One long-standing proposal with so far no momentum has been to impose limits—under one leading proposal, eighteen-year limits—on Supreme Court terms. This makes sense. Eventually, once fully in effect, every president could expect to make at least one Supreme Court nomination during a four-year term in office.

This reform could have multiple benefits. It would drain away some of the political tension, if not eruption of crisis, around each nomination. The retirement of an Anthony Kennedy might not shake the country to its very foundations. Vacancies would remain consequential, but with more regular turnover and each president assured of a pick, there would be less drama.

This cap on terms could also nudge the court toward a greater posture of humility. justices serving for only a defined term, their ranks regularly refreshed, might have a more reliably modest sense of their mission. It is still possible that justices serving for only 18 years would seek or acquire star qualities and the court would retain an appetite for major interventions in the political and social life of the country. But with justices regularly rotating on and off the court, the court might gravitate toward case selection and management that is more routine than supreme.