Supreme Court justices are appointed for life but are also allowed to retire whenever they please. Not surprisingly, justices have taken this discretion as a means of gaming their retirement. Justices O'Connor, Souter, and Stevens have conveniently retired recently during the term of a president of their party, ensuring that they would be replaced by like-minded individuals. This means that barring a justice dying during the term of the opposite party or someone making the shocking decision to retire during the term of the opposite party, the Supreme Court will remain 5-4 conservative indefinitely and play a huge rule in public policy. Should such an important issue be something that the justices should be allowed to game for partisan advantage?
This can be solved fairly easily with the implementation of term limits for Supreme Court justices. Each justice should be appointed to a 20 year term. If a justice dies or retires prior to the end of the term, the president at the time may appoint someone new but only on an interim basis to finish out that term. If the 20 year term ends, the president may reappoint the same justice to a new 20 year term without going through the confirmation process again. This ensures that the timing of the selection of a new justice at the end of 20 years will come down to the random chance of who will be president 2 decades later as opposed to justices being allowed to game the system. To ensure that the end of terms is staggered, the new rule would be implemented upon the retirement of each current justice. Obviously this means that it will take quite a while for the full effect to be felt but at least it will put the country on a track to fairness as opposed to allowing typical partisan nonsense to continue forever.