Polling shows over 60% of Americans support term limits for Supreme Court justices, a number that includes a large percentage of conservative-leaning independents who are presumably happy with the court's 6-3 conservative majority.

To find out why, I invited Arjun Moorthy from The Factual to discuss a recent poll they ran on the subject, and understand what supporters and detractors felt.

In this episode, we discuss the responses to The Factual's poll, the history of the court and expansion of its power, and how the perception of partisanship outside the court might be a bigger problem than anything that goes on inside it.

You can listen to the full episode via the player below, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Show Notes

  • Polling from both The Factual and Ipsos shows support for term limits for Supreme Court Justices at over 60%.
  • Reasons supporters cited were the potential for justices performance declining with age and the idea that lifetime appointments to anything make justices less accountable to the people they serve.
  • The history of the Supreme Court shows it wasn't designed to be a nonpartisan body, and early Americans worried more about the Court being too powerful than too partisan.
  • Studies show term limits could result in more extreme judges being appointed, who would be more beholden to swings in public opinion than to their legacy in constitutional law. This could create wild swings in constitutional law, a phenomenon scholars refer to as "constitutional whiplash".
  • Data from The Harvard Law Review shows justices joined the court's opinion at the same rate - over half the time - with Justices Thomas and Sotomayor being outliers at under 50%.