Term Limits for Supreme Court Judges


TermLimits for Supreme Court Judges

TermLimits for Supreme Court Judges

Theimportance of the Supreme Court cannot be gainsaid as far asenhancing the administration of justice is concerned. It was chargedwith the sole responsibility of being the final interpreter of thefederal constitutional law and incorporates the ultimate appellatejurisdiction above all federal courts, as well as state court casesthat revolve around federal law issues (Kretzmer,2002).One of the pertinent features of the Supreme Court of the UnitedStates is the fact that its justices have security of tenure, inwhich case their terms are not limited. However, there has recentlybeen a push to have term limits imposed on them through amending theconstitution. While there may be varying opinions, it would be wrongto impose term limits on the Supreme Court judges.

First,term limits are against the intent of the constitution. Indeed,Article III of the constitution states that Supreme Court Judges areto hold office as long as they maintain good behavior. The UnitedStates constitution does not incorporate any provision that restrictsthe time judges can serve on the basis of the length of time or eventheir own age (Baum,1998).In essence, any attempts made to incorporate term limits in theUnited States constitution would be a direct affront on the text ofthe constitution.

Inaddition, the imposition of term limits would amount to restrictionof experience. Indeed, the artificial limiting of the amount of timethat an individual would serve in the Supreme Court would limit theexperience in that court. It is worth noting that since justices areallowed to provide their service to the Supreme Court for as long asthey are capable, they bring substantial experience and legalexpertise gained over decades (Baum,1998).Term limits would imply that the Supreme Court would be populated bynew judges who may not fully comprehend how the court works, in whichcase they may not serve the country the best way possible.

Onthe same note, term limits would create some level of instability.The fact that judges are currently under limited terms means thatthey are free to dispense justice the best way they know (Cramton&ampCarrington,2006).Indeed, it means that they are not restricted to presidentialadministrations or even modification of public opinions or even fadscreated in the heat of the moment. The imposition of term limitswould mean that the Supreme Court is denied the objective distance,in which case the individuals may be forced to reflect on theimmediate prejudgments and biases pertaining to the American public.

However,there may be some advantages to the imposition of term limits. First,it would allow for incorporation of new ways and ideas of doingthings. This element of having the same judges for decades may imposean element of rigidity in the Supreme Court (Cramton&ampCarrington,2006).This could eliminate efficiency and not give them an incentive to beaggressive in giving verdicts as their position is guaranteed.

Onthe same note, scholars acknowledge that life tenure makes itpossible for judges who are beyond who have lost their seal andphysical stamina necessary to fulfill the immense responsibilitiesthat come with the job to continue serving (Kretzmer,2002).Of course, this is not in the best interests of the country, in whichcase term limits would mean that only individuals who have the zealand physical stamina to dispense their duties would serve in theSupreme Court (Kretzmer,2002).


Baum,L. (1998).&nbspTheSupreme Court.Washington, DC: CQ Press.

Cramton,R. C., &amp Carrington, P. D. (2006).&nbspReformingthe Court: Term limits for Supreme Court justices.Durham, N.C: Carolina Academic Press.

Kretzmer,D. (2002).&nbspTheoccupation of justice: The Supreme Court of Israel and the OccupiedTerritories.Albany: State University of New York Press.