Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz tangled with “The Kelly File” host Megyn Kelly Tuesday, defending his proposal to give American voters the power to remove Supreme Court justices through the ballot box.
Kelly challenged the Texas senator’s plan, saying his plan to “rewrite the Constitution” would result in a court that was even more political than it is now.
Justices are now appointed by the president with the confirmation by the Senate. Barring impeachment, they hold lifetime terms. And since only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached (Samuel Chase was acquitted by the Senate in 1805 and remained on the court), they serve in effect until they die or choose to retire.
Cruz, who has been vocal in his outrage over the court’s decisions last week upholding Obamacare and making gay marriage a constitutional right, argued that a amending the Constitution to allowing citizens to vote on retaining judges is the only way to keep the court in check.
Kelly countered that could actually have the opposite effect.
“How would an electorate that twice elected Barack Obama create a court that you like better?” she asked.
Cruz explained that voters would not be electing judges — who would still be appointed by the president. But they would have the power to dismiss judges every eight years.
His answer did not satisfy Kelly, who asked about the possibility that constitutional conservatives – such as Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas – could be kicked off the bench under such a process.
“I can tell you that 20 states have put in judicial retention elections, and they have worked,” Cruz said.
Despite the potential risks associated with his proposal, Cruz said, something must be done to scale back the power of the “nine elite lawyers in Washington D.C.”
“You want to rewrite the Constitution in response to a couple of decisions you don’t like?” Kelly asked.
Why not? It’s not the liberals on the court pay much attention to it anyway.