Chief Justice Roberts, recently speaking at an event, stated that the biggest issue facing the Supreme Court would be politicization! TOO late!
Look, I know a lot of you want to blame Republicans for blocking the “up or down” vote of Judge Merrick Garland, EX-President Obama’s choice, but, as usual, your facts are a little blurry! Well, a lot blurry! Let’s get a few things out of the way.
There are NO official qualifications to be considered for the Supreme Court. Technically, there is nothing to keep ME from being nominated (or you)!
The Constitution does NOT call out the number to serve on the court. ONLY that there be one. It also defines what they are to do. They are NOT to make law. Their ONLY job is to decide whether the law created violates the Constitution. When the Court deems a law unconstitutional the legislative body is to redo, rewrite, or let the law die.
The Court started off with 6 justices and has fluctuated to as high as ten. Congress passed a law called the Judicial Circuits Act that brought the number of justices to 7 and specifically PREVENTED President Andrew Johnson (D) from appointing anymore judges. Congress later raised it to 9.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) decided he needed more justices. Six more to be exact. As any good Democrat would do, when you can’t win, tweak the system The Supreme Court kept ruling against FDR’s New Deal executive orders and the laws he was pushing. He didn’t like it, so he was going to stack the deck with “New Deal” friendly justices.
FDR had just won in a landslide and acted more like a god than a president. FDR proposed replacing all justices over the age of 70 by offering them full pay if they would retire immediately. If they refused, he planned to appoint an “assistant” with FULL voting rights to insure his majority (sounds like Obama got his “slither around the laws” game plan from FDR!) Thank God most Republicans and Democrats saw this as a dangerous power grab and opposed the proposal.
Like any good Mafia threat, a few justices got nervous and voted to allow FDR to push through the National Labor Relations Act and the Social Security Act.
Even though the Senate was smart enough to kill his plan to stack the Supreme Court, he ended up appointing 7 of the 9 justices before he died.
Justices do NOT have a constitutional right to serve for life. Over time, with so many serving for so long, it just became a “thing.” Most Americans figure they are appointed for life. This is not the case. According to our Constitution, a Supreme Court Justice can be impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office if convicted in a Senate trial. This is not a Joe rule. Section 1 of Article III in our U.S. Constitution states that judges of Article III courts shall hold their offices “during good behavior.” The phrase “good behavior” has been interpreted by the courts to be the same level of seriousness used for the ‘high crimes and misdemeanors” guidelines.
The “good behavior” clause seems to have a real muddied meaning. One of the original signers of the Constitution, Samuel Chase, who later became a Supreme Court Justice, was accused by the House of Representatives of letting his “political leaning” get in the way of his rulings and served him on 8 counts. He started off as a staunch State Rights jurist but swayed to a Federalist. At the time when states were very concerned about retaining power to govern themselves, this was considered a very alarming political shift away from the Constitution. However, the Senate ended up acquitted him.
Knowing the power the Court wields and how much more partisan our elected officials have become, Chief Justice Roberts’ concerns are valid.
Every President I have seen nominate a Supreme Court Justice has used their political party preference as guidelines. Democrats seem to want justices to be law tweakers and givers and to treat the Constitution as a living breathing document to be tweaked and twisted to meet the Liberal ideological foundations and make the law fit their way of governing. Republicans seem to want the Constitution to be interpreted in the strictest way as the Founders intended it.
Proof that the Court has been politicized for years comes with all the 5/4 rulings which usually split along Party lines. Proof that some of our Founding Fathers knew this would happen when they started this great experiment.
John Adams said:
“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”
Do you see this playing out today?
George Washington made a point of this in his farewell speech:
“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism … The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty”
Washington went on to imply that a two party system is dangerous and that loyalty to a party may trump patriotism. Adams stated that people will tend to line up with a party leader and not the country leader and that this is very dangerous.
Many Liberals love to degrade our Founding Fathers. But they knew how power would really corrupt people and that adding parties to the mix would eventually divide the country. For a bunch of old white, slave owners they had their finger on it. They knew what would happen as we got more politically entrenched.
The United States is becoming a suburb of the Democrat or Republican Community. We have become way toooo divided. Until we become Americans again, true freedom-loving, liberty-loving, Constitution-knowing Americans this New Civil War will continue.