Interesting editorial from Paul D. Carrington (law professor at Duke) for the NY Times about the power and influence of the Supreme Court, and judicial term limits. 

"The idea isn’t new. High-ranking judges in all major nations, and all 50 states, are subject to age or term limits. The power to invalidate legislation is, in a sense, the ultimate political power, and mortals who exercise it need constraint. So why not the highest court in the land? "

"Indeed, Mr. Perry wasn’t the first person to propose adjusting the political powers of our highest court, nor is the idea an exclusively conservative one. In 2009 a politically diverse group of law professors, including me, proposed a system that would work around the need to amend the Constitution — an extremely unlikely possibility — yet still capture the benefits of term limits."

"Here’s how our plan would work. Every two years the president would appoint a new justice to the court, but only the nine most junior justices, by years of service, would sit and decide every case.  The rest would then act as a sort of “bench” team, sitting on cases as needed because of the disability or disqualification of one of the junior justices. These senior justices might also help decide which of the thousands of petitions the court receives each year should be fully considered, vote on procedural rulemaking, and perhaps sit on occasional cases presented to lower circuit courts."

"If five of our present justices broadly prohibit the federal government from providing accessible health care, Congress should consider using its constitutional power again to add two more justices — and impose a reasonable limit on the length of time that a mere mortal should hold so much political power."

 

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