Democrats Introduce Unconstitutional Act To Limit The Tenure Of Supreme Court Justices

Democratic members are introducing a blatantly unconstitutional bill that would limit the tenure of U.S. Supreme Court justices to 18 years. In claiming to defend the Constitution, members like Rep. Ro Khanna (D., Cal.), Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D., Mass.), and Don Beyer (D., Va.) are offering a plan that is as illogical as it is unconstitutional. While the bill also includes a provision that I proposed decades ago for the expansion of the Court, the term limit would be dead on arrival at any court.

The new bill, seen by Reuters, would also allow every president to nominate two justices per four-year term. That is a part of a proposal that I made over 20 years ago for the expansion of the Court (here and here and here and here).  Notably, such a bill would raise a severability problem for the courts.  The term limits are clearly unconstitutional and the question would be whether the expansion provision could be preserved. The two provisions could be viewed as so closely related in the legislative scheme to require that the entire law be struck down.

Rep. Khanna is quoted as saying “That’s perfectly consistent with their judicial independence and having a lifetime salary and a lifetime appointment.” It is neither consistent nor constitutional

Article III, Sec. 1 states: “The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.”  There is no term limit imposed on such service and the only method for removal is through impeachment. Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 78 defended this “permanent tenure” as central to insulating judges from political pressures: “In a monarchy it is an excellent barrier to the despotism of the prince; in a republic it is a no less excellent barrier to the encroachments and oppressions of the representative body.” Thomas Jefferson was also an outspoken advocate for this element of Article III and the necessity that judges should “hold estates for life in their offices.”   The Democrats appear to be adopting the failed arguments of anti-Federalists in pursuing this limitation, a curious position for the party.

If Democrats want to reargue the anti-Federalist arguments against life tenure, they need to seek the amendment of the Constitution. While they can expand the Supreme Court without such an amendment, they cannot rewrite the Constitution to achieve this unworthy purpose of packing the Court.

202 thoughts on “Democrats Introduce Unconstitutional Act To Limit The Tenure Of Supreme Court Justices”

  1. When elected politicians write clearly unconstitutional laws after swearing to uphold the constitution, it is time all politicians are required to pass a test on detailed constitution information before taking office.

    Good idea for term limits if done through amendment
    Bad idea to increase size. Democrats are going bonkers over Reids senate rules changes now that Trump only needs simple majority. Just think in 30 years when the court would have a 8-4 conservative shift. Be careful what you ask for!

  2. The attempt to partisanize the Supreme Court, in order to make it work as a surrogate legislature, is an assault on the basic structure of Constitutional government.

    1. I have news for you. The court has been functioning this way for 83 years, and issued a set of absurd decisions along the way, for which law professors supply specious justifications. If they acted with integrity, stare decisis would save the Federal Reserve, Social Security, Medicare, and perhaps Medicaid as is; notable swaths of the federal criminal code and federal body of regulatory ordinances would fall (and that would take out much that was enacted under the misnomer rubric ‘civil rights’; federal estate tax levies each year would have to be apportioned among the states (perhaps through a system of rebates); and the case law making reference to the ‘equal protection’ clause would be replaced with a much more circumscribed body of case law concerned with selective enforcement, selective prosecution, and gross disparities in the distribution of services within particular jurisdictions.

    2. the federal courts are politicized as ever. they are well qualified, however, perhaps not hacks in that sense. but continuing their lifetime tenure status only makes it worse

      let’s get a bipartisan agreement: TIME TO AMEND ARTICLE III AND CANCEL LIFETIME TENURE

  3. I guess I’m entirely sure why the concept of ‘lifetime’ appointment shouldn’t be able to be challenged under the Constitution. Seems antithetical.

    1. Bug,
      Article III says “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, …,” and “during good behavior” is interpreted as a lifetime appointment unless the person engages in impeachable offenses.

        1. Feel free to study Prof Turley’s CV. He has defended a judge in an impeachment. Study the case and you will be enlightened. Perhaps then you will also see that you have given him short shrift for his impressive record as a lawyer, not only a professor and “social influencer”

      1. then there is the curious case of A Kozinsky. A very smart and effective judge, but not one who engaged in good behavior. He retired

        there are many other cads on the bench, but when they are republicans, the tolerance level for mischief is at a lower level

        here is a reality that we know is true and why a lot of sociopathic climbers are drawn more to Democrats — because they know they will have more wiggle room to play

        I am reminded of the story of a notorious abortionist who had a clique of adulterous paramours from “feminist” circles and yet nobody dared to tell

        I am also reminded of another “friend of bill” of moderate fame who had a bad reputation for bedding all the women including the wives in his social circle, some quite aggressively, and yet as his star rose, nobody would tell… and those who did tell lawyers, soon had their wagging tongues silenced with payoffs and NDAs

        neither story ever made it to print, and Im not going to toss names out there myself, either. & I have more. so many I mostly forget them now. serves little point except as to the overall pattern.

        for decades it has seemed to me that there is some unwritten rule that scandalous sexual behavior is only a matter of news if the subject is a Republican government employee of some sort

        need I point out JFK and his sexual misconducts? I mean that’s a lot of misconducts. And yet JFK was a good president

        Don Trump with all his petty dalliances and NDAs was a typical Democrat in this respect. Of course his former Democrat friends eventually exposed all those things once he switched sides. Really proves the point decisively. So, we have to thank Trump for being willing to have some of his dirt exposed so that these fake double standards could eventually be punctured.

        1. And yet JFK was a good president

          No, he was a mediocre president. Eisenhower, Truman, FDR, Coolidge, TR, and Arthur were the good presidents during the period running from 1865 to 1975.

          1. i expected that you would object to my praise of jfk as you always do but I am surprised nobody hopped on the kozinsky thing. i suppose they never heard of him.,
            what erudite partners in dialogue we have here, not

  4. The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) have been (Robert) Borking conservative Supreme Court nominees for so long,

    Gov. Ron DeSantis described the “Trump Trifecta” as the “Democrats’ Comeuppance.”

  5. Another of their stupid sick socialist PCrap unless they introduce it as an amendment to the Constitution and only reflects what plans for our Constitutional Republic these foreign ideologists have for our future. Either way it makes us wonder just what are these fools being paid for? President; comes up with health plan and the left comes up with another way to play commie. As for Pelosi 1200 or no votes for any Democrat is her choice and just how long is that heartless witch going to keep her own party members and their children with nothing on the table? What a sick twisted evil way to act but….. it’s in line with socialist dogma.

