COLUMBIA, S.C. — Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson wants to see term limits for both members of Congress and for federal judges — including Supreme Court justices.
To achieve this, it would likely take a convention of the states, the retired neurosurgeon said. He told TheBlaze it is something he would continue to talk more about in his campaign.
“I certainly would be very open to that and have agreed with people who want to do that and certainly would support that,” Carson told TheBlaze after a veterans town hall meeting Wednesday at the Ramada Inn. “But I’m also looking at other mechanisms like a national referendum.”
Article V of the Constitution allows 34 states to call for a convention of the states to consider specific constitutional amendments. Among the most frequently talked about have been term limits and a balanced budget amendment.
“It’s probably going to require an Article V convention, or could possibly be done as a national referendum,” Carson said during the town hall event. “But it probably will at some point need to be done, not only for our elected members of Congress but also I think for federal judges, Supreme Court justices.”
A national referendum of sorts would occur if Congress approved amendments and sent to the states for ratification. The suggestion for limiting the terms of Supreme Court justices comes as a political battle is erupting between President Barack Obama and the Senate Republicans on filling the vacancy of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday.
An audience member asked about term limits during the town hall. Carson, who has signed the U.S. Term Limits pledge, said, “Our system was actually designed for citizen statesmen and not for career politicians.”
There has been a growing push across ideological lines for term limits on members of the Supreme Court.
“When the Constitution was put in place, the average aged of death was 47. So a lifetime appointment for a federal judge was not as long,” Carson said. “Now that has changed rather substantially and we have not made the adjustments to it. And there has to be some mechanism of oversight.”
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) has endorsed Carson, is a term limits advocate, and is traveling through South Carolina with the doctor.
“I hope when President Carson takes office, he actually sends some bills to the Hill to back some term limits because it is going to be very hard,” Harris said. “I couldn’t get five co-sponsors. People go there to make a career. It ought to return to the way it was at the founding of the nation, that people were going to be citizen legislators and give up some time, share their expertise with the government.”