by Nicole Flatow
Republican candidates are making the courts a campaign issue, launching “biting and sustained attacks on the federal courts and the role they play in American life,” The New York Times reports in a front-page story today.
"Any one of those proposals would significantly undercut the independence and authority of federal judges,” echoes a second article from The Associated Press.
Proposals from candidates include eliminating those courts that politicians deem “radical,” barring courts from deciding cases on same-sex marriage, and bringing judges before Congress to explain their decisions, under threat of impeachment.
“These threats go far beyond normal campaign season posturing,” Justice at Stake Executive Director Bert Brandenburg told The Times. “They sound populist, but the proposal is to make courts answer to politicians and interest groups.”
What’s more, several of these proposals run counter to our constitutional system, such as imposing term limits on federal judges, and enabling Congress to overturn Supreme Court decisions by a two-thirds vote.
"Debates like these could threaten to lead to a new cycle of attempts to politicize the courts,” Brandenburg tells The Associated Press.