  6. CommitToHonestDiscussion wrote, “I don’t know what “attacks on the Electoral College” you’re referring to”

    Now you’re being intentionally obtuse.

    CommitToHonestDiscussion wrote, “impeachment is entirely constitutional — the Founders explicitly included it in the Constitution.”

    “It’s my opinion that the House of Representatives impeachment of President Trump is literally unconstitutional. Just because the House has the sole authority to impeach the President doesn’t mean that the House has unlimited impeachment power and can do no wrong by impeaching. The House cannot do whatever the they want to do in regards to impeachment, they MUST follow the Constitution – PERIOD! The House was wrong and should apologize to the American people for this unconstitutional political hit job.”

    History In The Making

    I wrote, “The Constitution appears to be a meaningless quaint platitude to prominent Democrats that don’t get their way” and you replied “Bullsh*t”; my opinion is based on actual observation of prominent Democrats and their lap-dog media, I don’t know what yours is base on but you’re welcome to your opinion.

    1. Steve,

      I try not to pretend to read people’s minds. So no, I’m not “being intentionally obtuse.” I’m saying that I don’t what “attacks on the Electoral College” *you* are referring when *you* say “the Democrats don’t seem to respect the United States Constitution.” And instead of proclaiming that I’m “being intentionally obtuse,” it would be more productive for you to simply explain “by ‘attacks on the Electoral College,’ I’m referring to _______,” filling in the blank.

      Re: impeachment, I agree that “they MUST follow the Constitution.” According to you, what did they do that’s “unconstitutional”? You assert that it’s a “unconstitutional political hit job.” but don’t identify *what*, specifically, they did that you characterize as unconstitutional and don’t explain *why* you believe it to be unconstitutional; that kind of handwaving isn’t convincing.

      Both of our opinions are based on what we’ve observed. Trump has engaged in a variety of impeachable conduct. Frankly, I wish that the articles of impeachment had included more (e.g., Emoluments Clause violations, breaking campaign finance laws and making a false declaration on his financial disclosure form and then certifying it to be “true, complete and correct”).

      1. I wish we could edit our posts, That should have been I don’t know what “attacks on the Electoral College” *you* are referring to

      2. CommitToHonestDiscussion wrote, “I try not to pretend to read people’s minds. So no, I’m not “being intentionally obtuse.” I’m saying that I don’t what “attacks on the Electoral College” *you* are referring when *you* say “the Democrats don’t seem to respect the United States Constitution.” And instead of proclaiming that I’m “being intentionally obtuse,” it would be more productive for you to simply explain “by ‘attacks on the Electoral College,’ I’m referring to _______,” filling in the blank.”

        Some of that is on the level of frontier gibberish but I’ll address what I think you wrote.

        It’s intellectually dishonest for anyone of voting age in the United States to claim that they don’t know how the Democrats have been attacking the Electoral College since the election in November 2016. Even now Democrats are still talking about abolishing the Electoral College, they have been since the election, and the constant in-your-face “lost the popular vote” ad nauseam mantra rolling out of the mouths of the political left is a rhetorical propaganda attack on the Electoral College. Deny these facts and you are denying reality.

        Before you wrote “I don’t know what “attacks on the Electoral College” you’re referring to” now you wrote “I’m saying that I don’t what “attacks on the Electoral College””, these things are not even close to being equivalent. Try again.

        The Democrats have proven that they do not respect the Constitution as written. Their propaganda rhetoric demonizing the Electoral College and open statements that they want to eliminate the Electoral College are proof positive that they don’t respect the Constitution. If you don’t understand that fact I can’t help you.

        CommitToHonestDiscussion wrote, “Re: impeachment, I agree that “they MUST follow the Constitution.” According to you, what did they do that’s “unconstitutional”? You assert that it’s a “unconstitutional political hit job.” but don’t identify *what*, specifically, they did that you characterize as unconstitutional and don’t explain *why* you believe it to be unconstitutional; that kind of handwaving isn’t convincing.”

        It’s obvious that you didn’t read the blog links I provided you, I’ve provided you two. You not reading what is provided is not my problem. When you’ve actually read them I’ll expect and accept your apology.

        CommitToHonestDiscussion wrote, “Trump has engaged in a variety of impeachable conduct.”

        Impeachable conduct is spelled out in the Constitution and it is literally limited to Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. What are the things that Trump has done that fall into these limitations?

        1. comments from Committed2HorribleDialogue are easier to swallow after you’ve had a half dozen shots of Jaegermeister but alas the bitterness is no better

          1. try ouzo or anisette or absinthe instead

            or you could sex the jaeger up with some “red bull”
            ]
            I have not been to a disco in a few years but that was au courant last time I went

        2. Steve, so “talking about abolishing the Electoral College” and distinguishing between the EC vote and the popular vote is all you’re referring to by “attacks on the Electoral College”?

          “Talking about abolishing the Electoral College” does not demonstrate a lack of “respect [for] the United States Constitution.” The Constitution allows for amendment; that was intended by the Framers, and they themselves amended the Constitution. You may disagree with eliminating the EC via constitutional amendment, but I still don’t understand why you interpret it as a lack of “respect.”

          “the constant in-your-face “lost the popular vote” ad nauseam mantra rolling out of the mouths of the political left is a rhetorical propaganda attack on the Electoral College.”

          No, it isn’t. It’s a fact that the popular vote and EC vote are distinct. It’s a fact that Republican candidates have twice lost the popular vote while winning the EC. The reason for that is that the votes of voters in different states don’t count equally in the EC. If you’re not familiar with the concept of EC voting power and the disproportionality of voting power across states, for a given state, divide the population (or, if you prefer, the subset that’s eligible to vote) by the # of electors assigned to that state; now order all of those state ratios from largest to smallest and divide by the smallest, and you’ll see the differences in voting power across states. (This is one way of assessing the voting power; there are other definitions in the research literature, but that’s the simplest.) Although each voter has a single vote, a vote in some states counts more than a vote in other states when it comes to how much impact that vote has on the EC. The vote power across states has shifted considerably over time, in part because the population has not grown proportionally across states over time, while all states still have 2 Senators. It’s not an “attack” to discuss this.

          “The Democrats have proven that they do not respect the Constitution as written.”

          It’s been amended multiple times. It can be amended again. If you equate amending the Constitution with a lack of respect, that’s a strange interpretation of respect. Would you also have argued that women didn’t respect the Constitution as written when suffragettes worked for the 19th Amendment?

