Dumbest idea of the week

This will begin a series of intermittent posts, mostly on the weekends, about crazy or merely moronic statements regarding the federal judiciary.  Here is my first offering.

While lamenting the inability of the Senate to get anything done, an apparently serious writer for Firedoglake, Jon Walker, suggested: “I think the grand bargain Washington actually needs is eliminating the filibuster in exchange for an end to lifetime appointments for federal judges.” FDL, Friday May 31, 2013 1:03 pm.

There is some solace in this quick response from one of Mr. Walker’s readers:  “Congratulations. You’ve come up with the dumbest idea of the week.”  So true.

RGK

5 responses

  1. Leaving aside the foolishness of either idea separately, I have to wonder what either has to do with the other.

    Eric Hines

  2. Mr. Hines,

    Me too. Logically, it would make more sense to argue, “Hey, let’s get rid of filibusters by installing a parliament.”

    What’s more, and this is the particularly scary part, the brazen willingness to use the federal judiciary as a chip in a giant poker game between the political parties, without the slightest recognition that we are talking about significantly altering the third branch of our government, is a sad commentary on how the judiciary is viewed by the political elite. Just another wedge to exploit. Whether it comes from the left (as in the case of the “progressive” writer referred to in my post) or from the right (pick the nut of your choice), the federal judiciary seems always to be regarded as disposable.

    All the best.

    RGK

  3. In terms of mindset, the deprecation of the judiciary seems understandable, if not justifiable. All the action is in the Congress and White House. You guys are just a bunch of old fuddy-duddies. And you get your rulings wrong, too: my cause is never supported.

    Never mind that it’s not about causes, but what we actually said we wanted via the laws we got passed. And there’s a reason our judiciary was made an equal part of government, not a subordinate one, like the Brits have done.

    I do tend to agree, though, that lifetime sinecures for judges are suboptimal. But until I come up with “optimal,” I’m reluctant to tinker with something that, in the main, has worked pretty well.

    Eric Hines

  4. Dear Mr. Hines,

    Yes, and isn’t that precisely the point. Lifetime tenure, like many other parts of our Constitution, can be debated until the cows come home. But, given 200 years plus of experience (rather than theory), the federal judiciary has worked remarkably well. Sure, Dred Scott, and others, were huge mistakes. But, in the end, we have been well-served by the structure put in place by the Founders.

    Doctors are taught to “first, do no harm.” We should remember that when we have the impulse to tinker with the greatest invention of any age, the American Constitution.

    All the best.

    RGK

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