Facing the strong possibility of a conservative, pro-rights U.S. Supreme Court majority, a majority of Democrats (64%) are suddenly in favor of term limits for high court justices, according to a new Rasmussen survey released Thursday.
They’re the same people who had no problem at all with the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg remaining on the bench, even with widely-reported and recurring health problems. Ginsburg was a liberal icon, who supported abortion rights but was in the minority on two landmark Second Amendment cases that recognized and upheld the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms.
But now that President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the high court vacancy—potentially providing a strong majority to decide future gun rights cases among other important issues—it seems to Democrats a good idea to place a limit on the tenure of a Supreme Court justice.
According to Rasmussen, 52 percent of likely voters overall think justices should be subject to term limits. The polling firm noted, “The vast majority opt for retirement, though, and unlike Ruth Bader Ginsburg don’t die while in office.” The late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia—author of the myth-shattering Heller decision in 2008—also died while in office.
Rasmussen’s survey revealed that 36 percent of poll respondents oppose term limits and 13 percent are not sure. Only 39 percent of identified Republicans and 49 percent of Independents support the term limit idea.
But Rasmussen also said this: “Democrats (45%) are also bigger fans than GOP voters (21%) and unaffiliateds (29%) of packing the court with more members.”
Presidential hopeful Joe Biden would not say whether he would try to “pack” the court with more justices during this week’s raucous presidential debate. Instead of answering, Biden told Trump to “shut up, man!”
And now anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has formally called for a delay in Barrett’s confirmation until after the Jan. 20, 2021 presidential inauguration. Feinstein contends the Senate will not have sufficient time to vet Judge Barrett, which seems like nonsense to conservatives, since the judge was thoroughly vetted only three years ago when she was appointed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. How much could her resume have changed in that time?
While there has been talk over the years about term limits for federal judges and justices, the subject now appears to be extremely important to liberals who may be worried about years of conservative, “originalist” rulings by a court that will want to follow the Constitution instead of rewrite or dance around it.
Getting Barrett confirmed will also open up a hearing process that could once again turn the public against Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, who came across as vicious bullies during the hearings for Brett Kavanaugh. That would be bad for them right before the elections, unless they are politer and allow the process to proceed without character assassination.
Having a functioning majority on the Court may also become critically important to the election outcome. It is almost certain to be contested one way or the other unless there is a landslide vote for either Biden or the president. Even then, questions about voter fraud could be raised.
Rasmussen’s latest daily presidential tracking poll shows 49 percent of likely voters approving of President Trump’s job performance while 51 percent disapprove. That has been bouncing up and down for several days.