          “It’s obvious that you didn’t read the blog links I provided you,”

          That’s right; I didn’t read the links. You titled one link “Pledge of Allegiance & more…” and you titled another link “History In The Making,” and neither title seemed relevant, and you didn’t make explicit that I needed to read either of them for an explanation of why you considered the impeachment to be unconstitutional. Now that you’ve said that, I’ve skimmed each.

          Your “History In The Making,” link is mostly Dershowitz’s speech. That doesn’t explain why YOU think what the Democrats did in impeaching Trump is “unconstitutional.” If you’re simply saying that Dershowitz argued it’s unconstitutional and you agree with his argument, then we can turn to discussions by other lawyers of why they disagree with Dershowitz’s assessment that it’s unconstitutional. Is that what you’re arguing?

          Unless I missed it, your “Pledge of Allegiance & more…” link doesn’t address the actual articles of impeachment, as it was written before the articles of impeachment for Trump were introduced in the House.

          “I’ll expect and accept your apology.”

          I’m not going to apologize. If it’s necessary for me to read something in order to understand your argument, then (a) the onus is on you to make explicit that I have to read them to understand your argument, and (b) they actually have to answer my question. Neither one did that explicitly.

          “Impeachable conduct is spelled out in the Constitution and it is literally limited to Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

          I absolutely agree that the Constitution spells out that impeachment is limited to “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” but I disagree that the Constitution “spell[s] out” what constitutes “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” That’s actually debated by legal scholars. Since you introduced Dershowitz into the conversation, and since Dershowitz drew on Nikolas Bowie, are you aware that Nikolas Bowie explicitly stated that Dershowitz misconstrued what Bowie wrote? If not, read it for yourself: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/27/opinion/impeachment-defense-trump.html (and if you can’t read that because of a paywall, you can search for another copy on the Internet Archive, there are many, here’s one: web.archive.org/web/20200127161017/https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/27/opinion/impeachment-defense-trump.html)

          “What are the things that Trump has done that fall into these limitations?”

          As Bowie explained, both of the crimes listed in Trump’s articles of impeachment are high crimes. So are emoluments clause violations (EC violations were so significant to the Founders that they’re highlighted more than once in the Constitution) and so is the campaign finance law violation + false declaration on his financial disclosure form.

          Here’s another lawyer explaining why the Abuse of Power article of impeachment constituted Bribery:
          https://twitter.com/jedshug/status/1218895986602336256

          1. Trump went after the EC vote because those are the rules something that gives you pain to abide by. Had Trump decided to campaign in these dense blue areas like parts of NY and California he had a good chance of winning the popular vote but losing those large states and some others.

            Trump acted smartly. The Democrat candidate acted stupidly. Trump won. We need smart people running this country, not democrats.

            1. Allan is again demonstrating that CTHD is a lot smarter than he is. Steve Witherspoon is also smarter than Allan. You have to wonder why Allan would reply, except that he shows every day that he’s consumed with following CTHD around and replying to her.

                1. Only you say Anonymous > CTHD + Steve W, mespo727272.

                  If you followed the logical consequences of your own premises, you’d know that they contradict Allan > Anonymous
                  You must have failed formal logic.

              1. I don’t expect stupid people to be able to assimilate that type of information. They don’t know when bias is leading them by the nose.

  7. Democratic members are introducing a blatantly unconstitutional bill that would limit the tenure of U.S. Supreme Court justices to 18 years.

    Yes, it’s unconstitutional. However, it’s rather less abusive and unwarranted than activity the federal courts have engaged in routinely, activities your ‘colleagues’ on law faculties have defended vociferously. What they defend incorporates lawyers exercising unwarranted discretion rather than elected officials so doing. Funny that.

  8. Again Professor Turley is faced with a political decision. Does he support the temporary figurehead Biden who will be replaced by the extreme left or does he jump ship and vote for Trump? By this time the Professor already knows that Biden’s days are limited and that should he become President he will be a tool of the extreme left that wants to destroy the Constitution and directly oppose those things dear to Professor Turley .

    1. Professor Turley is a blawger. His book of business is commenting on issues in law and legal education, not on the full spectrum of public policy questions (much less on the advisability of voting for one candidate or the other). Let Turley be Turley.

      1. DSS Turley’s blog reveals his political opinion. His legal opinions mostly reveal his legal opinion that to me is fair enough. As a lawyer wishing to protect the Constitution he has a problem. Which will prevail, his love of blogging or his love of the law?

        1. Other than on environmental issues, JT’s opinions rarely expose a deference to political over constitutional. The fact that he has come under attack by the Lefty’s on his blog, with increasing frequency, is because their political bent is being exposed as not only unconstitutional but illegal. Their feel narrative is being decimated by facts and evidence. Consider it from their perspective. Imagine everything you believed to be true suddenly was proven to be a lie. No, Trump is still an unconventional President with a provocative style. But for years they’ve been led to believe a story that if true, warranted the actions that were taken. But as they now know, or should know, none of it was true. That has got to be demoralizing and humiliating. At least it should be. Now they have to make a choice; double-down, or show some humility and admit they were wrong. No one is asking them to change political parties. We sort of need at least a two party system. They need to restore their party to some semblance of constitutional sanity.

        1. It doesn’t elevate Bug’s position for Anonymous the Stupid to provide a 10. That is where I am lucky I don’t have the Stupid complimenting what I write. That tells people I must be saying something correct.

      1. No, Bug. Turley is a civil libertarian while being center left. His civil libertarian positions are more similar to the civil libertarian positions of the JFK years. Democrats are no longer the same.

  9. 1st and foremost.

    – Term limits for all of Congress. One 5 year term and you’re done. (Thereby eliminating career politicians).

    – No more mid-term elections.

    – A single election for POTUS, House members, and Senators, every 5 years.

    – Outlaw all lobbying and special interest groups.

    – Outlaw all political Parties.

    – Outlaw all political contributions. All candidates campaign funding is provided by the government and is equal.

      1. There is no such thing as luck. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

        But there is such a thing as the Article V Convention.

        Which is where this country is headed.

    1. What would stop 250,000 people from running for national offices at the same time? There would have to be some qualifying criteria to receive public campaign funding, right? And it can’t be at the discretion of the current office holders.

      As far as limiting the impact of Political Parties, I would at least agree that the 3 major High Offices (President, VP and Presiding Officer of the Senate, Speaker of the House) be redefined as non-partisan leadership positions, with responsibility for the productivity of the entire body.

