In the wake of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Democrats are doing everything they can to stop President Donald Trump from nominating her replacement. Failing that, however, it seems those on the left have come up with a new plan to limit Trump’s influence.
According to Breitbart, a group of House Democrats is preparing to drop a bombshell bill that seeks to limit Supreme Court justices to 18 years on the bench. Justices currently enjoy lifetime tenures.
“Lower the temperature”
Alongside Reps. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) and Don Beyer (D-VA), California Congressman Ro Khanna (D) is set to introduce the bill on Tuesday, Reuters reports.
Khanna, for his part, says the goal is to prevent tense partisan battles like the one that has swept the country in the wake of Ginsburg’s death from dividing Americans in the future.
“It would save the country a lot of agony and help lower the temperature over fights for the court that go to the fault lines of cultural issues and is one of the primary things tearing at our social fabric,” he said, according to Reuters.
According to Reuters, the new bill “would allow every president” the chance “to nominate two justices per four-year term.”
But it remains unclear if the legislation, known as the Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act, is even legal. As Reuters notes, this is the first time lawmakers have tried “to set Supreme Court term limits by statute.”
Some argue that such a move can only be made by constitutional amendment. Section 1 of Article III in the U.S. Constitution states clearly: “The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.”
Khanna, however, contends that his bill is constitutional, as it would not apply to current justices, and would simply rotate future justices who have reached their 18-year limit down to lower courts. “That’s perfectly consistent with their judicial independence and having a lifetime salary and a lifetime appointment,” Khanna told Reuters, according to Breitbart.
Notably, Reuters reports, the average tenure for a Supreme Court justice is “now more than 25 years.”
Despite desperate attempts from Democrats like Khanna, President Trump is expected to announce his pick for the Supreme Court this weekend.