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DavidBarton09/2002 TheFounders'intentforimpeachmentwastoprotectthefundamentalprincipleofthe consentofthegoverned.TheConstitutioncarriesnotitle butWethePeople, and impeachmentremovesfromofficethoseofficialswhoignorethatstandard.(Recallthat theConstitutiondoesnotguaranteeafederaljudgehispositionforlife,butonlyforthe durationofgoodbehavior.Art.III,Sec.

1) For this reason impeachment was used whenever judges disregarded public interests, affrontedthewillofthepeople,orintroducedarbitrary powerbyseizingtherole of policymaker. Previous generations used this tool far more frequently than today's generation; and because the grounds for impeachment were deliberately kept broad, articlesofimpeachmenthavedescribedeverythingfromdrunkennessandprofanityto judicialhighhandednessandbriberyasreasonsforremovalfromthebench.(Sixtyone federaljudgesorSupremeCourtJustices havebeeninvestigated forimpeachment, of whomthirteenhavebeenimpeachedandsevenconvicted.) Today'sjudiciary,nothavingexperiencedanyseriousthreatofimpeachmentasjudgesin earliergenerations,repeatedlyflauntsitscontemptforthewillofthepeople.Itrecently hasoverturneddirectelectionsinWashington,NewYork,California,Arkansas,Texas, Missouri,etc.,simplybecauseitpreferredadifferentoutcome.Thisisnottosuggestthat theresultsofallcitizenelectionsarefinalandinfallible,foritisthedutyoftheCourtto protecttheConstitution.However,theaboveelectionsviolatedatmostthejudiciary's ideologicalleaningsratherthananymanifestprovisionoftheConstitution(e.g.,English as a State's official language, ending government assistance for illegal immigrants, enactingtermlimits,prohibitingphysicianassistedsuicides). ExamplesofJudicialAbuses Whilemostareawareofthe9thCircuit'srecentdecisionthatsayingunderGodinthe PledgeofAllegiancethreatensourAmericanformofgovernment,therearenumerous additionalexamples,somestaggeringlyunbelievable.Forexample,inJaneDoev.Santa Fe,afederaljudgeruledthatgraduationprayersmustnotincludeanymentionofJesus or other specific deities and that any student offering such a prayer would face immediatearrestanduptosixmonthsinjail.Thejudgethreatenedviolatorsbysaying theywouldwishtheyhaddiedasachildoncehiscourtfinishedwiththem. InaTexas countywhereconservatives narrowlywonmultipleseatsinanelection, a federaljudgereversedthatoutcomebyarbitrarilythrowingoutthe800votescastbyU.S. militarypersonnel,sayingtheyhadnorighttovoteinlocalelections.

AfederaljudgeinNashvillereviewstheverdictofanyjuryinTennesseethatawardsthe deathpenalty.Thisjudgehasopenlydeclaredhispersonaloppositiontothedeathpenalty and has setasideeveryjurydecisiononthis issue,despitetheConstitution's explicit languagetothecontrary.Thejudgeevenallowsnineyearstopass,onaverage,before overturningthejury'ssentence,thusdisregardingtheConstitution'sguaranteetoaspeedy trial. AftercitizensinastatewideelectionvoteddownaproposedtaxincreaseinMissouri,a federaljudge,indirectviolationofArticleIoftheConstitution,unilaterallysetasidethe electionresultsandinsteaddecreedthatthetaxbeleviedinordertofinancehisown personalplanforeducationintheState.Interestingly,thisjudge'splan(whichfundedthe Taj Majal of public education) proved to be a dismal failure at the continuing economicexpenseoftheentireState. Therearemanyotherexamples;today'sjudiciaryisnowsoarrogantthattheSupreme Court'sownJusticeshavedescribeditasasuperboardofeducationforeveryschool districtinthenation,asamateurpsychologistsonapsychojourney,andasanational theologyboard. TheSupremeCourtversusCongress EventhoughtheConstitutiongavethelawmakingpowerstotheCongress,courtshave becomethepredominantpolicymakingbodyinthenation.Infact,onpublictoursofthe SupremeCourt,oneoftenhearstheridiculousclaimthatthisisthebuildingfromwhich allthelawsinthelandemanate.TheSupremeCourt,fullybelievingitsownpropaganda, regularly strikes down or rewrites the laws of Congress to conform to its own predilectionsandedicts. Forexample,in1993,CongresspassedtheReligiousFreedomRestorationAct(RFRA)to correct an earlier Supreme Court decision that weakened a longstanding First Amendmentprotectionforreligiousgroups.ThatCongressionalactreinstitutedprotection declaringthatagovernmententitymustnotinterferewithareligiousbodyunlessithad acompellingstateinterestfordoingso.WhenaCatholicchurchinBoerne,Texas, soughttoaccommodateitsburgeoningmembershipbutwasdeniedabuildingpermitto expanditsfacilities,thechurchinvokedreliefunderRFRA,claimingthecityhadno compellingstateinterestindenyingthechurchexpansion.TheCourtruledotherwise, strikingdownCongress'attempttoprotectreligiousbodiesfromgovernmentintrusion. Whilemostdecriedthisdecisionforweakeningtherightsofreligiousbodies,therewasa fargreaterquestionatstake. CongressinvokedSection5oftheFourteenthAmendmentoftheConstitutioninpassing RFRAtoprotectreligiousfreedomsfromfurthergovernmentalencroachment.Yeteven thoughtheCongresshadactedonthepowerexplicitlygivenitintheConstitution,the