      The freedom of association poses a major problem with “Outlaw all political parties”, but I would at least try to limit partisan associations from redefining the roles of the Constitutionally-defined Offices.

  10. “In claiming to defend the Constitution, members like Rep. Ro Khanna (D., Cal.), Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D., Mass.), and Don Beyer (D., Va.) are offering a plan that is as illogical as it is unconstitutional. While the bill also includes a provision that I proposed decades ago for the expansion of the Court, the term limit would be dead on arrival at any court.”
    ****************************
    Well, no one ever accused Don Beyer as having any more ethics than the used car salesman he is.

      1. Arty:
        Beyer seems nice enough but this bill is DOA to anyone with a copy of the constitution. That said, my friends like the Volvos they bought from him.

        1. you do realize that, with ADx2 having declared himself a patron of Mr. Beyer’s automotive business, that makes “Arty” your neighbor. Should we schedule an intervention or just a BB gun demonstration shooting at varmints?

          😉

    1. FWIW, I’ve been satisfied with all my used car purchases, and have had a succession of repairmen who served me well. The sort of problems my parents had with auto repair 50 years ago I’ve never had.

  11. And once again, Turley chooses to omit relevant information in a way that skews the interpretation.

    Here’s what Reuters said: “Some legal observers, including those who favor term limits, say they must be accomplished through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which has been interpreted as requiring life tenure for federal judges and justices. The bill seeks to avoid constitutional concerns by exempting current justices from the 18-year rule. Those appointed under term limits would become “senior” upon retirement and rotate to lower courts. ‘That’s perfectly consistent with their judicial independence and having a lifetime salary and a lifetime appointment,’ Khanna said.” (emphasis added)

    Note that the text of the bill wasn’t included in any of the reporting, but if what Reuters describes is what’s being proposed, it’s different than a Justice simply being forced to retire at the end of the 18 year period.

    Turley quotes Rep. Khanna, but doesn’t quote what Khanna is referring to — the portion in italics above — and Turley pretends that the bill is as Turley describes rather than as Reuters describes, when Reuters has apparently seen the bill (according to their article) and Turley has not. It’s dishonest. Dishonesty doesn’t serve a legal discussion. Once again, shame on Turley for these kinds of dishonest choices.

    1. What a load of irrelevant nonsense. Article 3 grants lifetime tenure, with removal for impeachable offense only. That applies to all justices, not just those currently on the court. This isn’t even a close call.

      1. It’s not irrelevant that we haven’t actually seen the text of the bill.

        It’s not irrelevant that Turley omitted relevant information about how Reuters characterized the bill.

        Unlike you, I’m not going to pretend to analyze a bill that hasn’t yet been made public and therefore cannot read.

        1. “Unlike you, I’m not going to pretend to analyze a bill that hasn’t yet been made public and therefore cannot read.”

          Apparently you have (pretended to analyze …) when it came to your criticism of Professor Turley. You are a hypocrite.

              1. Allan the Stupid, if you don’t understand that Turley’s column is public and that CTHD clearly read it, then you’re the one who is Stupid.

                1. Anonymous the Stupid, you are so Stupid you had to ask the question twice. Turley is public but the bill at that time and perhaps still wasn’t public.

                  I ask again, did you pass 3rd grade?

                1. Allan the Stupid, you have original thoughts, but many of them are delusional.
                  I prefer to use your own trash against you.

              1. Anonymous the Stupid, I note you are talking to yourself again. Does that make you feel bigger? Go back to the rat latrine and get some help.

                1. Allan the Stupid, I note that you continue to pretend that only one person is posting anonymously.
                  Does that make you feel bigger? Go back to the rat latrine and get some help.

                  1. And just curious…, is the “rat latrine” a place where one goes to get help? Speak more in depth of this “rat latrine” please. Are there toilets especially for rats? Do they wash their paws? Is Allan off his meds? Can he find the kitchen without help?

                    1. United States of Bug:

                      Allan is the one who introduced the rat latrine, so he’s in a better position than I am to describe it in detail. Sounds like a sewer. I doubt that Allan has sought help for his psych problems, so he was probably never on meds. He enjoys putting people down, a kind of sadism. I’m not sure that meds help with sadism.

                    2. “Allan is the one who introduced the rat latrine”

                      Anonymous, I did. But it was easy to figure out where you and your friends live. In the rat latrine. That is not my fault. It is yours. You made bad choices.

                  2. Anonymous the Stupid I don’t have to pretend. You are even afraid of anyone recognizing how frequently you post. You are one dumba$$.

            1. Anonymous the Stupid, do you know what the word “hypocrite” means? Apparently not or you would have stated your reason for saying so.

              1. Allan the Stupid, do you know what the word “hypocrite” means?
                Apparently not, or you wouldn’t have called CTHD a hypocrite, when your stated reason for saying so didn’t demonstrate hypocrisy.

  12. First identify the faults of the present system. Then use whatever constitutional means to rectify those faults. If the Constitution does not assist in rectifying those faults; then amend the Constitution. The US is an evolving exercise in government. The Constitution must be kept as independent of the momentary leanings of either party but should reflect the will of the people however momentary. If the will of the people changes, amend the Constitution. A perfect example can be seen with prohibition.

    The contradiction here is that the people make the laws through a system of democratically elected representatives. If the aim of Hamilton and Jefferson was to have the court free from political influence by guaranteeing the job of justice for life thus having it independent; then perhaps independence from political influence should be isolated and approached uniquely. Perhaps a life term is not the only way. In today’s Supreme Court condition the court has proven itself not to be free from political influence. A moderate like Garland was kept off of the court by political maneuvering. Two right leaning justices have been chosen and placed on the court by a President who was not elected through the will of the majority of the people and a Senate that is entirely political and has a slim margin. The Congress is ruled by the opposing party. The concept of the check and balance system here seems to be flawed when it comes to placing justices on the Supreme Court.

    Presently the only way to place a judge on the Supreme Court is through the political machines. The present system obviously falls short of the intentions of having an absence of political bent on the court. Limiting the number of Judges that can be nominated by a President in one term would lead away from political influence. Changing a life term for an eighteen year term would not guarantee independence from political sway. Nine, eleven, thirteen, or fifteen justices would not guarantee the independence from political sway. The problem is with the sourcing of the justices. The solution is a confirming body that is as politically independent as is possible or an inclusion of both parties.

