- A new Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that 63% of Americans back term limits for Supreme Court justices.
- Only 22% of respondents indicated opposition to any sort of term limits.
- President Biden has assembled a commission to study possible reforms within the federal judiciary.
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With congressional Democrats and Republicans seemingly in a perpetual state of battles over the judiciary, a recent poll shows the American public in favor of curbing lifetime appointments for Supreme Court justices, while displaying less enthusiasm toward other judicial reforms.
A Reuters/Ipsos national opinion poll conducted in mid-April showed that 63% of respondents supported term limits for Supreme Court justices, while only 22% of respondents supported lifetime appointments.
Supreme Court justices currently have lifetime appointments.
The poll also showed that 38% of respondents supported an expansion of the court from nine to 13 members, while 42% opposed the idea.
The court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, currently has a 6-3 conservative majority.
The importance of Supreme Court appointments for any president cannot be overstated – it is a chance to make an ideological mark on the highest court in the country and decisions handed down from the court are consequential for virtually every American citizen and can reverberate for generations.
Former President Donald Trump was able to install three conservative jurists – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett – over the course of his single term in office.
President Joe Biden has not yet been able to make an appointment to the high court, but this past week, Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones of New York said that Stephen Beyer should retire from the court at the end of the current Supreme Court term.
Jones is wary of a liberal-leaning justice staying on the court and preventing a Democratic president from nominating a successor in the event of a death, a scenario that occurred last year when liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away during Trump’s tenure.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity for President Biden to appoint and for the Senate to confirm jurists on the Supreme Court who are not hostile to our democracy and will adjudicate cases that will protect and preserve voting rights and will respect the will of Congress, frankly,” he said.
Last week, he unveiled a bill with Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler of New York and Hank Johnson of Georgia, along with Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, that would expand the court from nine members to 13 members.
However, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said last week that she wouldn’t bring the measure up for a floor vote, instead awaiting the findings of President Joe Biden’s bipartisan commission on court reform.