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Americans favor Supreme Court Term limits

Published in Blog on July 18, 2017 by Convention Of States Project

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Most Americans would support imposing a term limit on the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, who now serve for life, a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll has found in the aftermath of major rulings by the court on Obamacare and gay marriage.

Limiting terms would be difficult, requiring an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Congress shows no signs of taking up the idea, though Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz has suggested the possibility of justices being voted out of office.

Support for the 10-year term limit proposed by the poll was bipartisan, with 66 percent saying they favored such a change while 17 percent supported life tenure.

The two big rulings in June were widely welcomed by liberals. Nevertheless, 66 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of independents said they favored the 10-year term limit idea, according to the poll.

Respondents were not asked their preference on how long the justices' terms should last. Over the years, legal experts have debated 8-, 10-, 14- and 18-year limits.

The poll showed broad understanding of the court, with 68 percent saying they knew justices are appointed, not elected, and 60 percent saying they knew the appointments are for life.

Under the Constitution, presidents appoint the justices subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate, a process only 32 percent of respondents backed. Forty-eight percent said justices should be elected.

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If Congress won't limit the terms of office for Supreme Court justices, the people can. Under Article V of the Constitution, the states can call a Convention of States to propose constitutional amendments that impose term limits on federal officials. Click here to learn more.

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