    The first step in fixing a problem is realizing that there is a problem. Limiting the potential of the problem is the first step. A President being able to appoint no more than one justice per term would be a good place to start. If a second justice was needed then the nomination could come from the Congress and be confirmed by the Senate, or vise versa. The present system is flawed. A better system may still be flawed but it is the responsibility of the government of the country to adjust its components to repair the system. America will not benefit by waiting for a more extreme example of a flawed system than that which has recently transpired from Garland to the present. The Senate perverted the Constitution in refusing to consider an Obama nominee and now will further pervert the system by stacking the court. This is is direct opposition of the intentions of Hamilton and Jefferson. This does not lead to a Supreme Court that is the guardian and impartial interpreter of the Constitution but a mere extension of a political force that risks being undemocratic. If the majority rule comes from one party and thus represents the will of the people but the minority of the people control the Supreme Court, democratic governance is perverted.

    1. “The present system obviously falls short of the intentions of having an absence of political bent on the court.”

      That has little to do with the Court. It has to do with Congress relying on the Court to pass legislation through an activist judicial system. If the Court wasn’t being depended on to be activist and pass legislation then it would be passive as it was years past. Then the concern as to who is on the Court would diminish.

      1. The Supreme Court was not intended to be ‘activist’ or involved in legislating. It was intended to guard the intentions of the Constitution by contrasting legislation against those intentions. Given that the Constitution is highly interpretable in a partisan manner in many instances, the court is always at risk of being an extension of a political party. No one is without some sort of political bias. This brings us back to the function of the court and its place in the legislative scheme of things. One solution is the UK parliamentary approach where on first level priority issues the legislative bodies hold the final say. They are not brought before a court. The Supreme Court would only be engaged on secondary issue levels. If an issue of primary level importance goes against the people’s will, then it will be voted out through the election of representatives. The Supreme Court is becoming an extension of right or left bias and it is impossible given the make up of the US system to guard against this bias. Either take the Supreme Court out of the decision making at the highest levels or limit the terms of its members. This constant regression to what America was ignores the historical facts that America is a far far better place today than it has ever been. What must be guarded is the right of the people to better their conditions. This can only happen through democracy. A Supreme Court with decades of political bias built in is not democracy.

        1. “The Supreme Court was not intended to be ‘activist’ or involved in legislating. ”

          Issac, no need to go further. What you said here is enough. If it wasn’t involved in legislating from the bench we wouldn’t pay such attention to it.

  13. It really comes down to limiting the terms of office of members of congress and senate. Then at least we could limit the damage they do to the Constitution and our nation.
    I don’t think the founders intended these elected positions to become jobs for talentless people.

    1. They’re not talentless. Unfortunately, their principal talent is working a room, which is rather irrelevant to the job of superintending public policy.

      As a matter of policy, I think we’d be better off if, with some qualifications, someone standing for office in a given constituency would be required to be eligible to vote (excluding aliens, convicts, people under guardianships, &c), a palpable resident of the electoral constituency in which they’re running (Rashida Tlaib, let’s see your tax returns, property deeds, and rental agreements), and (unless dispensed) to have reached the calendar year they have their 39th birthday without being past the calendar year they reach their 72d birthday. For seats on conciliar bodies in jurisdictions with fewer than 1,000,000 residents, specialized executive positions in jurisdictions with fewer than 100,000 residents, and general executive positions in jurisdictions with fewer than 50,000 residents, you could stand earlier or later in life, with the precise time a function of the population of the jurisdiction in question (with the ultimate lower bound being the calendar year you turn 25 and the ultimate upper bound the calendar year you turn 86). Such offices are commonly part time and holding them is semi-avocational. For a position as a municipal court judge, we might keep the upper bound around 72 and set the lower bound at the calendar year 7 years after one’s admission to the bar (provided you’ve had an active law license). For a position as a lay JP, we might again keep the upper bound around 72 and set the lower bound as the calendar year one is eligible to run for mayor in your town or the calendar year one reaches one’s 32d birth day, whichever be the higher.

      And yes, rotation-in-office for every elected officials but judges. One is properly debarred from standing for a given office if one has held it for 10 of the last 12 years or will hit that wall during the term to be elected. (If you’d prefer a 3 term limit, make it 14 of the last 16 years).

  14. I’ll support this as long as it also includes… no more than 10 terms as a Representative and no more than 3 terms as a Senator.

    Otherwise, SCOTUS is the last one we need to be looking at to Amend the Constitution to include term limits.

  15. I must admit that JT is completely right in this post. I view the bill more of a political statement then an actual proposal. I don’t like these types of bills but politicians like them. An R just proposed a bill to actively disenfranchise millions of voters and I view that bill in the same way.

  16. JT has no interest with the purposeful failure of GOP senators to “advise and consent” on a Presidentrial appointment tp the SC, but hey, those were Republicans.

    1. bythebook wrote, “JT has no interest with the purposeful failure of GOP senators to “advise and consent” on a Presidential appointment to the SC, but hey, those were Republicans.”

      What the Republicans did in 2016 was wrong in my opinion; however, what those Republicans did was completely within their power in the Senate. That said; doing something that is completely within their power doesn’t mean it’s ethical. The Republicans were wrong in 2016 and the Democrats are wrong in 2020. The Democrats are using a tit-for-tat rationalization or two wrongs make a right to try an justify their actions right now.

      1. Steve, it is correct that the Senate has the right and obligation to advise and consent on presidential nominations, but they don;t have the right to act within the constitution only when it benefits their party, and voters should fully recognize the hypocrisy and crass partisan nature of this act and remember it in the voting booth. They cannot be trusted to be admirable and fair.

        As to the nomination itself, Lincoln held back on nominating a replacement for a SC seat in the fall of 1864 because he thought it too close to the election. This is no longer the Party of Lincoln holding these cards. It’s the Party of NIxon and Roger Stone.

        1. Anonymous wrote, “Steve, it is correct that the Senate has the right and obligation to advise and consent on presidential nominations, but they don’t have the right to act within the constitution only when it benefits their party…”

          Your understanding is just plain false.

          Yes Anonymous they do have the right to act within the Constitution even if they only do so when it benefits their party; that said, just because they can do it doesn’t make it ethical. We need more ethical politicians in Washington DC.

          1. We need more ethical politicians in Washington DC.

            Then you need to focus your attention on those that put them there. Teach civics and ethics to the citizens and maybe, just maybe it will translate to a better character in government.

          2. It’s illegal for people to lie in their testimony before Congress, regardless of whether they’re under oath. I’d like that law to be modified to apply to members of Congress when they’re speaking in Congress or otherwise carrying out their work (e.g., in producing committee reports). Too often, they lie with impunity, one of the ways they demonstrate their lack of ethics.

