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Andrew Leigh’s piece “System works in Australia” [ NLJ, Feb. 6] informs U.S. lawyers that all other representative democracies in the world have age or term limits that restrict the length of service of judges of their high courts. The United States, he argues, should amend the Constitution to provide mandatory retirement at age 70 for Supreme Court justices. An alternative proposal of 2005, supported “in principle” by a large group of eminent constitutional law and federal courts scholars, would deal with the problem more directly by requiring Supreme Court justices, after serving 18 years, to spend the remaining years of their life tenure in part-time service on the high court (e.g., providing a full court when eight or fewer members of the court are available) and the rest of their time on the judicial work of a lower federal court. When fully effective, the Carrington-Cramton proposal would result in a new appointment being made every two years and a complete turnover in the court’s membership every 18 years. The nonpartisan character of the proposal is indicated by the fact that it is supported by both liberal and conservative academics. The proposal has another major advantage. Because it would not deny justices life tenure, there is a highly plausible argument that it could be put in effect by legislation rather than the extraordinarily difficult and complex process of amending the Constitution. The proposal, along with the list of academics, state court justices and bar leaders who support it, may be obtained at http://paulcarrington.com/Supreme%20Court%20Renewal%20Act.htm. Roger Cramton Ithaca, N.Y. The writer is the Stevens Professor of Law Emeritus at Cornell Law School.

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