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Why We Need Term Limits on the Supreme Court

The case for a constitutional amendment to end life-tenure appointments of Supreme Court Justices.

Bill Blum, legal commentator at Blum’s Law, says people want their judiciary to be two things: independent and responsive.

Blum says you don’t want a Justice to call the President and ask, “Which way should I rule?” At the same time, he notes, you also want them to be responsive to the needs, values, and aspirations of the American people.

“I think some of these Justices forget that they are public servants. They are not Kings and Queens sitting on Mount Olympus issuing edicts that affect all of our daily lives without scrutiny, or a complaint by the public,” Blum says.

Many legal experts are advocating for term limits, such as an 18-year term limit for Supreme Court Justices. However, this would require an amendment.

“It runs into the Constitution's Article III, which provides for lifetime tenure. I tend to agree with those scholars who say that we would need a Constitutional amendment to [change that],” Blum says.

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Blum agrees that the Founding Fathers gave SCOTUS Justices life-term tenures partly because the life expectancy of adults was much shorter than it is today. 

Justice Amy Coney Barret, for example, is 49. Blum says she’ll likely be on the Court for decades.

“If she remains healthy, she'll be on the court for another 30 years … the founders never envisioned that,” Blum says.

Watch the full interview now: