U.S. Supreme Court

House bill would push Supreme Court justices into senior status after 18-year terms

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A U.S. House of Representatives bill introduced Tuesday would allow new U.S. Supreme Court justices to serve 18 years in active service before they are moved to senior status.

The bill is called the Supreme Court Tenure Establishment and Retirement Modernization Act of 2022, which is shortened to the Supreme Court TERM Act.

Law360, Fox News, Axios and the Hill have coverage.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia introduced the bill in the House. The bill is intended to preserve judicial independence by ensuring that senior justices “remain fully compensated members of the federal judiciary for life, capable of exercising official duties on and off the bench for as long as they choose,” according to a press release by Johnson’s office.

Under the bill, presidents would appoint Supreme Court justices in the first and third years after presidential elections. Current justices would assume senior status in order of length of service as new justices receive their commissions. Newly appointed justices would serve 18-year terms before moving to senior status.

If the number of justices in active service falls below nine, the justice who most recently assumed senior status would fill in.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island plans to introduce a companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

“Term limits need to be one part of the conversation about reforming the Supreme Court, which has been captured by big special interests,” Whitehouse told WPRI.

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