(Noted News) — Democrats within the House of Representatives have drafted a bill to shorten the length of time that federal judges serve on the U.S Supreme Court from a full lifetime to just 18 years. According to U.S Representative from California Ro Khanna, the point of the bill is to tame the battles between the parties over appointing their own justices.
“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.”
Currently, Supreme Court Justices are appointed by the President and are required to serve until they resign, retire, die, or are removed from office. Given the power that the 9 Supreme Court Justices have over American legislation, appointing new ones has always been a heated frenzy amongst the parties.
Since the Supreme Court has to vote on each bill, having at least 5 of the 9 justices on a particular party’s side gives an overwhelming advantage to the party’s long-term agenda.
According to the Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos, a Supreme Court that had 5 conservatives and 4 liberals was a threat to voting rights, but a 6-4 Supreme Court would “finish them off”.
The Democrats’ new bill comes following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and new concerns over a lopsided Supreme Court should President Trump appoint a new conservative-leaning justice.
Ginsburg, appointed by President Clinton in 1993, served on the Court for nearly 28 years before passing on September 18th of complications from pancreatic cancer. Called the “Notorious RBG,” she is remembered for working towards women’s rights and vocally dissenting against bills that she thought to be unjust.
When the conservative majority Supreme Court of 2013 annulled the Voting Rights Act, which required states to get approval from the federal government to change voting laws, Ginsburg famously said, “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,”
Ginsburg is the third Supreme Court justice to die on the job after the year 2000.
There was a similar frenzy when conservative-leaning Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016 and was subsequently replaced by Justice Merrick Garland, appointed by President Obama.
According to a PBS survey commissioned by Fix The Court, the majority of Americans favor restrictions on the tenure of Supreme Court justices; 23% are against it while 77% are for it.
So far, President Trump has been responsible for appointing 2 Supreme Court Justices; Nick Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. He will be able to appoint his third Justice on September 26.
The likely favorite is Amy Coney Barrett, someone who, according to sources familiar with the selection process, is highly likely to form a conservative majority and overturn decisions like Roe Vs Wade.
In an interview with CNN, former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin said there was no doubt about what her effect would be on the Supreme Court.
“She is as close as you can say to a sure vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. If you look at her academic work before she was appointed to the bench, there is virtually no doubt that she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. She does not believe in the constitutional basis for Roe, and that is what really brought her to prominence among Republicans.”
Barret was reportedly the second choice to Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, further suggesting that she will be next in line for the president’s choice on Saturday.
Currently, the longest-serving Supreme Court Justice is Clarence Thomas, who began his tenure in 1991, appointed by President Bush in 1991.