Age, Tenure and Productivity of the U.S. Supreme Court: Are Term Limits Necessary?

22 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2006 Last revised: 13 Sep 2012

Joshua C. Teitelbaum

Georgetown University Law Center


This paper examines the relationship between the productivity of the U.S. Supreme Court and the age and tenure of the Supreme Court Justices. The motivation for this paper is the Supreme Court Renewal Act of 2005 (SCRA) and other recent proposals to impose term limits for Supreme Court Justices. The authors of the SCRA and others suggest that term limits are necessary because, inter alia, increased longevity and terms of service of the Justices has resulted in a decline in the productivity of the Court as measured by the number of cases accepted for review and the number of opinions issued per term. On the whole, the empirical findings of this paper do not provide clear support for this assertion.

Keywords: age, tenure, productivity, Supreme Court, term limits

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Teitelbaum, Joshua C., Age, Tenure and Productivity of the U.S. Supreme Court: Are Term Limits Necessary?. Florida State University Law Review, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 161-181, 2006. Available at SSRN:

Joshua C. Teitelbaum (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-661-6589 (Phone)

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