              1. They have ethics, just not the ethics you like. Get some cultural diversity and tolerance into your thinking. All things are relative, etc

                1. Do you think lying is ethical, Kurtz?

                  Or do you agree with me that it’s unethical for members of Congress to lie when they make statements in a hearing or in an official report?

                  1. I hear lies around me every day. Most are in the form of subtle contextual framing and patently false premises embedded as “givens”
                    See, I listen to NPR a lot

                    that reminds me …. i heard a new one today… the lady said that some people “hate-read” anti-Democrat “disinformation”

                    Hate-read, now that’s a new one. Could have come from 1984, the book, instead it came in 2020, year of the rat

        2. Apparently you have failed to notice that both the Democratic and Republican Parties are coming apart at the seems.

          The Republicans have the establishment elite “Never Trumper” neocon war mongers, and the Democrats are rapidly becoming Socialist/Marxists who condone lawlessness and violence, with a bizarre combination of establishment elitist neoliberal warmongers.

          Both the neocons and neolibs are apoplectic about Trump’s Populist refusal to continue engaging in empire building and endless wars to feed into the MIC.

          Which is why the entire Russian Snipe hunt was concocted in the hope of either removing him from office, or at the very least acting as a drogue anchor to keep him from being fully able to focus on his agenda.

          At any rate, both Parties are dying the slow and inevitable death as a result of what Washington accurately foresaw over 200 years ago.

          “However political parties may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

          – George Washington

          I look forward to pissing on both of their graves.

          1. It seems you’re right on the Republicans coming apart, Rhodesy. Doesn’t seem the Dems are coming apart in a similar way, in fact, a strong case could be made Biden is putting together, however temporary, of one of the most broad coalitions ever. The never trumpers are in his camp, Bernie is doing much more on the endorsement front than he did for HRC, And Trump began to lose independents the nano second he took office. I think we’re looking at a blowout that only the most corrupt act in the history of American electoral politics can turn around for the Repubs. Main question is if Dems take the Senate as well.

        3. Lincoln suspended writ of habeas corpus, and sent in marshals with sledgehammers to smash the printing presses of those who opposed him.

          Yes, Republicans are not quite at Lincoln’s level. but it may yet come

          Nixon lacked Lincoln’s nerve. Nixon was a great president but thankfully Trump has more brass.

          Neither one approaches Lincoln’s audacity, to send 360,000 yankee Americans to die killing t260,000 Southern Americans achieve his aims.

          oh wait historians have been underestimating it. Lincoln was even more willing to spill blood than we thought

          https://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/science/civil-war-toll-up-by-20-percent-in-new-estimate.html#:~:text=New%20Estimate%20Raises%20Civil%20War%20Death%20Toll,-A%20lithograph%20of&text=For%20110%20years%2C%20the%20numbers,numbers%20were%20far%20too%20low.

          of course if the rich Yankee industrialists were willing to pay for manumission, they could have introduced a bill to provide just compensation the Southern slaveholders, which would have fit with the Fifth amendment takings provision. But they were too cheap. Easier to spend the blood of the average yankee man instead.,

        1. ziegler von strahn wrote, “Ethics? Nothing in the 30 years I have watched our Congress leads me to believe they even know the word much less the meaning and conduct associated with it.”

          They sure know the meaning of unethical politicking because they show us how it’s done year after year. The interesting thing is with the checks and balances we have in our system of government the United States can still come out on top regardless of the unethical politicking that politicians do in Washington DC. The Constitution, the rules, and the checks and balances make it all work for the people in the end.

      2. What the Republicans did in 2016 was wrong in my opinion;

        They’re under no obligation to pay the president any mind. This has been explained to Gainsville multiple times and he’s never cited a constitutional provision in support of his argument. Merrick Garland was treated courteously, something no Republican nominees has been in 30 years.

      3. What the Republicans did in 2016 was neither wrong nor unethical. Obama was and is an arrogant horse’s ass and nominated someone who for whatever reason was unacceptable as a Supreme Court justice to the Senate majority. Obama did not nominate Garland after seeking or obtaining the “advice” of the Senate. Nope, he picked Garland unilaterally, with no consultation with Senate Republicans, and tried to jam Garland down the nation’s throat. When it was made clear to Obama that Garland was an unacceptable choice, did Obama seek the “advice” of the Senate Republicans about perhaps choosing a more palatable, more conservative “compromise” choice. Nope. Ass-face Obama dug in his heels and made it a power struggle with McConnell, and it sat for nine months. That was ALL Obama’s own doing. Read the damn Constitution. It requires the President to listen to the “advice” of the Senate, which Obama refused to do. There was no obligation at all upon the Senate Republicans to even consider giving its “consent” when Obama had never first sought its “advice”, per the Constitution. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. But nothing “wrong” and nothing “unethical” on the part of McConnell or Senate Republicans. They followed their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution. Obama didn’t. End of story.

        1. The way Obama approached the matter was customary and not in conflict with any constitutional provision. The reaction of the Senate was a legitimate exercise of its prerogatives.

          McConnell and others came up with humbug about ‘blah blah blah in an election year’. The shouldn’t do that. Jonah Goldberg offered some time ago that his social contacts with members of Congress had been such that he thought the best analogy for House members would be the doomed salesmen in Glengarry Glen Ross – needy men always working an angle. Per Goldberg, the best analogy for Senators would be robots madly calculating as you meet them what you can do to benefit them. Members of Congress are not like you and mee.

    2. PS Unlike this back bench move in the House, which will go nowhere, we saw the entire Senate GOP failure to fulfill their constitutional duties which resulted in the theft of a SC seat from a twice elected President (and unheard of since 2000, winner of the popular vote and therefore truly the voice of the people). That means it was a theft from the majority of American voters. The result, along with currently 4 of the SC justices having been nominated by men who were not the voice of the people, is a court which over represents a now desperate minority viewpoint on diverse major issues like gun control, campaign financing, health care, immigration, and abortion. JT doesn’t care about this or about the even larger issue of public confidence in the court, about to be assaulted again while he busily constructs the apologies for the first wave. Hey, maybe he’ll get invited to be on Fox News – who remains blameless in his multiple and regular nit-picking columns on CNN and MSNBC – or as another GOP invite to be the minority view on a congressional committee hearing, or if he’s lucky another midnight cal for advice from AG Barr.. It apparently doesn’t take much.

