U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s proposal to force U.S. Supreme Court justices to run in retention elections (see Gavel Grab) is “monumentally silly,” says Justice at Stake Campaign Executive Director Bert Brandenburg in a National Law Journal op-ed (available with free online log-in or through Google search).
Cruz’s proposal to amend the constitution to require periodic retention elections for the justices follows recent SCOTUS rulings on healthcare and marriage that have riled conservative critics. The idea is fraught with both practical and ethical challenges, notes Brandenburg.
“If sending Antonin Scalia or Ruth Bader Ginsburg out on the campaign trail sounds like a Saturday Night Live skit, it’s because it would turn more than 225 years of American constitutional culture on its head,” he writes. “Our founders — who knew something about popular sovereignty — consciously avoided electing judges because they wanted courts’ rulings to be based on the law and the constitution, not political pressure.”
Cruz joins other presidential candidates who have called for term limits and other restraints on the Supreme Court in the wake of recent controversial rulings. He has also said he will make reform of the court a central plank in his campaign platform.