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Letter: We need term limits for Supreme Court justices

(Erin Schaff | The New York Times) Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, April 23, 2021. Seated from left are Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Standing from left are Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Due to the extreme political machinations of America’s current two-party system, today’s Supreme Court no longer meets the standard likely intended when initially orchestrated by the Founding Fathers. Namely, trusting in politically independent life-appointed jurists when it comes to the last bastion for determining the law.

Instead, members of the court are packed based on serving the agenda of the political party with the most clout to get its favorites confirmed. That results in politically-biased rulings for the life of such appointees who too often have minimal intention of achieving fair and unprejudiced judgements.

It’s unlikely the influence of politics and the parties in power will ever be removed as part of the selection process. However, any resulting damage could be lessened by minimizing the amount of time justices can serve. As it stands now, a politically unbalanced court can achieve biased rulings for decades. Term limits would help minimize that defect.

According to numerous polls, a significant majority of Americans are against Supreme Court justices serving for life.

What would it take for term limits to become the law? It would most likely require a constitutional amendment requiring a two-step process of proposal and ratification that can be accomplished in two ways. The first method requires being proposed by a 2/3 vote of both houses of Congress and ratified by either 3/4ths of 50 state legislatures or 3/4ths of a constitutional convention called by the 50 states.

The second way requires being proposed by a constitutional convention called by Congress on petition of 2/3rds of the 50 states and ratified by the same process as the first method.

The obvious dilemma is achieving the 2/3 and 3/4 requirements once one of the two parties has achieved an extended political advantage. That’s a steep hill to climb.

Raymond A. Hult, Bountiful

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