Court struck down the law, refusing to be corrected by Congress and warning that CongressshouldnotattempttocorrectaCourtruling.Significantly,Congresscitedthe ConstitutionasitsauthorityforpassingRFRA,buttheCourtdidnotcitetheConstitution asitsauthorityforstrikingRFRAdown.TheCourtinsteadpointedtoitsownprevious decisions,thuselevatingitsrulingshigherthantheConstitutionitself.Asitexplained, Any suggestion that Congress has a substantive, nonremedial power under the Fourteenth Amendment is not supported by our case law. The Court then rebuked Congress,warningthatitsjudicialedictsmustbetreatedwiththerespectduethem.In short,wetheCourtdemandthatyoutheCongressadheretoouropinionsregardlessof whattheConstitutionsays. Obviously, the Supreme Court considers both itself and its decisions supreme over Congress.However,theConstitutiondisagreesitdeliberatelyempowersCongresswith greater power. For example, the Constitution gives Congress the authority to set the salaries for judges, determine the size of the Judiciary, establish the scope of the Judiciary'sjurisdictionandthetypesofcaseswhichcomebeforeit.Furthermore,judges cannotservewithouttheapprovalofCongress,andCongressmayremovejudgeswith whomitisdissatisfied.ThesearejustsomeoftheconstitutionalarmsforCongress' powersofselfdefense(Federalist73,AlexanderHamilton). The Constitution clearly places many of the operations of the Judiciary under the oversightofCongressapowernotgrantedreciprocallytotheJudiciary.Thisismade clear in theFederalist Papers(described by James Madison as the most authentic expositionoftheheartofthefederalConstitution),whichconfirmthatsubjugatingthe JudiciarytoCongresswasdeliberateandintentional.Federalist#51declares: Thelegislativeauthoritynecessarilypredominates. Federalist#78thenproclaims: TheJudiciaryisbeyondcomparisontheweakestofthethreedepartmentsofpower. Furthermore,Federalist#49declaresthatCongressnottheCourtistheconfidential guardiansof[thepeople's]rightsandliberties.Why?BecausetheLegislaturenotthe unelectedjudiciaryisclosesttothepeopleandmostresponsivetothem.Infact,the Court'sownhistoryprovesthatitisnotaproficientguardianofthepeople'srights.For example,aftertheCivilWar,Congresspassedcivilrightslawsforbiddingsegregation, buttheCourtstruckdowntheselawsandinsteadinstitutedseparatebutequalinPlessey v.Ferguson.(WhiletheCourteventuallyendedthisracialsegregationinBrownv.Board of Education, that decision was merely the Court's reversal of its own segregation standardpreviouslyestablishedinPlessey.) Moreover,haditbeenuptotheCourt,slaverywouldhaveneverended:in1857,the

Courtdeclareditunconstitutionalfortheotherbranchestoendslaveryortofreeslaves. Fortunately,Congressignoredthatdecisionbydeclaringfreedomforslavesin1862and PresidentLincolnalsoignoredthatdecisionbyissuingtheEmancipationProclamation in1863.AllsubstantiveprogressincivilrightsaftertheCivilWarwasaccomplishedonly afterCongressusedArticleIII,Section2oftheConstitutiontoremoveReconstruction issuesfromtheCourt'sreach.Indeed,historydemonstratesthattheCourtislessthana faithful guardian of the people's rights, violating the people's liberties as often as it protectsthem.AsThomasJeffersonpointedout: Ourjudgesareashonestasothermenandnotmoreso.Theyhave,withothers,thesame passionsforparty,forpower,andtheprivilegeoftheircorps....andtheirpowerthe moredangerousastheyareinofficeforlifeandnotresponsible,astheotherfunctionaries are,totheelectivecontrol. Today,theCourtclaimsthatitistheonlybodycapableofinterpretingtheConstitution that Congress is incapable of determining constitutionality. However, the Founding Fathersvehementlydisagreed.Forexample,JamesMadisondeclared: [T]hemeaningoftheConstitutionmayaswellbeascertainedbytheLegislativeasbythe Judicialauthority. ConstitutionalConventiondelegateLutherMartinsimilarlyattested: Aknowledgeofmankindandoflegislativeaffairscannotbepresumedtobelongina higherdegreetotheJudgesthantotheLegislature. TheFoundersconsistentlyopposedtheCourtbeingthefinalwordonconstitutionality. Forexample,ThomasJeffersondeclared: [T]oconsiderthejudgesastheultimatearbitersofallconstitutionalquestions[is]avery dangerousdoctrine indeed,andonewhichwouldplaceusunderthedespotismofan oligarchy....TheConstitutionhaserectednosuchsingletribunal. HefurtherexplainedthatiftheCourtwasleftunchecked: TheConstitution...[wouldbe]amerethingofwaxinthehandsofthejudiciarywhich theymaytwistandshapeintoanyformtheyplease. AllowingtheCourttoenlargeitsownsphereofpowerbeyondwhattheConstitution authorizes, permitting the Court to usurp the powers of Congress, and tolerating the Courts'disregardofconstitutionalseparationofpowersmovesAmericaeverfurtherfrom being a representative republic and ever closer toward the oligarchy against which Jeffersonwarned.TheCourtmustberesistedintheseattempts.

