Judges for life
One of the oft noted factors about Judge Roberts is his youth. He will likely be on the court for a long time. Perhaps a whole lot longer than we currently imagine. As Instapundit has talked about for a long time, there is some pretty interesting research going on on 'curing' aging. While the obstacles remain daunting, many scientists seem to think that we have a pretty good handle on the theory, the only difficulties that remains are more engineering. It is not inconcievable that Judge Roberts will live to see aging cured. Most likely of course this will be an incrimental process, lifespan is extended for 10 years, and then within those 10 years we get another 8 and within those 8 we get another 6. Even if the gains we see from each increase are lessened, if the pace of technological innovation is greater than the loss in increase, we can obtain escape velocity to immortality. Imagine that a 70 year old Roberts is likely to live another 20 years. Then a 80 year old Roberts is likely to live another 15 years. At each of these steps, it would probably be very difficult to change the rules away from lifetime appointments, even though we are well aware that lifespan is increasing. It might be a long time before we recognize that a 200 year old Roberts is unlikely to ever die. Of course by this time, all the 'current' members of the Supreme court are likely to live forever as well, and have been on the court for decades themselves. The individuals have become the institution. Society as a whole would be dealing with this issue as well, and a substantial and ever increasing portion of it would become more jealous of defending against 'ageism' and the notion that people should 'step aside' to let other, perhaps younger, people have a shot at top positions. The battle between the young, trying to find equality against the expirience of the old, uncoupled from the infirmities of age could likely shake society to it's core. Someday the nature of the Supreme Court could be at the center of a massive debate. I hope I live to see it.