CNN's Toobin on lifetime Supreme Court appointments: Framers never contemplated terms lasting more than 30 years

CNN's Toobin on lifetime Supreme Court appointments: Framers never contemplated terms lasting more than 30 years
© Getty Images

CNN's Jeffery Toobin said late Monday that partisan fights over Supreme Court nominees have only become more intense because "people were expected to die in their 50s" when the Constitution was written.

"When the Constitution was written in the late 18th century, people were expected to die in their 50s," Toobin told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "The framers never contemplated that these terms would regularly go to 30-plus years as they do now."

ADVERTISEMENT
"And I'm glad everybody is living longer, but that what raises the stakes on these nomination fights so much more, because they serve for so long," he concluded.

The perspective came after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE announced the selection of the 53-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge in Washington, D.C., to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy in a nationally televised event from the White House East Room. Kavanaugh is Trump's second nomination in less than 18 months. Confirmation proceedings are expected to occur in the fall, ahead of November's midterm elections.

Protests quickly formed outside the high court as debate raged on cable news and social media over a confirmation process that promises to possibly be the most contentious in the court's 229-year history. 

Toobin has warned of what he sees as major consequences if a second conservative justice is confirmed to the Supreme Court under Trump. In a recent opinion column in The New Yorker, he argued that LGBT people could be barred from restaurants, gun control could be banned in all 50 states and the regulatory state could come to an end.

The president nominated Neil Gorsuch, 50, in January 2017 to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away the previous year. He was confirmed in April of that year.