Friday, December 10, 2004

Limiting the tenure of Federal judges

Federal judges receive lifetime appointments to the bench. The rationale behind this is that once they are confirmed they will be no longer beholden to political influence, since they don't have to worry about impressing either their appointors or the electorate.

The down side to lifetime tenure is that it's damn near impossible to get rid of a bad judge. The sole remedy for doing so is impeachment. When was the last time you heard of a Federal judge getting impeached? I thought so.

Also, because judges naturally want to be replaced with someone ideologically similar when they retire, they often stay on the job longer than they should, hoping for a president who shares their political philosophy to be elected and who can then appoint a successor.

So, this morning on Findlaw, I read with interest the article "Life Tenure for Federal Judges: Should It Be Abolished?," by Edward Lazarus. He discussed this issue in more detail than I have here, and proposes a Constitutional amendment to replace lifetime appointments with terms lasting 18 years, which cannot be renewed. If you have the slightest interest in this, check it out.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Geoff Timm here.

I disagree of course. Federal judges should be elected by the people in the regions under domination, for a four year term with a one term limit. Lawyers should be ineligible for the office. The rise of lawyers to domination in this country must be stopped.

Geoff Timm
Who remembers the two bright young shyster scum in Ohio who started an ACLU suit, because a cross and a book appeared on the city seal of a small town. The area was less than 15% of the whole seal. The insurance company settled for $14 K to the scum and all costs. Lawyers are nothing but a bunch of criminals and extortionists. If a person isn't paying extortion money to one shyster, he's paying protection money to another. (Enough controversy for ya David?)

Karl Maher said...

Lots of discussion and info on this topic at Vote for Judges.