When A Couple Of Decisions Don’t Go Your Way
In another example of flailing, writhing hysteria over the gay marriage and Obamacare decisions, GOP Presidential candidate Ted Cruz proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would subject the justices to retention elections.
Retention elections are a common feature at the state court level, so the idea is hardly novel. My problem, per usual, is with his lack of consistency which is why even though this is not the worst idea on its face, Mr. Cruz’s hypocrisy must be highlighted.
Senator Ted Cruz’ statement on the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case from 2014:
Today the Supreme Court handed our nation a landmark victory for religious liberty. The decision affirms that Americans, contrary to what the Obama Administration attempted to impose, have a right to live and work in accordance to their conscience and can’t be forced to surrender their religious freedom once they open a business.
This ruling is a repudiation of the Obama Administration’s untenable position that people with sincerely held religious beliefs should be forced to comply with an unconstitutional mandate while a parade of waivers, exemptions, and delays are granted for purely commercial and political interests.
Senator Ted Cruz’ statement on the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby Cty. v. Holder from 2013, in which the Supreme Court invalidated portions of the Voting Rights Act 7 years after it had been unanimously reauthorized by Congress:
Today, the Supreme Court recognized the enormous progress made toward voting equality in the United States since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. The Court rightly decided that the statutory standard used decades ago to subject democratically-elected state legislatures to second-guessing by unelected federal bureaucrats no longer survives constitutional scrutiny.
It seems when the decisions go the way the Senator wants, he has nothing but praise for the Supreme Court, and does not even suggest structural changes. This is nothing but an ill-considered, knee-jerk response from the Princeton undergrad, Harvard Law grad who is pandering to the same portion of the electorate that he needs to win the presidency thar would have this son of a Cuban immigrant praising Donald Trump for his racist comments against Mexican immigrants.
Why Stop With The Supreme Court?
District court judges and courts of appeals justices could probably benefit by having to submit their records to the voters periodically as well. It would serve to at least partially restore a balance between federal courts and the states. Congress actually has institutional tools that it can use against the judiciary (impeachment, restrictions on jurisdiction and outright abolition of all federal courts save the Supreme Court), although it can never muster the political will to use them. States, on the other hand; are essentially helpless when facing Supreme Court decisions, especially after Senatorial elections were removed from state legislatures and given to the people directly.
But, in reality, depending on the courts means the battle is already lost. The Supreme Court is simply recognizing the general culture that believes that gay relationships are not materially different than straight relationships, everyone should have access to health care vis a vis health insurance. That’s society changing, and court structure will do little to stop that.