In last week's episode of YDHTY, term limits for Supreme Court Justices were discussed as one reform that could make the Court more representative of the population they serve. The argument goes that if Supreme Court Justices served terms of 18 years, each president would get to appoint two justices per term, making for a less contentious nomination process and making the Court a better reflection of the partisan makeup of the country.
Recent events bring some logic to this argument, as it seems arbitrary that a one-term president should have the same power to shape the court as a two-term one simply because more justices either chose to retire or die at the right time.
While term limits would give the appearance of fairness in partisan terms, could we see unintended consequences?
Suzanna Sherry, Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University, outlines one such scenario in her paper Term Limits and Turmoil: Roe v Wade's Whiplash. In it, she and her co-author model how a Supreme Court under term limits would have overturned and then reinstated Roe v Wade in the years following the initial ruling, creating enormous instability in our judicial system.
We discuss this and some of the real issues threatening the judiciary in this episode of YDHTY. You can listen via the player below, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever else you might get your podcasts.
The following resources by Sherry offer additional insight into the subject of Supreme Court reform:
- Term Limits and Turmoil: Roe v Wade's Whiplash: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3334545
- Our Kardashian Court (and How to Fix It): https://ilr.law.uiowa.edu/print/volume-106/our-kardashian-court-and-how-to-fix-it/