The American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship recently issued its report, and among the recommendations was that Congress pass legislation to change Supreme Court justices’ terms to 18 years, staggered so that one nomination comes up during each term of Congress (two for each presidential term). Since the framing of the Constitution, life spans have increased, giving these unelected justices immense power for decades longer than the framers imagined.
Since the Constitution does not set forth their duties during their life terms, this current situation can be changed by legislation, some moving to senior status and others to lower courts after their term. Rather than packing the court with conservatives or liberals or even adding more justices, there should be a discussion among the candidates and indeed among us citizens whether this is worth pursuing.
Kelly Riordan, Bellevue