Adam Chilton on the Unintended Consequences of Supreme Court Term Limits

Biden’s Commission is Examining Supreme Court Term Limits. Those Could Have Unintended Consequences.

President Biden has announced plans to create a bipartisan commission to study reforms to the Supreme Court. Among the options the commission will be studying are term limits for Supreme Court justices. The most prominent term limit proposals would replace the current system in which judges are appointed for life with a system in which they would be appointed for 18-year terms. Their tenures would be staggered so that two appointments would be made each presidential term.

Term limits appear popular with the public. Their appeal also cuts across partisan lines, and both liberals and conservatives have endorsed them. But what would the practical consequences be?

Our new academic article, Designing Supreme Court Term Limits, examines how term limits might play out in practice. We find that any of the major proposals would probably dramatically change the partisan balance of the Supreme Court, making lopsided majorities less likely. Differences in the details of the different proposals could also lead to major differences in the court’s decisions.

Read more at Washington Post

The judiciary