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Term limits for Supremes
Posted By Robert Ringer On 07/09/2010 @ 12:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
The second 5-4 reaffirmation of gun-ownership rights by the Supreme Court over the past two years is yet another reminder that the nation’s highest court is nothing more than a political tool. In the recent McDonald v. Chicago case, the Supreme Court found that individuals have a right to possess a handgun in their home for self-defense.
All well and good, but in both the Chicago and D.C. cases, had there been one more liberal on the court, the constitutional right and, more important, the natural right to bear arms would have been declared “against the law.”
As I said at the time of the D.C. ruling, “When the U.S. was still the home of the free, the Supreme Court vote would have been 9-0. Actually, there would not have been a vote, because there would not have been a ban in the first place. There was a time in this country when the government would not have dared to tell a person he didn’t have the right to protect his family.”
Today, however, the Supreme Court has become a game of musical chairs. Our natural rights are very much dependent on the ideological beliefs of any given president at the time he appoints one or more Supreme Court judges.
If a president believes in the Constitution, he appoints judges who share his belief. If he believes the Constitution is an outdated document that is no longer relevant – as does the current White House occupant – he appoints judges whom he feels confident will bypass the congressional legislative process and simply create new laws (e.g., Sotomayor and Kagan). The polite word for it is “legislating from the bench.”
To accomplish the latter, judges merely elasticize their constitutional interpretations to violate Natural Law. For example, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 states, in part: “The Congress shall have the power … to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.”
Question to the Founding Fathers: What did you mean by general welfare? Such vagueness is an invitation to both Congress and the Supreme Court to promote anti-liberty legislation.
Another example is to be found in the so-called Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3), which states: “[The Congress shall have the power] to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”
The problem is that regulating commerce among the several states has come to mean anything the government wants it to mean. As Americans are now discovering, it could very well have been called the Servitude Clause.
Which brings us back to the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” What’s missing here is the word and – i.e., “A well regulated Militia … and the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” As clarity goes, this was not the framers’ best work.
Which is why, even though the Constitution is undoubtedly the best government document ever created, it is no match for Natural Law. Natural Law, which can also be thought of as the “law of nonaggression,” is quite simple: You own your body, you own anything and everything you’ve earned or inherited, and you own the right to do as you please so long as you are not committing aggression against anyone else. Period.
All this leads me to believe that the idea of Supreme Court justices being appointed by the president makes no sense. A left-wing, anti-constitutional president cons his way into power, then, through the luck of the Grim Reaper, gets to fill enough vacancies to assure that for decades to come there will be a Supreme Court that believes the Constitution is a “living document” – a court that, in reality, has the power to legislate.
I believe the U.S. needs a constitutional amendment that would call for Congress to vote for nine new Supreme Court justices every eight years. In other words, eight-year term limits. A liberal Congress could vote in nine liberal judges, but when voters got fed up with their anti-constitutional decisions, it would be all the more reason to replace Congress itself.
And well it should be replaced. If we ever manage to get enough honest politicians elected, they should also pass a constitutional amendment placing strict term limits on both House and Senate members so we could get back to having government by the people. Limiting the three branches of government to two terms would have the effect of putting the electorate back in control of things.
Having said all this, I may as well throw in one last amendment that I believe would maximize the integrity of our constitutional system of government: Make all government employees – at the local, state and federal levels – ineligible to vote. If we can do it with incarcerated felons, who are locked up and unable to continue committing crimes, why not do it with bureaucrats, who are on the loose and able to vote to assure that their neighbors will be forced to continue paying for their cushy lives?
Anyone who thinks the views I’ve stated here are extreme needs to go back and read (or reread) the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and everything they can get their hands on about our Founding Fathers.
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