The Washington Post editorial board over the weekend called to establish term limits for Supreme Court justices, limiting them to 18 years on the bench, in an effort to ensure both Republicans and Democrats have “foreseeable, regular opportunities to nominate justices.”
The Post’s view came on the heels of Joe Biden’s Executive Order Friday to form a commission to “study” reforming the Supreme Court, including analysis of the “membership and size” and “length of service and turnover of justices” of the court, according to the White House.
Biden said the court system was “out of whack” in a “60 minutes” interview during his campaign for president, and promised to establish a commission to investigate solutions. The 36-member bipartisan commission will hold public meetings and is directed to complete its report within 180 days.
“Term limits should be high on Mr. Biden’s commission’s agenda,” the editorial board wrote, arguing the broad scope of the White House’s commission would allow the members to fully explore “replacing life tenure…with an 18-year term.”
The Post’s recommendation aligns with past calls from Democrats for term limits being placed on Supreme Court justices, including legislation introduced to Congress last year in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death that would have limited their time on the bench to 18 years.
Other Democrats have proposed expanding the number of Supreme Court justices as a response to what the Post called “recent Republican success in appointing a six-member, life-tenured Supreme Court majority.”
Not all Democrats are on board with the Post’s opinion, though. Former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid told CNN’s Jim Acosta Saturday that it would be “inappropriate” to impose term limits, and that “we better be very, very careful in saying that we need to expand the Supreme Court.”
Republicans have blasted Biden’s commission, saying it is a drastic step toward court-packing, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying it was a “direct assault on our nation’s independent judiciary.”
In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt attempted to add an additional six justices to the bench. The move saw overwhelmingly bipartisan opposition for what Biden, as a senator, later called a “bonehead” idea.