Booker pushes to end lifetime terms for Supreme Court justices after Roe v. Wade decision

Published: Aug. 02, 2022

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation Tuesday to end lifetime terms for U.S. Supreme Court justices.

Acting after the high court’s six Republican-nominated justices overturned the 49-year-old right to abortion, Booker and other Senate Democrats called for 18-year-terms for the justices, meaning that a new person would ascend to the bench every two years.

“The Supreme Court is facing a crisis of legitimacy,” Booker said. “This crisis is the result of radical rulings that discard years of legal precedent and that are at odds with the views of the American people, ethical lapses, and the politicization of the Supreme Court confirmation process by Senate Republicans intent on using raw political power to transform the court.”

The bill has no chance of passing in the current Congress but could move in the next one if Democrats increase their Senate majority and carve out an exception to the filibuster, which requires 60 voted to move legislation.

“Setting term limits would create predictability and lower the stakes of future confirmation proceedings, de-politicizing the court,” Booker said.

Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., refused to consider President Barack Obama’s March 2016 nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, saying it was too close to a presidential election, and then held a vote on Amy Coney Barrett less than two weeks before the 2020 election.

He also ended the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations.

Booker helped lead the fight against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, which Republicans rushed through without waiting for all of his papers to reviewed by the Judiciary Committee. Instead, they let a veteran Republican lawyer decide which documents the committee members could review.

When Booker released documents before they were cleared by the GOP lawyer, he described his action as his “Spartacus moment.”

Under the legislation, a president would nominate one justice in the first year of a term and one in the third year. Those who serve for 18 years would then assume senior status and would fill in if the number of active justices drops below nine.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12th Dist., also has been active in efforts to overhaul the Supreme Court. Last month, she participated in a rally outside the Capitol to increase the size fo the court by four justices to 13.

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-08-03 06:12:43 -0700