A new Ipsos/Reuters finds most Americans want Supreme Court reform–but not the kind many Democrats have in mind. They support term limits on Supreme Court justices, but not expansion of the court, a change advocated by many progressives.
A majority of Americans want to end lifetime appointments for U.S. Supreme Court justices, according to an Ipsos poll for Reuters, though less than half are in favor of other efforts to reform the judiciary.
The national opinion poll, conducted on Thursday and Friday, found that 63% of adults supported term or age limits for Supreme Court justices. Another 22% said they opposed any limits and the rest did not express an opinion.
The poll also found that only 38% would support expanding the size of the court by adding four more justices. Another 42% said they would oppose doing so and the rest were unsure.
Liberal activists and some legal scholars have been pushing for judicial reforms as Republican leaders in Congress built a 6-to-3 conservative Supreme Court majority over the past several years, in part by blocking a Democratic nominee and allowing Republican former President Donald Trump to install three picks during his single term.
Some Democratic lawmakers on Thursday introduced legislation to expand the Supreme Court to 13 justices, a move that they believe would restore public confidence in the judicial branch. But the party’s leadership appeared cool to the idea of pursuing that course.
Indeed, the Dem party leadership (and that includes Joe Biden) is most assuredly aware that if the Democratic Party pushed for expansion with such low poll numbers that position would be used as a bludgeon by the GOP in 2022. If some reform does materialize in the next few years it’d probably be to deep-six lifetime appointments.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.