World

How Longevity Is Impacting the US Supreme Court

The actuarial team at Oliver Wyman prepared an infographic to “illustrate the historical patterns as well as the implications for future [US Supreme Court] appointees.”

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Neil Gorsuch (L) after nominating him to be an associate justice of the US Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, DC, US, January 31, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Neil Gorsuch (L) after nominating him to be an associate justice of the US Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, DC, US, January 31, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

As with everything else, Republican and Democrat lawmakers in the US are divided on President Donald Trump’s choice for US Supreme Court justice – Neil Gorsuch, 49-year-old conservative federal appeals court judge. While the Senate’s top Democrat Chuck Shumer has expressed “very serious doubts” about Gorsuch, according to Reuters, Republicans have called him “impressive” and “outstanding”. Since US Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, unless they choose to retire earlier, each justice’s interpretation of the constitution can influence US policymaking for decades to come – especially on controversial issues such as abortion and gun control. Gorsuch’s appointment could prove to be particularly favourable for conservatives since he will occupy the tie-breaking seat on the Supreme Court bench, which has been split between liberals and conservatives since conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died last February. As lifespans lengthen, so does the impact that any one judge can have on the US, especially someone as young as Gorsuch.

The actuarial team at Oliver Wyman prepared an infographic to “illustrate the historical patterns as well as the implications for future [US Supreme Court] appointees.” For instance, one of their findings is that the longest tenure for any Supreme Court judge till date is 36.6 years, but the average tenure for any Supreme Court judge for the next 100 years is expected to be 35 years.

Supreme Court Justice Infographic by The Wire on Scribd