      1. we saw the entire Senate GOP failure to fulfill their constitutional duties which resulted in the theft of a SC seat from a twice elected President

        The seat wasn’t his property.

        You never tire of being a fraud and a crybaby on this issue.

        1. The seat was the property of the majority of Americans who voted Obama into the Presidency with clear majorities – twice. That’s how representative democracy works

          1. That’s how representative democracy works

            No it isn’t. Civics 101: The people’s voice in our federal government is through the election of their member to the House. Prior to the 17th amendment, the state’s voice was the state legislatures nominating representation to the Senate. After the 17th, Senators are elected by a majority vote of the people in the state. Obama was not denied his constitutional power to nominate Garland. The Senate exercised their constitutional authority of advise and consent. If the people wanted a different Senate, then that would have been reflected in the 2016 election. The Senate remained under the control of the Republicans and the rest is history. Those are the facts. Remember the words of Obama: Elections have consequences.

            1. Turley would do the blog a favor if he posted a summary of civics 101. Instead I see you are doing just that for btb, one response at a time.

              Olly, I think btb gets lost in the words “representative” as in representative democracy and “republic” as in Constitutional Republic. Those mistakes are followed by his misunderstanding of the word “democracy”. You do a good job explaining these things. He should pay you as a private tutor.

              1. Thanks Allan. The thing is, I don’t believe he needs a technical lesson in US civics. The problem is his ideology is in conflict with the technicalities of US civics. He and others that share his ideology want outcomes our system isn’t designed to support and for a very good reason. This is why controlling who sits on the Courts is so important. They are the last line of defense to check an ideology that would make any security of rights subject to mob rule.

            2. To that end, I’m fascinated by the scenario of the Senate and House going Dem while Trump is able to fix his race enough to win (although consider it unlikely as I think we’re looking at all 3 branches going dem this time around). This sets up certain impeachment and removal within weeks of inauguration. The only thing to be determined will be how many charges included in this round of impeachment…, negligence on Covid, Trump’s personal profiteering, Trump’s conduct on the border, actual witnesses being called in trump’s various schemes of dragging in foreign help in his reelection, just to name a few directions. With a dem Senate it assures removal.

              In some ways, the country deserves to be able to remove Trump in this national catharsis. It’s actually not fair he even gets to run again on equal footing as a challenger. Any challenger.

              1. Well, the system doesn’t have a check on the fascinations and imaginations of voters. If they desire to elect like-minded candidates to office in sufficient numbers to do just that, then that’s what we’ll get. The DoI is explicit in the self-evident truths about how this process flows. As the list of grievances reflects, the people will tolerate an enormous loss of rights before they’ll rise up and fight to restore those rights. It’s not if ever, but whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,. So yes, be as fascinated as you will. Prevail as you might. But never presume the American people won’t eventually realize they are not fascinated by the loss of rights and freedoms and imagine a return of the republic they abandoned.

      2. bythebook wrote, “we saw the entire Senate GOP failure to fulfill their constitutional duties which resulted in the theft of a SC seat from a twice elected President…”

        See this is where partisan trolls get it wrong every time. The Senate has an obligation to advise and consent on presidential Supreme Court nominations and by not giving President Obama’s nominee a hearing they did not give their consent. What was done falls within the Constitution and the rules, we don’t have to like it.

        Using the word “theft” is transparent partisan BS, there was nothing stolen. President Obama met his constitutional obligation to nominate a Supreme Court justice and the Senate fulfilled their constitutional obligation and did not give their consent. Politically, it really is just that simple; ethically the Senate should have had a hearing back in 2016.

        Your popular vote argument, all of it, is absolute BS. We have an election process that’s been in place for over 200 years and it’s not going to change. It seems that anytime the Democrats don’t get their way it’s always the system that’s wrong. These popular vote arguments are the equivalent to the ignorant arguments spewed out by immature 7th and 8th graders.

        1. Steve, the constitution does not give the Senate the right to ignore it. The Senate did not “not consent” – that would require a vote and probably hearings. THEY DID NOTHING.

          The winner take all model, which all but 2 states follow, is not in the constitution and was not the original form, though states quickly adapted it as it maximized each states impact, that is before they all did it, Now it just makes the votes of the losers within a state unheard and resulted in 12 of the last 20 years of our history under the presidency of someone the voters rejected. – and a court soon to have 5 of it’s justices appointed by the loser in 3 of the last 5 elections. Of course that is an important fact and is how we have a conservative court where the conservatives lost 6 of the last 7 presidential votes. They express the opposite of the will of the people, and then compounded by the THEFT of one seat.

          1. By the Book wrote, “the constitution does not give the Senate the right to ignore it. “

            That BtB is a matter of opinion. The Senate ignores all kind of things, see below.

            By the Book wrote, “The Senate did not “not consent” – that would require a vote and probably hearings. THEY DID NOTHING.”

            That, in political terms of the Senate, is the equivalent to “not consent” or “we don’t approve”, etc. This kind of thing is done all the time in the Senate when they don’t bring House of Representative bills to the floor or discuss in committee – they just ignore the bills. They did nothing wrong Constitutionally, they did not break any Senate rules and they did nothing illegal.

            Again; we don’t have to like what they did, I personally think it was unethical and transparently partisan for the Senate to ignore President Obama’s nominee in 2016, but what they did was not unconstitutional, didn’t break any rules and was not illegal. Plus, the Supreme Court and the United States government didn’t crumble because the GOP Senate didn’t give President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee a fair hearing, that’s a consequentialism rationalization but it’s true and completely fair to bring up since the Democrats are saying that everything President Trump does is destroying Democracy in the USA – it’s BS partisan propaganda.

            Supreme Court nominations have become far, far too partisan for my taste.

            1. Steve, don’t confuse McConnell choosing to ignore something with the Senate choosing to ignore it. McConnell is not the Senate. He was not chosen by the Senate as a whole, only by the Senate Republicans. He, personally, chooses to ignore a lot of things that the Senate would not choose to ignore if the choice were for the Senate to make rather than for the Majority Leader to make.

      3. Btb continues to consider the Constitution as disposable as toilet paper and still refuses to accept the results of the 2016 election, but he will continue to yell and holler trying to force what he desires onto others.

  17. We’re seeing that the Constitution, pesky little document that it is, is an impediment to the goals of the Democratic Party. They seem to think that if the Democratic Party can’t do what they want, then it’s the Constitution and/or laws that are at fault.

