Impeachment Time? It Would Send a Message

At the National Review blog, Rod Dreher writes the following:

As for me, I am really, really disappointed in the president. As a social conservative, the main reason I voted for him was the Supreme Court.

This speaks to the problem we face that is larger than any single disappointing pick to the Supreme Court. How is it that the judicial branch has become so powerful that people (and Dreher is hardly alone here) base their votes to the executive branch on their hopes that the  president will be able to positively influence the judicial branch?

When an unelected group of nine people become as powerful as the Supreme Court has, it’s inevitable that the entire court, as well as the confirmation process, will become highly politicized. The fundamental problem is not that the checks and balances on the judicial branch have broken down, but rather that we are afraid to utilize the ones that exist. The only real consititutional way to influence sitting Supreme Court justices is to impeach them, yet this option is never even considered, regardless of the degree to which justices continually usurp powers consitutionally vested in our elected representatives in congress and in local government.

The only way to reign in the Supreme Court and reduce its power to the constitutionally-prescribed level is to establish a precedent of impeaching justices who overstep their authority. There is simply no other way. Trying to elect justices that will act with self-restraint is a losing strategy, because we are expecting them to act in a way that’s contrary to human nature. That’s why seemingly conservative appointees to the Supreme Court often turn into judicial activists, but judicial activist appointees never turn conservative.

We should begin with impeachment proceedings against the justices that voted for the Kelo decision, and any justices that cite international law in their decisions. This is not as radical as it sounds. There is a reason why the founders created a mechanism for impeachment. It’s a crucial part of the entire system of checks and balances, and our refusal to use it has led to the problem of judicial overreach that we see today.


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