Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Term Limits Are Key to Restoring Public Trust in the Supreme Court
Press Release

RELEASE: Term Limits Are Key to Restoring Public Trust in the Supreme Court

Washington, D.C. — With recent ethics scandals calling into question the U.S. Supreme Court’s legitimacy, a new column from the Center for American Progress argues that imposing term limits on the justices would help restore public trust in the high court.

Term limits would ensure that the court better reflects American values and create more trust in its decisions, the column argues. Taking away lifetime appointments would also discourage justices from acting as if they are above the law and deter them from flouting ethics rules.

“Congress must safeguard the Supreme Court’s critical role in our democracy by passing a measure that imposes term limits,” said Maggie Jo Buchanan, senior legal fellow at CAP and author of the column. “Lawmakers must act soon to prevent the court’s reputation — and therefore, public trust in the rule of law— from plummeting even further.”

The column urges any meaningful term-limits proposal to be based around two principles: 1) an 18-year limit structured to ensure that each presidential term brings two vacancies on the court; and 2) a mechanism to ensure that Americans will benefit from term limits as quickly as possible, rather than waiting out departures for all the current justices.

The column also proposes that the justices continue working during the summer instead of taking a three-month hiatus from public service. At least some of that time, justices could be required to once again “ride circuit” and hear cases at the lower court level or even hear “certified questions” to provide guidance to lower courts on complex legal matters.

Read the column: “Term Limits Are Critical to Restoring Public Trust in the Supreme Court” by Maggie Jo Buchanan

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected].

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