Take a look at at this list of insults this man has hurled before at the LGBTQ community. And just last month, during oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act, Scalia figuratively slipped on his white hood and called the landmark law a "racial entitlement," eliciting gasps from the audience and earning well-deserved criticism. Last year, he pitched a fit after a majority of the justices struck down most of the Arizona anti-immigrant law SB 1070. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne called for Scalia to resign. But he won't. And thanks to life tenure, he doesn't have to. Having the likes of Antonin Scalia - clearly an authoritarian - pass judgment on issues that will affect millions of Americans is rather atrocious.
Scalia should have been kicked off the bench a long time ago, but the Constitution makes that exceeding difficult - if not impossible - to remove a sitting SCOTUS justice, no matter how incompetent, unprofessional or dangerous he or she is. Life tenure may have made sense in the Framers' era when life expectancy was about 40. But it makes little sense today. Presidents intentionally appoint young jurists to the court so they'll be there for 30 or more years. A court full of the same people for decades keeps new ideas out and makes the institution look increasingly out of touch with the rest of society. What's more alarming is the recent right-ward tilt of the court, culminating in decisions that are downright undemocratic (Bush v. Gore, Citizens United). The image of the SCOTUS has taken a hit in the last ten years:
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Term limits for jurists serving on constitutional courts is actually the norm in other Western democracies. However, some will argue that term limits for Supreme Court justices are a bad idea because life tenure keeps the court independent. First of all, most Americans believe the court has become too political (the partisan congressional confirmation process has created that climate). Second, if justices were limited to fixed terms, they would have no incentive to hang on until a future president who shares their political views steps into the White House. And since the public would know for sure when a court vacancy is coming, that would make the outcome of presidential and congressional races even more critical. Ordinarily, I'm against term limits, particularly for legislators (in California, where I live, legislative term limits have been a disaster). But for a body whose members are unelected and virtually unaccountable, term limits are absolutely necessary.