Ten Years Late, America Is Completely On Board with Mark Levin's Proposal for Supreme Court Term Limits
It's okay to have no patience for the hero-centric model of political interest -- wherein we fall in line with a leader's opinions like a flag to rally around, neglecting that the conservative movement is about ideas, logic, and never about personality -- while believing that Mark Levin's decade of getting it right on the Supreme Court deserves some recognition.
Plenty of conservatives -- and conservatism itself, via the above point -- correctly predicted every negative occurrence of the past decade's adventures in progressivism. But I'm not sure anyone else can claim to have been completely on the mark about the Court's progression, as Levin was with his 2005 book Men in Black.
His recognition of the necessity of term limits was in Men in Black; I thought he first broached it in his 2012 The Liberty Amendments. But I did a quick search after seeing this article -- currently up on Drudge -- from Reuters, and there it was.
Here's the Reuters piece:
Americans favor Supreme Court term limits: Reuters/Ipsos poll
Most Americans would support imposing a term limit on the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, who now serve for life, a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll has found in the aftermath of major rulings by the court on Obamacare and gay marriage.
Support for the 10-year term limit proposed by the poll was bipartisan, with 66 percent saying they favored such a change while 17 percent supported life tenure.
The two big rulings in June were widely welcomed by liberals. Nevertheless, 66 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of independents said they favored the 10-year term limit idea, according to the poll.
Those numbers are startlingly large. I can't imagine many political opinion questions that would provide such a two-thirds mandate. I think a "Deport Bieber?" poll got us there last year.
Levin talked to NRO editor Kathryn Lopez earlier this week about the book, the state of the courts, and what he recommends to better the situation (some of them controversial on both the Left and Right).
National Review Online: You use the word “tyranny” to describe the state of the courts today. Isn’t that a tad overly dramatic?
Mark R. Levin: When judges or, my book’s focus -- Supreme Court justices -- act without authority, and do so with impunity, that’s tyranny. When justices seize authority from the other branches of the federal government, as well as state and local governments, under the rubric of judicial review, that’s tyranny. When justices veto legislative acts based on personal policy preferences, that’s tyranny. Today, no less than five Supreme Court justices are on record, either through their opinions or speeches (or both), that they will consult foreign law and foreign-court rulings for guidance in certain circumstances. Of course, policymakers are free to consult whatever they want, but not justices. They’re limited to the Constitution and the law. This behavior frustrates and disenfranchises the American people and thwarts representative government. I have no doubt the Framers would view the Court’s behavior in this regard as tyrannical. If we’re going to address the problem, we should have the courage to call it what it is.
Note: in 2005, referring to the Court as "tyranny" struck NRO as perhaps "dramatic." Few conservatives would judge it as such today -- and few besides Levin called it "tyranny" in 2005.
The interview continues:
NRO: You would amend the constitution to insert term limits. What do you say to a) people who say that’s too radical b) folks who argue “don’t bother” because amendments are too hard to get through.
Levin: Actually, I would like the Constitution to be amended in two ways: 1. term limits for justices and judges; and 2. authorizing Congress to veto Supreme Court decisions with a super-majority (two-thirds) vote of both houses. I actually believe the second systemic change is more important than the first.
I support term limits for two basic reasons. First, if justices and judges are going to behave like politicians, legislating at will, they should not serve for life. Moreover, especially as applies to Supreme Court justices, too many have served well beyond their ability to perform their duties.
I'm impressed. Meanwhile, the apparatus for creating a justice term limit amendment would be an Article V convention, another Levin project which more than a few conservatives consider a tad "dramatic." Let's hope it's not another ten years gone before that opinion shifts as well.