, “we will be left with backwards-looking [sic] majority for a generation or more.”
Overturning Roe v. Wade would be the most egregious of these “backwards-looking” rulings of the current Court, as far as most progressives are concerned, but affirming the right to keep and bear arms in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen is probably a close second. But how can Democrats rationalize blatantly violating the Constitution or fail to see how it could easily backfire on them should they lose control of the Swamp to the Republicans again? Simply put, the ends always justify the means to the left, and no crime or immoral act is off limits if done in the name of the greater good. It’s the same reason so many Senate Democrats keep trying to end the filibuster. Can the move be used against them the very next term? Absolutely – but they don’t care. So long as it makes right an unbearable wrong today, any potential consequences are tomorrow’s troubles. And of course, the greater good is whatever they say it is, and anything they disagree with constitutes an unbearable wrong.
*About the author: Editor-at-Large. James is our wordsmith extraordinaire, a legislation hound and lover of all things self-reliant and free. An author of politics and fiction (often one and the same) he homesteads in the Arkansas wilderness.
Source: This article was published by Liberty Nation