This is another one of those years where the terms-limits movement is on the verge of a big breakthrough. As explained by Politico, outgoing Vice President Joe Biden is on the verge of drafting a memorandum calling for the Supreme Court to adopt term limits.
Current court decisions like Citizens United and Dred Scott invalidate the limitations on terms that Congress has placed on the justices, along with a host of state amendments. But Biden — with his White House experience — has begun to think seriously about the impact of these decisions on the court. The full memorandum is not expected to be issued until the end of April, sources tell POLITICO. Biden has not decided when to go public with his position, sources say.
Biden has been acting like a wide-eyed official about the whole thing:
That would still not affect the long-range retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who could be ready for retirement within a few years, and it would just affect the highest court in the land. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to not consider a nominee until 2018.
Yes, that is correct. So, will it actually lead to term limits? Those are opposed by Republicans, but even the most partisan Democrats are afraid of appearing to be trying to politicize the Supreme Court. “Does anyone outside of the Beltway think it is advisable or legitimate to say the chief justice of the United States should stay for a period beyond the president’s term?” asked Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in a “Meet the Press” appearance earlier this month.
Politico reports that it might:
The memorandum is also likely to attract the interest of Obama administration officials, some of whom will be looking to land on the next Democratic administration. If Biden decides to pursue term limits, it could signal a more aggressive White House approach to how it tries to influence the Supreme Court. That White House has been pushing for votes on a bill to have the Justices disclose certain documents about their private life, a move Democrats hope will increase awareness of the justices’ personal lives.
“Everyone wants term limits. This is certainly a way of doing it — a vote-on-a-bill approach that might get some movement,” said a Democratic lawyer who has worked in judicial elections and other races. The moment of truth will come when the memorandum is formally released.