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”.
I agree with you in spirit, but let’s be frank. The bar ain’t all that high these days. It began with a blue dress and only went downhill.
Well, one could argue it began with “I am not a crook.”
How about this?
Once a year, toss each justice down the marble front steps of the supreme court building. If they break a hip, they’re off the court.
Isn't it a shame we have so few (or is that true) principled conservative legal minds?
Mandatory retirement age? Like 80 or somehting?
I dunno about that
take the last line of the article.."it's ridiculous to ahve octogenarians runnign the country..in power for 30-40 years>"..and complete it..
AND THEN, LIKE BRENNAN, RETIRE WHEN THEY CHOOSE SO A PRESIDENT THEY LIKE CAN APPOINT THEIR SUCCESSORS..
Brennan and Souter BOTH waited for a Democrat in the WH before resigning...had McCain won, they'd BOTH still be on the Court..
Would we want to deprive ourselves of another 5-10 years of Scalia, or THomas..I think not...
Did Perry mention his idea for number of terms, and number of years for each term?
Persoanlly, I believe the problem is in the district courts..where advocacy groups forum show..to find a federal district judge who is inclined to hold with their view, and issue the desired ruling and/or injunction..
Hey Slick Rick. All the red meat you throw at conservatives is pretty clever, but now I want you to face a real challenge, OK? If you are elected, will you absolutely close the border? Will you send all the illegals home, however many millions there are? Will you quit subsidizing them and their anchor babies at taxpayers’ expense? (No, because we already know your record on that in TX.) What is your position on “free trade” with China? What is your position on intervention in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, etc.? We haven’t heard a whimper from you on that, and that’s what being President is about, not hiding behind your “10th Amendment” rhetoric while the Left steals our country.
I’m with you.
He also wants to be able to overturn SC decisions by a 2/3 vote of Congress. Thats a two edged sword. I’d leave it be.
Three page pdf:
I’d like to be on the pinglist please. Thank you in advance!
Slick Rick was a happy, contented Demonrat while the SCOTUS judges appointed by his party destroyed the Constitution. Do you think we’re all a bunch of fools, Rick? Go back to Paint Creek, phony.
I could maybe get behind that. I dunno. Like another said, I’d sure hate to lose Thomas due to mandatory reqirements of any kind.
There should be a mandatory retirement age of 80 for all three branches.
“All the red meat you throw at conservatives is pretty clever, but now I want you to face a real challenge, OK?”
Best said. As another poster pointed out, Conservatives want to preserve the Constitution, rather than continually change it. The problem is that so many people (quasi-conservative), are so disenchanted with the system, that they’re all for laws regulating much (or everything) that they personally don’t like. The problem (as other posters have alluded to on this thread), is that the shoe is frequently on the other foot.
Fixing the stupidly low number in the house of Representatives and removing/repealing the 17th amendment would be a good start at restoring the Constitutional Republic. Then impeachments could start rolling.
There are a whole lot of issues more important than this change (this aspect btw is NOT broken, in my opinion, the fact that no one gets impeached, including presidents, is the issue), and to focus on it is merely to inspire joy joy feelings in those who want to see a change to the way things are (not necessarily the system). To quote Mary Poppins, it’s a pie crust promise, “Easily made, easily broken.”
If a branch gets to have the final say, I would rather it be Congress. It makes sense that 2/3 of Congress should be able to overturn five justices.
I'm against it. A Supreme Court justice could always be removed via Impeachment if there was some kind of compelling reason which the Congress felt existed.
Barring that, I'm against term limits for Supreme Court Justices.
God bless, and protect, these four!
Slick Rick Perry has been in govt. for 27 years. He really had no other way of achieving the kind of power and wealth he has reached in politics. Now he wants to move up to the big leagues; that’s all. He knows that pretending to be a conservative will get him there. Are we foolish enough to give him what he wants? That’s the question.
I don’t see a real need for it at the moment
Term limits will cure nothing. The problem is in the philosophy of the people selected. “A wise Latina,” “ I want to make a difference,” “power and pleasure,” “a corrupt body selecting the court members,” “the poor boy he was raised in the ghetto no wonder he robbed, raped and killed people!”
There is no Constitutional life term for a Justice. And there is no need to amend the Constitution. Congress can simply set a age limit.
Just rotate the Supreme Court position through the judges on the Circuit Courts of Appeals ~ and severely restrict the court's jurisdiction>
One way to do that is to have ONLY ONE JUDGE (which explains my grammar above) with NO CLERKS.
The Romans gave each Consul a 1 year term, with 2 Consuls elected ~ and each had a veto power over the other.
The Roman office was a bit restrictive since the 2 switched jobs every month, with one leading the army in war and the other sitting around sipping lattes with the Senators (or some such ~ there were disputes).
The thing is if it's advantageous to rein in the Court, then DO IT by reducing the number of judges and how long they serve.
Now, about the Circuit Courts ~ elect them on a schedule that never conflicts with a federal election for Congress or President. A 7 year term would probably work.
There are a variety of schemes out there to figure out how we would want to elect them ~ maybe proportional representation, party list voting, by states, by regions of the country ~ whatever. FUR SHUR don't let lawyers pick them. That hasn't been working out lately. In fact, we could PROHIBIT lawyers from participating in these elections.
Agreed. The idea that term limits fix anything, is, in my opinion, untrue. The problem is an ignorant populace, and that is NOT fixed by a term limit on one moron over his/her successor. And there are a whole slew of “burn the house on the way out” actions people take when their term is expiring. One can argue that we no longer need to wait two months before the seats become filled, and if the argument is that there are hiccups in some jurisdictions (with recounts and all), simply don’t let congress pass any edicts from on high until the next congress is seated, with the recount seats abstaining from the vote. Good heavens, the Congress can make both those rules themselves (not the date of the seating change, per say, but the last two).
They won’t because they are a corrupt set of thugs, but that comes to the correcting of the artifically low number of representatives and repeal of the 17th amendment, alluded to in my previous post.
I wonder how many of these justices (liberal and conservative) hang on (staff doing work) until they get “relieved” by the right president.
The Appellate Courts are over ruling everything that comes down the pike. They’re making everything “unconstitutional.” Overruling everything their party tells them to “fix.”
Our vote has been tossed out the door.
Our representatives have no voice.
“The separation of powers is a myth”
It is the foundation of our republic and was observed until FDR. We are fast headed for tyranny because we the people have let judges make law, allowed Congress to assign lawmaking to unelected bureaucrats who make, execute and adjudicate “law” via Presidential diktats.
No thanks. If five justices uphold our Second Amendment rights and then you have a Congress like the last one smack them down you would be mighty sorry you supported such a notion.
Yes, but you can vote Congress out of office and undo what the earlier one did, a lot quicker than you can get a new and different Supreme Court.