‘No accountability’: Nancy Pelosi calls for term limits for Supreme Court justices

June 27, 2023

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has endorsed term limits for Supreme Court justices following a series of ethics revelations about members of the high court, reports USA Today.

Pelosi in an interview released on Sunday, June 25, told MSNBC host Jen Psaki Supreme Court justices “have the opportunity to write some ethics rules for themselves,” but she lauded Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), who has been one of the most vocal Democratic critics of the Supreme Court.

“It’s shameful how Justice Thomas and Justice Alito have been so cavalier about their violations and what would be expected of a justice of the Supreme Court. Here we have a body, chosen for life, never have to run for office, nominated, confirmed for life with no accountability for their ethics behavior,” Pelosi said.

“Thirty percent seems high,” Pelosi said, referencing a recent poll from Quinnipiac University that showed approval of the court has dropped to 30%.

The process of implementing term limits for Supreme Court justices is complicated. It would require a constitutional amendment, or Congress could pass legislation requiring justices to retire, take “senior” status with lesser duties or move to an appeals court.

Pelosi’s comments come after Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito last week  acknowledged that he flew to Alaska for a fishing trip on a private jet in 2008 that belonged to a hedge fund manager who brought cases before the Supreme Court.

Reporting about Alito comes after a series of stories in ProPublica earlier this year that revealed private jet trips and yacht travel that Justice Clarence Thomas accepted from GOP donor Harlan Crow. Crow also purchased property from Thomas and his family, none of which was reported on disclosure forms.

Chief Justice John Roberts last month said he’s committed to ensuring the “highest standards of conduct” at the Supreme Court. “We are continuing to look at things we can do to give practical effect to that commitment,” Roberts said.

Research contact: @USATODAY