America is on the verge of a massive fight over the Supreme Court.
It may be the ugliest in American history.
And it’s all because one decision could create a Supreme Court vacancy that will change everything forever.
85-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is the most radical leftist on the court.
She’s also recovering from surgery that removed cancerous tumors from her lungs.
Ginsberg will miss two weeks-worth of Supreme Court oral arguments and will rely on transcripts to render her decisions.
Her absence – as well as her age – reignited an old debate in America.
Should Supreme Court appointments be for a lifetime?
Or should Congress enact a mandatory retirement age?
Some would argue that a mandatory retirement age is discriminatory.
Congress outlawed age discrimination with the 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
But the Supreme Court actually weighed in on this decision.
In 1991, the court held in Gregory v Ashcroft that Article V of the Missouri state constitution imposing mandatory retirement at the age of 70 did violate the ADEA.
That’s because Congress exempted state officials “at the policymaking level” from the act’s protections.
Justice O’Connor argued that if Congress wanted to exclude judges from officials at the “policy making level,” they would have done so with legislative text.
Justice O’Connor wrote for the majority, “Nonetheless, “appointee at the policymaking level,” particularly in the context of the other exceptions that surround it, is an odd way for Congress to exclude judges; a plain statement that judges are not “employees” would seem the most efficient phrasing. But in this case, we are not looking for a plain statement that judges are excluded. We will not read the ADEA to cover state judges unless Congress has made it clear that judges are included. This does not mean that the Act must mention judges explicitly, though it does not. Cf. Dellmuth v. Muth, 491 U.S. 223, 233 (SCALIA, J., concurring). Rather, it must be plain to anyone reading the Act that it covers judges. In the context of a statute that plainly excludes most important state public officials, “appointee on the policymaking level” is sufficiently broad that we cannot conclude that the statute plainly covers appointed state judges. Therefore, it does not.”
Based on this decision, Congress could impose a mandatory retirement age for judges.
That would change Presidential campaigns.
Going into an election, voters would know exactly how many Supreme Court nominations a President would get and which Justices they would replace.
In 2016, Republicans keeping Antonin Scalia’s seat open after his death made the election a referendum on which candidate would pick his successor.
That boosted Donald Trump to victory, as voters who listed the Supreme Court as their number one issue overwhelmingly broke for Trump.
On the other hand, some Americans believe too much importance is put on the Supreme Court.
Mandatory retirement ages would create certainty over how many nominations a President could make.
But it would render every election a fight over the Supreme Court.
Many conservatives argue that politicians need to fight back against judicial supremacy.
Making supreme court nominations even more important would only add to this problem.
Do you think there should be a mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court justices?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.