Today's Supreme Court has assumed a degree of power and importance that would have been unrecognizable in the founding era. A recent cascade of ethics scandals has laid bare a system in which justices wield tremendous power for decades with little accountability while the Court's rulings are increasingly unmoored from democratic values and the principle of judicial restraint. For all these reasons, there are growing calls for reform. One of the most popular options would also be among the most transformative: establishing 18-year terms and regularized appointments for justices.
This paper explains how such a reform would work, why it would bolster the Court's legitimacy, and how to transition from the current system. It also discusses how the core elements of this reform could be adopted by statute, consistent with the Constitution, by establishing the role of "senior justice."