Since its inception, the United States Supreme Court has proved time and time again to be a poor steward of our Constitution.
Whether this poor stewardship is the result of the appointment of Supreme Court justices with either liberal or conservative agendas or whether these justices just don’t understand the Constitution is not clear. What is clear, however, is that they don’t have any accountability to the American people.
Thomas Jefferson in his letter to Monsieur A. Coray, on Oct. 31, 1823, expressed his concerns about the judicial branch of government and its lack of accountability. This letter reads as follows:
“At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little and little, the foundations of the constitution, and working its changes by construction, before any one has perceived that invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account.”
Jefferson is very clear in this letter that the Supreme Court with its lifetime appointments and its accumulation of precedents poses a clear threat to the freedoms Americans have enjoyed through our Constitution for the past 222 years.
Moreover, the time is long overdue for Americans to head off the excessive powers of the U.S. Supreme Court. These powers were clearly exercised on the court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. This misguided decision invalidated the suits of 26 states’ attorneys general representing over 50 percent of the states in this country.
So what can be done to establish accountability over the judicial branch of government? Some have suggested term limits for all federal judges including the justices of the Supreme Court. Another suggestion is to give the states the right to nullify laws that are considered unconstitutional by a majority of the states.
A final suggestion is give the Congress the total right to appoint Supreme Court justices. This suggestion would require that the Congress set up independent committees in each house with the selection of new judges required to meet strictest of guidelines, guidelines that must meet the approval of all the state governments.
All or any of these proposed changes will require constitutional amendments, which can be done through a constitutional convention. If we are to take this action, it would be an ideal time to establish term limits for the Congress.
My recommendation is for 12-year terms for both the House and the Senate. The term limits for the House would be six 2-year terms. The Senate term limits would be 3-4 year terms. No more 6-year terms for the Senate. These 12-year term limits will apply to anyone serving in both houses.
In other words, if a congressman serves three terms in the House, he would be eligible to serve only one term in the Senate.
When a Supreme Court justice states that our government has an unlimited right to tax its people, it sounds a lot like the words that were spoken by the English parliament back in 1776. Those words were fighting words then, and they are fighting words now.
In the meantime, however, it is up to the rest of us to start pulling together and fix the problems that our federal government has so blindly created.