changes to democracy

Would you support term limits for Supreme Court justices?

Yes

Yes, supports

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

"I am for an 18-year term limit for Supreme Court justices," Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

“I think lifetime appointments to the bench have warped the system, with each side picking younger, less experienced judges because they are hoping to hold seats for decades,” Messam told The Post. He backed a 15-year term limit.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke’s voting rights plan calls for a constitutional amendment that would include “18-year terms for the Supreme Court, after which the justices would be permitted to serve on the federal courts of appeals.”

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Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

"When the nation was founded, life expectancy was much shorter, and justices would also frequently step down from the Court to pursue other endeavors. That’s no longer the case," Yang told The Post. "I’d support 18-year term limits, staggered every two years, so that each president would be guaranteed the appointment of two justices per term served. Seats vacated for other reasons could be filled through the current mechanism."

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Andrew Yang
Yang

Open to it

Open to it

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

“It has piqued my mind,” Bennet told The Daily Beast. “We are now in a situation where, at least for the immediate future and maybe forever, we are going to put people on the Court by the barest partisan majority. We will have to have a president and the Senate from the same party [for a nominee to be confirmed]. That is an incredible distortion in our system and it hasn’t been the way it’s worked until now.” Term limits “could be an answer to it,” he said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

"I think we need to fix the Supreme Court," Booker said on MSNBC. "I think I would like to start exploring a lot of options and we should have a national conversation. Term limits for Supreme Court justices might be one thing — to give every president the ability to choose three."

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

"Potentially. But it’s not a cure all because it creates some problems too," Buttigieg told the Intercept.

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Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro is open to Supreme Court term limits, he told The Post.

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Julian Castro
Castro

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand has called adding Supreme Court justices, or imposing term limits on them, “interesting ideas that I would have to think more about.”

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Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

“We are on the verge of a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court,” Harris told Politico. “We have to take this challenge head on, and everything is on the table to do that.”

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Kamala Harris
Harris

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. "Mitch McConnell destroyed Americans’ faith in the Supreme Court to be fair and representative body by stealing a seat from Barack Obama and refusing to give Merrick Garland even a hearing. We must be thoughtful and considerate about any changes to the Supreme Court, but we also need to restore Americans’ faith in the court and restore the balance that McConnell broke. I'm open to any ideas and discussion on how to reset that balance."

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Jay Inslee
Inslee

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak is open to Supreme Court term limits, he told The Post.

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Joe Sestak
Sestak

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

"[Republicans] changed the rules of the filibuster to steal a Supreme Court seat and have stuffed our courts to the brim with judges hostile to voting rights" Warren told The Post. "If Republicans are going to try to block us on key legislation or judges that we’re trying to move forward, then you better believe all the options are on the table."

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

No

No, does not support

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

Bullock does not support Supreme Court term limits, he told The Post.

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Steve Bullock
Bullock

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper would not support term limits for Supreme Court justices, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

According to CBS News, Klobuchar's priority is getting fair and qualified judges through the existing system.

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Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan does not support term limits for Supreme Court justices, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. Swalwell told The Post he wouldn’t consider it. “I don’t want to let these extraordinary times that President Trump has created lead us to too many extraordinary remedies, or for ideas like these to be alibis for failures to win and hold governing majorities,” he said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Marianne Williamson

Author

Williamson does not support term limits for Supreme Court justices, she told The Post.

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Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Bill de Blasio (Dropped out)

Mayor, New York City

de Blasio is no longer running for president. De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

"I have to hear more discussion on this issue before commenting," Sanders told The Post. He seemingly referenced the proposal during the first Democratic debate, saying ”... I do believe that constitutionally we have the power to rotate judges to other courts.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

How candidate positions were compiled

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic campaign asking whether it supports various changes to the Senate filibuster, U.S. elections and courts. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports. See something we missed? Let us know.

We expect candidates to develop more detailed policy positions throughout the campaign, and this page will update as we learn more about their plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president or an exploratory committee. The Post will contact additional candidates as they enter the race and include them here.

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