In the wake of two major Supreme Court rulings last month, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas called for Supreme Court justices to be subject to periodic public retention elections.
“Much to my great disappointment, this past term the court crossed a line and continued its long dissent into lawlessness to a level I believe demands action,” Cruz said during a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday.
“The court today is not a body of jurists," he added. "It is not a body of judges following the law, but rather it has declared itself in effect a super legislature.”
Cruz, the chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, said at the hearing that he wanted to examine what options the American people had to “rein in judicial tyranny” following the controversial rulings on same-sex marriage and Obamacare.
“So long as justices on the Court insist on behaving like politicians, acting like a political body, and making policy decisions instead of following the law, they should not expect to be exempt from the authority of the voters who disagree with their policy decisions,” he said.
Despite Cruz’s push for retention elections, the idea has been rejected by members of both political parties, with many expressing the concern that such elections would politicize the Supreme Court and force justices to participate in unnecessary political campaigns.
Democratic Sen. Christopher Coons of Delaware, the ranking Democrat on Cruz’s panel, spoke up against Cruz's proposition. He added that he too had been critical of some of the Supreme Court's rulings, citing specifically the controversial Citizens United decision.
"We cannot decry judicial activism and create a Constitution crisis every time that a big case comes out against us," he said. “The Supreme Court has been a vital arbiter of political interests precisely because it is insulated by the vagaries of politics and political interests."
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