How many times have Americans heard that Supreme Court Justices serve for their lifetime after appointment? Plenty. How many actually believe it? Plenty. However, Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution of the united States of America declares “the judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior ….” (emphasis mine) Good behavior implies that judges and justices uphold and follow the law, especially the law of the land, the Constitution, refrain from behavior that is criminal, and adjudicate impartially. When judges do not comply, they engage in bad behavior deserving removal from the bench through impeachment (The Federalist Papers, No. 81, paragraph 8).
Senator and potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate nominee Ted Cruz suggested that Supreme Court justices should be elected for a certain time period and going so far as to imply He would introduce a constitutional amendment calling for such. Riding on the coattails of Cruz, former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), potential presidential candidate nominee for 2016, stated on CNNs’ “State of the Union” Sunday the Constitution needed to be amended to establish term limits for Supreme Court justices, “who now serve lifetime appointments.” Is it just me or do politicians, even those who are conservative or claim to be conservative, even read the Constitution to know what’s in it? Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that judges serve “lifetime appointments.” You can watch Huckabee’s statements here.
Huckabee, on the Supreme Court ruling regarding sodomite “marriage” stated:
Well, even the supporters of same-sex marriage should be very concerned that as Justice Scalia, I think, very brilliantly wrote, what you now have is that our country is being ruled by a majority of nine lawyers who are not representative of the population as a whole. That’s very disturbing. And if people say well I love that ruling, great. So one day when we have a conservative court, and let’s hope we do. I guarantee in a Huckabee administration there will be very different kind of people appointed to the court, let’s say that the court reverses this decision, and in fact goes back and reverses Roe v. Wade and says that every person from conception forward should be treated with dignity, respect, and protected. Now, will the left who celebrate this court decision be just as willing to accept that court decision? My guess is they will absolutely blow a gasket. We have a process, if we want to change things, and it’s called the process of legislation, the art of political persuasion. All of that was thrown out of the window. So for even those who think that the result was good, I hope they would agree that the means by which it was achieved is absolutely unacceptable.
On his recommendation for term limits for justices, Huckabee said:
Let’s say if we made it 16 years, even 20 years, I don’t have a specific arbitrary goal in mind. I just think that people, whether they’re in the executive branch, legislative, or judicial branch, shouldn’t see their appointment to a office as that it would be that they have permanent, no accountability whatsoever, and I also think when a person can be appointed to the Supreme Court and stay there for over 40 years, my gosh, they might have outlived, you know, six or seven presidents during that course of time. I’m just not sure that’s a healthy thing. By the way, Thomas Jefferson wanted there to be term limits for members of the Supreme Court, pushed for it. But the consensus was, nobody will stay that long. It’s not necessary to put it in the Constitution. I think if Jefferson were here today, he’d have said I wish he’d have pushed harder.
First of all, if Thomas Jefferson were here today, he would have plenty of tongue lashing to dish out toward “we the people,” both chambers of Congress, and the president; and rightly so. Jefferson would chastise the people for recklessly electing charlatans, who forsake their oath, use their elected positions for personal gain and inflict tyranny, repeatedly to represent them, especially those who have 20 or more years in office. He would chastise Congress for their oligarchic “rule,” instead of governance, over the republic, while reviling them for their lawless, criminal behavior in discarding the Constitution. For the president, Jefferson would personally throw him out of office.
Secondly, during the time of the framers, honorable men existed and society placed great value on honor. Men of honor would not “abuse” and “milk” a system for selfish reasons or personal gain, as we see men, politicians, and elected officials do today. As John Adams so eloquently stated, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Jefferson would say plenty with regard to society today and the manner in which the nation has declined resulting in what occupies the District of Corruption.
Lastly, with regard to the Supreme Court, Jefferson would inquire why impeachment proceedings were not forthcoming against justices who have engaged in “bad behavior.” Impeachment remains the remedy in a constitutional republic for officials who have violated their oath of office, committed high crimes and misdemeanors, treason, and usurped power not given to them by the Constitution, speaking of the judicial and executive branches. He would soon see that the generations entrusted to hold dear what he and others pledged their lives, their fortunes and sacred honor to bestow for posterity, freedom, might have been in vain.
If Jefferson were here today, he would encourage enforcement of the Constitution by the people.
Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution of the united States of America states, “The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” (emphasis mine)
Instead of creating additional laws or proposing more amendments, risking abuse by those in office, the rightful course is enforcement of the Constitution. However, that enforcement depends on the honor of the men holding electing positions. Right now, our nation suffers from an “honor” shortage amidst decades of drought. Elected officials in our government mirror our society resulting in the type of “governance” we have today.
While term limits for the Supreme Court justices sound good, one wonders if their appointment to the bench would remain the same — at the discretion of the executive. If so, in the case of this executive, he would appoint a justice holding similar deleterious and malicious intent, such as Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, when say a “conservative” justice reaches the term limit. Of course, the opposite is true as well. Nevertheless, when was the last time this nation possessed an executive without an agenda for “changing” America? When was the last time this nation had a president who actually supported, upheld and protected the Constitution?
Of course, it makes sense that Supreme Court Justices should exercise discretion in realizing when it is time to vacate the bench — Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Moreover, judges should exercise good judgment in recusing themselves from cases because of conflict of interest — Sonya Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Elena Kagan. Justices should resign their appointments upon becoming compromised — John Roberts. In addition, Congress should not affirm judges who do not have experience in litigation nor adjudication, those with questionable ability to be impartial, and those who align too closely with the executive. Essentially, none of these incidences occurred creating a problem inside the judiciary that needs correction.
While understanding the request for term limits upon the judicial branch of the federal government, the true course of action, according to the Constitution, remains impeachment, not more legislation. But, with what occupies both chambers of the legislative branch, impeachment remains elusive. What is to be done in such a case? The answer, as well, remains elusive.
Elections failed to reestablish equilibrium. In fact, one surmises conditions have deteriorated since the last midterm when the people awarded Republicans a majority in the Senate. Both chambers saluted their constituents with the middle finger regarding the Trade Promotion Authority, which is the most recent example of dishonor among thieves in Congress. It appears more RINOs exist and establishment Republicans hold deep to the “party” as fierce as the Democrats.
State governments sold out to the “creature” for money after their subjugation and enslavement following the War to Enslave the States. Local governments, on the average, fail as well to “govern” respecting the individual God-given rights of the people. This nation, along with its people, faces a conundrum — one that will persist until the people unite to uphold the Constitution.
The solution is no easy one and one that will take longer than some of us have left to live, if we continue to wallow in division, apathy, and government propaganda. In honor of Independence Day, we need to hold fast to the words so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence. “But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”