Pelosi Seeks Supreme Court Term Limits

Former House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) endorsed the idea of term limits for Supreme Court justices during an interview last week. The revelation came during a wider discussion on whether or not the size of the Supreme Court should be expanded beyond its current nine justices.

During an MSNBC appearance, the California Democrat said that there “certainly should be term limits.”

Pelosi referenced Justice Clarence Thomas, who has been accused of fostering a friendship with wealthy businessman Harlan Crow.

“There certainly should be and if nothing else, there should be some ethical rules that would be followed,” she said. “I had one justice tell me he thought the other justices were people of integrity, like Clarence Thomas. I’m like, get out of here.”

Pelosi called for an established set of ethics rules for the Supreme Court.

The California Democrat also called the Supreme Court a “body chosen for life, never have to run for office, nominated, confirmed, for life, with no accountability for their ethics behavior.”

Pelosi sidestepped the question of whether or not the court should be expanded, saying that it’s “been over 150 years since we’ve had an expansion of the court.” 

She called the concept a “discussion” and that a commission appointed by President Joe Biden did not call for an expansion of the court. 

However, “that shouldn’t be the end of it,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi argued that Democrats had a better-than-expected result in the 2022 midterm election due to last year’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

She also called for the Dobbs decision to be overturned.

“Our country has always been about expanding freedom,” the former House Speaker said, “Until now, this court, ignoring its own precedent and the right of privacy in the Constitution. So we have to reverse that. And Congress has the right to do that one way or another.”

Pelosi’s comments take place almost a year after several House Democrats called for mandatory term limits for members of the high court.

The proposed Supreme Court Tenure Establishment and Retirement Modernization (TERM) Act of 2022 was introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). 

The bill, which did not receive a floor vote, stated that justices could be appointed during the “first and third years after a year in which there is a Presidential election.” The bill would establish a single 18-year term for members of the court.