A vast majority of Americans want the end of lifetime appointments as US Supreme Court justices, a new survey has found. According to a Reuters Ipsos poll some 63 percent of adult Americans like to have term or age limits to the US supreme court justices.
The survey result came amid controversy over the purported move by the Democrats to increase the strength of the Supreme Court from 9 to 13. It was reported earlier this week that the Democrats are planning to introduce legislation to add as many as four justices to the US Supreme Court, a move that will tilt the balance of the court completely.
Contentious and Divisive Point
This move gave rise to heightened concerns over court packing, a contentious and divisive point of debate in the United States. The US Congress had changed the number of justices several times in the 19th Century as the number swayed from five to ten. Eventually, it settled at nine in 1869, after the Civil War and it has remained there so far.
Technically, the Congress can change that number. President Roosevelt mooted changing the court's makeup after he won a sweeping re-election victory in1936. He then proposed adding one new justice each time a justice reached the age 70 but did not retire. This move met with criticism, and it was Edward Rumely who first called it the "court-packing plan.
Though President Joe Biden had been against the idea of court packing, of late, his position on this had become more nuanced. His position changed after Donald Trump went ahead with the plans to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court after liberal justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last year.
However, the White House later clarified that it does not support the Democrat move to add more justices. In a press conference on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the president does not support Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler's move to push through a bill that authorizes as many as four more justices.
Call for Judicial Reforms
Though Psaki said Biden does not endorse the legislative push, she hinted at the possibility of the President making a move on the lines in future. The spokesperson said the president would rather wait and assess the report from the commission he set up last week to study the ramifications of adding more justices to the court. n a crucial move, Biden signed an executive order last week to form a commission to study the "pros and cons" of adding more judges to the supreme court.
Now, the Reuters poll suggests that most Americans want a reform in the supreme court system. While 63% supported term or age limits for Supreme Court justices, 22% of respondents said they were against any limits.
The poll also found that only 38% would support expanding the size of the court, according to Reuters.
The poll also found that only 49% of Americans held a "great deal" or a "fair amount" of confidence in the apex court's decisions.