    1. Steve, we haven’t seen the actual text of the bill. Don’t you think you should wait to see what it says before passing judgment?

      Why do you trust Turley’s description when he hasn’t seen the bill, isn’t accurately reporting what Reuters said about it, and is known to omit relevant info when it serves him?

      1. CommitToHonestDiscussion wrote, “Steve, we haven’t seen the actual text of the bill. Don’t you think you should wait to see what it says before passing judgment? Why do you trust Turley’s description when he hasn’t seen the bill, isn’t accurately reporting what Reuters said about it, and is known to omit relevant info when it serves him?”

        Your point would be relevant if my comment had only been addressing what Truley presented in this blog post. My comment is addressing an observed pattern that was revealed in late 2016 that the Democrats don’t seem to respect the United States Constitution. It started with their attacks on the Electoral College after the 2016 election and continued with plan after plan to oust President Trump including their transparently partisan abuse of the Constitution to impeach President Trump. The Democrats are trying, and failing, to bend and twist the Constitution to fit their desired outcome. The Constitution appears to be a meaningless quaint platitude to prominent Democrats that don’t get their way, their like a cult of toddlers throwing fits and the Constitution is stopping them from getting their way.

        1. I don’t know what “attacks on the Electoral College” you’re referring to (you don’t say, much less do you explain what’s unconstitutional), and impeachment is entirely constitutional — the Founders explicitly included it in the Constitution.

          “The Constitution appears to be a meaningless quaint platitude to prominent Democrats that don’t get their way”

          Bullsh*t.

          1. “Bullsh*t”

            Says the spoiled toddler throwing fits because she didn’t get her Hillary participation trophy, and now the Constitution is stopping her from getting her way.

            Meanwhile, you are the archetype of the type of person Malcolm X was referring to when he said:

            “The white liberal is the worst enemy to America, and the worst enemy to the black man.”

            https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/8869214-the-white-liberal-is-the-worst-enemy-to-america-and

            You and your ilk, have done, and continue to do, far more damage to black American citizens than the KKK could have ever dreamed of doing, 60 years ago.

                  1. Thank you Anonymous the Stupid but you provide me vitamin S obtained when in close contact with Stupid people. You see? You have a use. Now you can go back to the rat latrine.

                  2. Agreed. Get some perspective, Al bud. Create some distance so you won’t be as crushed when Trump loses. Turley’s getting paid for being a surrogate…, you’re not. Go develop some self respect or something. No doubt after stepping away you won’t hold this mythical rat latrine in such high regard. IOW you won’t have to hang out there like you’re selling crack. Or ass.

                    It’ll be a be a positive step.

                    1. Bug, I won’t be crushed one way or the other though I will feel bad for the generations that are younger. Financially I will probably do a lot better under the Biden administration. Trump radically increased my taxes but I actually thought those increases were fair.

                    2. Agreed, my taxes went up under Trump. So did my health insurance. Started off at 10% jump per year. Went up 25% last year. However I’d say the only prayer the younger generation actually has comes with a resounding trump loss. Trump’s non-approach to the issue of climate change is catastrophic for the younger generation, just on that one issue alone. The smoldering wreckage he’ll leave of the economy will make their lives incredibly more tough than if he never inhabited the office. Not a more dangerous president in modern history. I hope when he realizes the writing is on the wall he doesn’t release a nuclear warhead on someone in a childish tantrum.

                    3. Bug, how did your taxes go up unless you are in a state where one’s high real estate taxes went up because the taxes were subsidized by people not living as well. Did your real estate taxes go above the $10,000 maximum.

                      I wonder what happened to your health insurance. Did your subsidy stop? Did you change carriers? Most people that weren’t subsidized under ObamaCare and worked were nearly destroyed by ObamaCare premiums so that tells me you likely aren’t telling the truth.

    2. The Democrat party is willing to twist and turn the Constitution to maintain or gain power. Of course they are! They play to win. When they talk about winning all three branches, i want folks to understand. If they get that level of win, you can kiss all constitutional restraints on them goodbye.

      The question is do Republicans have their thinking caps on about how they can do the same .Because the Constitution itself is a “political” document in its very essence, it is not holy writ. And subordinating the exigent circumstances of today to the “principles” of 200 some years ago is every bit as foolish as Democrats privately believe it to be. Yes, they are cynical liars who invoke it when it suits their needs and ignore it when it does not. Yes! Show me a successful national leader in the past 4 thousand years who was not a liar! This is the biggest lie of all– when people are taught that governing does not of its basic necessity, require a complex structure of elaborate lies. This is a Santa-Claus level pipe dream for children. Citizens who presume to act in a political manner need to wake up from the fairy tale and embrace reality.

      That is not to say that lies are ok; nor that dishonesty is laudable. Of course we want good people to be leaders. If because they have this great power, the power of the lie, to say nothing of that other great power of government, the power of force and death. But what makes a “good” leader is precisely the mysterious problem of politics that can never be entirely resolved, except in the actual practice of it as it unfolds in existence. Go back and read the Republic, and we can see, the fundamental questions there which were not fully answered, remain unanswered today– perhaps because they are fundamentally indefinable!

      There is a counterpoint to the discussion of justice in the Republic that I am always reminded of, The Trial of Jesus. Jesus’ words are cryptic. Pilate’s are not. Pilate has a quandry. Pilate sums it all up: Quid est veritas? a question echoing across the ages

      My point is, Republicans will at some time, soon perhaps, need to be equally ruthless. Not often, nor for small things. Perhaps not today nor any time soon. But, when necessity points the way, there will come a moment, to do what works and dispense with loyalty to Madisonian so-called principles and adherence to the empty bromides of long ago.

      See, I realize my Republican friends don’t like this sort of talk, but, what we are in now is a crucible heating up every day. We must let it burn away the impurities and weakness and emerge a stronger and more flexible alloy.

      Remember this: gains are usually incremental. The strong get stronger by getting a little bit more so every day. You will not get stronger by making your tools weaker. That is the thinking of a Luddite.

      There are immense opportunities unfolding before us. We need the imagination to be able to see what they are. This requires freeing the imagination from the hidebound habits of thinking about the very essence of politics and then seeing in a new light, how it was in 1789 encoded in the US constitutional order itself.

      Emerson said in his essay Self Reliance, the following quote, usually shortened and meaning lost:

      “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

      1. Love that quote, Kurtz. Although I’d say the Dems have actually had to study the Repubs for how they’ve been able to manipulate the system without having majority public opinion.

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