Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Tuesday, December 16, 2003  

A better idea for an amendment?

From The Federalist:

However, as Thomas Jefferson warned repeatedly, the greatest risk that those limitation on the central government would be eroded, was an unbridled judiciary: "Over the Judiciary department, the Constitution [has] deprived [the people] of their control. ... The original error [was in] establishing a judiciary independent of the nation, and which, from the citadel of the law, can turn its guns on those they were meant to defend, and control and fashion their proceedings to its own will. ... It is a misnomer to call a government republican in which a branch of the supreme power [the judiciary] is independent of the nation. ... The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch." Link via Kim du Toit.

Perhaps, it would be better to amend the Constitution so that Federal judges, particularly Supreme Court justices must serve according to the will of the people.

It would work like this - The President would nominate, and the Senate ratify candidates for the position, but that every five years all justices would face a yea or nay from the voters nationally as to whether they may continue to serve or not. If not, their office is vacated and a new justice nominated and so forth.

In the case of the Circuit Courts, the elections would be restricted to the areas served by each Federal Court.

Electioneering by judges is a matter that needs refinement, though. Would justices be free to defend their records and canvas for votes? I would restrain them from electioneering, but not forbidding others to defend or denigrate them.

This way judges would be held to account for their decisions and opinions over the course of their careers every five years. Impeachment as a means of maintaining respect for the Court has failed as an option since it will never be used for anything not criminal.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 5:49 AM |