Proposed Constitutional Amendment to Limit the Tenure of Judges

Headnotes: 

A proposed constitutional amendment to limit the tenure of judges to a term, subject to reconfirmation, is antagonistic to the overall structural design of the Constitution.

The present guarantee of judicial tenure “during good Behaviour," U.S. Const. art. III, § 1, is necessary to secure independence and impartiality. Judges limited by term and subject to reappointment will be unacceptably dependent upon the political branch exercising the power of appointment.

Under the specific proposal the appointing authority would be the Senate, thereby frustrating the present delicate balance between the legislative and executive branches that exists with respect to judicial appointments.

Updated July 9, 2014