I’ve made the argument before that it seems amazing that that the judicial branch of our government, the Supreme Court, could outright negate laws passed by the other co-equal legislative branch.
But I’m also not sure change is needed. If anything, a debate on the issue of the Supreme Court’s power would be a healthy one. But that debate could also open the door for politicization and a constitutional crisis. Take the following article as a harbinger of things to come, and the chaos and destabilization of our country for purely political purposes. Sadly, conservative voters don’t see the same red flags as others.
NY Times: Gov. Rick Perry of Texas favors term limits for Supreme Court justices. Representatives Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas say they would forbid the court from deciding cases concerning same-sex marriage. Newt Gingrich and former Senator Rick Santorum want to abolish the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, calling it a “rogue” court that is “consistently radical.”
Bert Brandenburg, executive director of Justice at Stake, a research and advocacy group that seeks to protect judicial independence said, “They sound populist, but the proposal is to make courts answer to politicians and interest groups.”
Mitt Romney dismissed the idea “I’m not looking to create a constitutional crisis.” But his rivals have shown no such reluctance in attacking a federal court system in which their side has achieved significant victories.
The Supreme Court delivered the presidency to George W. Bush, interpreted the Second Amendment to guarantee an individual right to bear arms and allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections. And many Republicans are looking to the Supreme Court for vindication in the political battle with President Obama over his health care overhaul.
The Republican candidates have focused their anger at court rulings on social issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and the role of religion in public life. Those issues hold the potential to fire up the party’s base and to provide crucial support in the primaries.
In February, Mr. Santorum told a Tea Party group in South Carolina that he would “sign a bill tomorrow to eliminate the Ninth Circuit,” adding: “That court is rogue. It’s a pox on the western part of our country.”