Did you know that six of the eight GOP presidential candidates would like to impose term limits on lifetime appointed judges, overrule Supreme Court rulings through Congressional vote or deny financing to courts whose rulings they disagree with? Welcome to 21st century judicial activism, Republican style.
EdgeWashington.com gives us a rundown of what each candidate wants to do with the judicial branch:
– Newt Gingrich would summon judges before Congress to explain their decisions, impeach judges over their rulings, and deny funding to the ninth circuit federal court.
– Rick Perry has called for an end to lifetime tenure for federal judges and referred to the high court as “nine oligarchs in robes.”
– Michelle Bachmann said Congress should prevent the courts from getting involved in the fight over same-sex marriage, among other high-profile social issues.
– Ron Paul has advocated a bill that would impeach any judge who oversteps their congressionally-defined jurisdictions. He also would allow voters to oust judges.
– Herman Cain wants legislation to overturn Roe v. Wade.
– Rick Santorum has pledged to sign into law a bill abolishing the appeals court.
EdgeWashington.com points out that over the last 20 years Republicans have seated 437 judges compared to the Democrats’ 352. New York University law professor Barry Friedman also comments that taking federal courts out of the picture would increase the influence of more liberal-leaning state courts, a weird stance to take now that Republicans have the “the most conservative Supreme Court in many, many years.” He called the candidate’s threats nothing more than red meat thrown to the conservative base.
Red meat or not, such positions serve to poison the American public against the judicial branch. But while some observers worry about “politicizing the judicial branch”, aren’t all court appointments and decisions already politicized? Hmmm….