Impeachment:TheFounders'Solution Asnotedearlier,judgesinpreviousgenerationswhousurpedpowersfromCongressor thepeople facedimpeachment. Buttoday's critics claim that theuseofimpeachment wouldeithermakethejudiciaryapoliticalbranch(asifitwerenotalreadyapolitical branch)orthat itwouldviolate theindependence ofthejudiciary. Yet,as Thomas Jeffersonsoaccuratelycautioned, Itshouldberememberedasanaxiomofeternaltruthinpoliticsthatwhateverpower... isindependentisabsolutealso....Independencecanbetrustednowherebutwiththe peopleinmass. NojudgeshouldeverbesoindependentthatheisunaccountabletotheCongress,and therebythepeople.AsJusticeJamesIredell(placedontheCourtbyPresidentGeorge Washington)soclearlyexplained: Everygovernmentrequiresit[impeachment].Everymanoughttobeamenableforhis conduct. Iredell further notedthat someofficials will behave themselves onlyunder the very terrorofpunishmentthatimpeachmentprovides.Recenteventssuggesthewasright. In 1996,sixmembers oftheSupreme Courtvoted tooverturn theColorado election forbiddingspecial(ratherthanjustequal)rightsforhomosexuals.Followingthatflagrant displayofcontemptforthewillofColoradovoters,therewasanationalcallforthe impeachmentofthosesixJustices.Afterthisclamorfortheirremoval,thosesamesix Justicessuddenlybecameardentdefendersofthepeople'selectionsandinasubsequent decisionunexpectedlyandunanimouslychastisedalowercourtthathadoverturned a statewide election in Arizona. (Interestingly, Thomas Jefferson on multiple occasions calledimpeachmentascarecrowsomethingusedtofrightenpredatorsandthethreat ofimpeachmentcertainlyhadthateffectontheSupremeCourt.) Similarly, after a federal judge overturned a binding referendum by the voters of California(Proposition209),nationalleaderscalledfortheimpeachmentofthatjudge. Later,the9thCircuitorderedtheresultsoftheelectionreinstatedandcriticizedthatjudge forignoringthewillofthepeople.Yet,thissame9thCircuitCourthaditselfshortly beforeoverturnedatleastthreesimilarelections.Whytheflipflop?Thescarecrowhad beenforcefullyraisedbyCongresstomakejudgesaccountablefortheirdecisionsby returningtotheoriginalconstitutionalusesofimpeachment. It is true that impeachment is a cumbersome process, and achieving a conviction is difficult.However,onmostoccasions,justthethreatofimpeachmentproducesresults.In fact, thereareseveralexamples offederaljudgescorrecting theirowndecisions after

hearingCongressionalcallsfortheirimpeachment;andanactualimpeachmentsendsan evenmorepowerfulmessagetoallotherwaywardleaningjudges. AlthoughCongressisultimatelyresponsibleforthedisciplineofjudges,fartoomanyof ourCongressmen(likefartoomanyofourcitizens)havenounderstandingoftheproper useofimpeachment.However,awisepoliticalaxiomdeclaresthatCongressseesthe lightwhenitfeelstheheat,andthisisespeciallytrueonthisissue.Ascitizens,weneed toeducateourselvesontheproperuseofjudicialimpeachment,andthenweneedto educateourRepresentatives,remindingthemoftheneedforjudicialreformandalerting them to those judges showing a pattern of abuse. The time for encouraging judicial accountabilityisonceagainripe.Thisisagoldenopportunityforcitizenstoweighinand makeadifference.