Home>Highlight>By a huge margin, most Americans want term limits for U.S. Supreme Court Justices, poll says

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Photo: European University Institute.)

By a huge margin, most Americans want term limits for U.S. Supreme Court Justices, poll says

Quinnipiac: 63% of U.S. think top court decisions are politically motivated

By David Wildstein, May 18 2022 2:55 pm

Nearly 70% of Americans prefer a limit on the number of years someone can serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released on Wednesday.

Support for limiting how long as Supreme Court justice can serve is at 69%, while 27% oppose limits.  It’s at 77%-18% among Democrats, 61%-36% among Republicans, and 69%-27% among independents.

But the poll doesn’t indicate any timeframe on what a term limit might be, and few justices retire early.

The senior justice on the court, Clarence Thomas, has been there for more than 30 years.  Stephen Breyer recently retired after almost 28 years, Anthony Kennedy left at 30, and John Paul Stevens stepped down after 34 years.  Two justices who died in office over the last six years were there for nearly three decades: Antonin Scalia served for 29 years and Ruth Bader Ginsburg for 27.

Justice David Souter retired at age 69 after a relatively short 18-year stint.  Chief Justice Warren Burger was 79 when he retired after 17 years.

Most Americans (63%) think the top court us motivated mainly by politics, while 32% say the impetus of their decisions is from the law.

President Joe Biden has an upside-down national approval rating of 35%-57%.  Among independents he’s at 30%-62%.  The Supreme Court’s approval rating is also under water at 40%-52% nationally and 39%-53% among independents.

New Jersey has a form of term-limits for Supreme Court justices: the State Constitution has a mandatory retirement age of 70.

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