A Short Amendment for Supreme Court Term Limits

2 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2017 Last revised: 27 Feb 2017

Date Written: February 27, 2017


I propose an amendment to limit the tenure of Justices on the Court, by ensuring that someone leaves and someone joins every two years. Here is the amendment in full:

"Whenever two years have passed since any Justice arrived on or departed from the Supreme Court, the term of whichever Justice has served longest on the Court shall end."

This leads to average tenures of 18 years on the Court. Whenever there are no early deaths or retirements, this leads to exact 18-year terms; and when those events occur, it smoothes out the pattern of departures and arrivals. It would give every president at least two opportunities for Supreme Court nominations.

The text of this amendment is short. It fits with the rest of the Constitution. It would start the new system smoothly and handle early retirements well. So it may be a good candidate for ratification.

A graphic at the end of the paper illustrates how the proposal works.

Keywords: Amendment, Supreme Court, Term Limits

JEL Classification: H10

Suggested Citation

Frank, Matthew, A Short Amendment for Supreme Court Term Limits (February 27, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2906176

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