Supreme Court needs term limits

By The Andrews Journal

There were absolutely no winners coming out of Thursday’s U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearings about 35-year-old sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Sometimes we can oversimplify, but here’s the reality – either he committed these acts, or he did not. If he did, it’s despicable and speaks to his character as a teenager. If he did not, his life, career and literally one shot at being on the U.S. Supreme Court have been irreparably damaged for nothing.

After 10 hours of conversation, it was no easier to sort anything out than it was before it started. An FBI investigation has been started, but without a time machine there is little for them to do before Friday’s arbitrary deadline set by the committee. And does anyone believe minds are going to change between now and then?

The only certainty that came out of all this is that we have a constitutional crisis in America.

Yes, the U.S.Constitution has protected our way of life for nearly 2½ centuries. However, some things in it are out of date and were written in a different world.

Children learn in civics class that we have three branches of government, which perform checks and balances on each other. Many of us still remember that middle school flowchart with three boxes in triangle formation, explanatory lines going from one to the other.

What none of those teachers could ever explain is where the real check is on the judicial branch. Yes, the Senate confirms the justices, but once they gain that lifetime appointment precious few are ever asked to leave or even retire early.

If Congress can make laws, but the Supreme Court can rule that any given one of them is unconstitutional, there is no recourse against those nine justices. This has been a problem for centuries, but with the divisiveness in our country today it warrants even more consideration whether lifetime appointments are the best thing for our country.

No matter what side of this Kavanaugh debate you fall on, there is no chance this would be the political football that it is if we were not talking about a potentially 30-year appointment. That period of time covers a lot of elections, where the people get to decide who their legislators and president will be – but they will have no choice about who is on the high court.

What America really needs is to have some sort of Constitutional Convention in 2026 to celebrate our country’s 250th anniversary. We should get together and comb through every line of the Constitution and figure out if there is anything in there that maybe looks different in this century than it did in 1776.

The first thing to review in such a convention would be term limits for the Supreme Court. Eight years is plenty of time for a justice to serve on that body, which coincides nicely with the longest amount of time the president who appoints them can serve.

If there were light at the end of the tunnel, with new blood and fresh views coming to the court every two years on a rotation basis, then confirmation hearings would not be the boondoggle they have become.

As an example, see Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has served this nation well and deserves whatever accolades you can give

her, but she also is 85 years old. She infamously fell asleep during the State of the Union address three years ago. She replaced Byron “Whizzer” White on the high court, and he was the fourth overall pick in the National Football League Draft – in 1938!

The Supreme Court plays a vital role in our government, and we need their perspectives to be as ever-changing as society.

We also do not need the court to be politicized and used as a weapon to drive partisan agendas in either direction. Lifetime appointments facilitate the desperation of the parties to steer the court to their own ends, which just further divides America at a time when we desperately need to come together.

This article provided by NewsEdge.