Skip to comments.Perry wants term limits on high court [favors change in Constitution]
Posted on 09/02/2011 11:50:24 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
WASHINGTON Rick Perry, like other conservatives, has lots of complaints about the Supreme Court: The justices, he says, have meddled in social policy, stepped on state power and generally run amok.
One solution the governor embraces is to end lifetime tenure - a cornerstone of the Constitution, whose drafters worried far less about activist or senile judges than about meddling tyrants and political pressure.
The idea isn't original, and it's not limited to conservatives. Some scholars on the left have also embraced the idea as a correction for judges serving too long.
It began to percolate in the 1980s and '90s after a series of bruising Senate confirmation fights, although it's never gained much traction. A handful of bills and proposed constitutional amendments have been filed in Congress in recent years to little effect. But Perry's embrace of the idea, combined with his states' rights principles, may demonstrate how he would push as president to change the balance of power in the federal government.
Perry, in his anti-Washington book "Fed Up!," derides the high court as "nine oligarchs in robes" and writes: "We should take steps to restrict the unlimited power of the courts to rule over us with no accountability."
Perry devotes an entire chapter to his indictment of the judiciary. The proposal to eliminate life tenure is barely a footnote, but that's enough to inspire sharp passions.
"Most lawyers would be against this," said Laurel Bellows, president-elect of the American Bar Association. "If you are a strict constructionalist - which apparently the governor isn't because he's looking to amend the Constitution - you would have respect for the wisdom of the Framers."
Perry's stance is remarkable in the sense that presidents have long viewed the power to shape the judiciary as one of the prizes that comes with winning the White House.
That's why the stakes are so high and the fights so fierce when a rare Supreme Court vacancy arises. It's a key reason President George W. Bush picked a 50-year-old conservative, John Roberts, as chief justice, planting seeds of a legacy that could persist for decades longer than his own presidency. And it's unclear if more frequent confirmation fights would insulate the judiciary or make it even more politicized.
At Alliance for Justice, a liberal advocacy group, president Nan Aron noted that five of nine current justices were appointed by Republicans.
Railing against the judiciary is an effective way for Perry to attract conservative voters, she said, but "I don't know that he's fully thought that through. ... He would want his judges to serve for life."
Paul Carrington, a Duke University law professor and former dean who has led the effort to impose term limits, agreed that the current system breeds arrogance.
He called it "nuts" to let octogenarians run the country. "It's ridiculous to have a person sitting in a position of that much power for 30 or 40 years," he said.
Don’t know how I feel about term limits for the SCOTUS.
I do. its a stupid idea.
I think on the list of things that are currently facing America, including the acute dangers posed by our debt, this ‘issue’ is near the bottom.
Perry is right.
It’s all well and good if we can always prevent a radical POTUS.
But this time, in 2008, one slipped thru.
Imagine a SC with nothing but folks like Kagan and Sotomayor ... sitting on it for life.
“Most lawyers would be against this,” said Laurel Bellows, president-elect of the American Bar Association. “If you are a strict constructionalist - which apparently the governor isn’t because he’s looking to amend the Constitution - you would have respect for the wisdom of the Framers.”
Amending the Constitution is perfectly respectful of the framers.
The clear solution is to have 18 year staggered terms, with each Presidency nominating 2 justices, each Congress confirming one. Vacancies are filled by the sitting president to fill the remaining term.
Justices would be eligible for renomination.
Lee was just confirmed to the 9th Circuit Court.
THIS is how Rick Perry will self-destruct in this race, or as nominee. He just can’t shut his stupid mouth and act presidential.
(I’m thinking of starting a SCOTUS ping if there’s enough interest. Anyone who wants on, freepmail me.)
We need to review the last two appointments to the court. Seems that if you are going to sit there, you should AT LEAST be qualified.
I don’t see a need for term limits. I see a need to impeach judges who think it’s legitimate to reference foreign law when deciding cases.
I also think we need to work on consititutional amendments that specifically define the commerce clause to stop them from giving the feds too much power. Making sure only people who respect original intent get installed as justices would certainly help, too!
This is an issue best left for after an election victory and after the American people feel comfortable with you.
Every time someone tries to tinker with what is NOT supposed to be a living document there are always unintended consequences. There is a reason they aren’t term limited. We have enough political game playing for power. Now we’re going to have it with our Supreme Court as well. Even if WE THE PEOPLE aren’t voting there’s going to be plenty of greased palms to make the court nothing more than pay to play politicians. No thanks.
It’s an interesting idea and I’d like to hear more about it before I make up my mind. One thing’s for certain, the SC has more power than it should and there were plenty of warnings about that at the time the constitution was created.
Conservatives conserve the Constitution.
What other RINO changes does he want?
that will sound like a good idea until the day comes when we have four Conservatives coming up on Triple Witching Hour with a ‘Rat in the White House
Lee was just confirmed to the 9th Circuit Court.
Sept 1, 2011: Goodwin Liu confirmed to California Supreme Court" UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu is confirmed to the California Supreme Court. Liu's nomination to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was previously derailed in the U.S. Senate."
Lordy! Amen. Preach it, brother.
I’d hate to lose someone like Clarence Thomas because of term limits.
Only for lower courts, I am not sure about the supreme court.
I think some of the higher court justices should have a system of a “vote of no confidence” where if 66% of the population voates agaisnt them they get thrown out.
Think of it as a judicial “veto”.