What is it with some American politicians?
A court ruling or two doesn’t go their way and they want to toss aside one of the basic tenets of our federal government? They want to elect federal judges, make them stand for “retention” if they make a decision that upsets some of us?
That’s the view of a leading so-called “conservative” U.S. senator who’s also running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Take it away, Ted Cruz of Texas.
Cruz jousted this week with MSBNC’s Chris Matthews over the setup of the federal judiciary. Cruz doesn’t like the two recent Supreme Court rulings that (a) upheld the Affordable Care Act and (b) legalized gay marriage in the United States.
The junior senator from Texas now thinks Supreme Court justices should stand for retention to enable voters a chance to decide if they want them to keep their jobs.
Matthews, not surprisingly, went semi-ballistic — which is part of his shtick. He brought up the Bush v. Gore decision that settled the 2000 presidential election. The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to stop the Florida recount. Texas Gov. George W. Bush was leading by 537 votes at that moment over Vice President Al Gore. Gov. Bush was awarded Florida’s electoral votes, which were enough to elect him president of the United States by a single electoral vote.
The five Republican-appointed justices’ overruled the four dissents cast by the Democratic-appointed justices. Politics? Gosh, do you think?
Conservatives hailed that decision. And why not? It was all done according to precisely the manner allowed by the U.S. Constitution. Some of us might not have liked the outcome, but that’s how it goes. The justices made the call.
Cruz didn’t object then, Matthews reminded him.
The nation’s founders set up a system in which the federal judiciary is intended to be free of political pressure. The president appoints judges and Supreme Court justices, who then are subject to approval by the Senate. They get lifetime jobs and, therefore, are able to rule according to how they interpret the Constitution.
This idea that we should now subject justices to the political will of the people is simply not in keeping with what the founders intended when they wrote the Constitution.
Political conservatives, such as Sen. Cruz, keep harping on “original intent.” Well, the founders’ “original intent” was to separate the judicial branch of government from the political tug-of-war that exists in the legislative and executive branches.
Cruz said he is “reluctant to call for elections,” and said it “makes him sad.” He added that he has made that call because “a majority of the justices are not honoring their judicial oaths.”
Yes they are, senator.
Let’s leave the judicial system alone.