CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE SAYS THE SUPREME COURT.
Artificial entities that are created by state statute, and that are treated much like individuals under the law, having legally enforceable rights, the ability to acquire debt and to pay out profits, the ability to hold and transfer property, the ability to enter into contracts, the requirement to pay taxes, and the ability to sue and be sued.
The rights and responsibilities of a corporation are independent and distinct from the people who own or invest in them. A corporation simply provides a way for individuals to run a business and to share in profits and losses.
People Behind a Corporation: Rights and Responsibilities
Corporations are artificial entities with people behind them----and these people have rights and are accountable to law-----NOT THE CORPORATION FOR GOODNESS SAKE. The corporation can have people who are jailed for fraud or it can lose its wealth by going to bankruptcy----the wealth is shareholder wealth.
Those who follow my Facebook know I explain often that the founding fathers wrote the US Constitution after a Revolutionary War that freed America from Aristocracy and the global corporation East India Company. The Constitution states WE THE PEOPLE, BILL OF RIGHTS, AND CITIZENS WILL WRITE THE LAWS just because they wanted to keep the rich and corporations from gaining control of America's government. The Supreme Court is allowed to 'INTERPRET' the Constitution but they cannot re-write the Constitution and that is what Chief Justice Roberts did when he allowed CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE ruling to win. This was impeachable and the first thing our elected pols would do is shout for impeachment. This would have forced Roberts and the Court to back away from this corporate attack to the Constitution. Instead, because Congress is full of neo-liberals and neo-cons----Congress was silent because they work for those global corporations. Instead of shouting and educating the American people, both Republican and Democrat that this was illegal and to demand justice------neo-liberals are pushing AMEND THE CONSTITUTION and you know what they will have to COMPROMISE in the process? All of the changes needed to make Trans Pacific Trade Pact legal.
THAT IS WHAT AMEND THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO NEO-LIBERALS AND NEO-CONS IN CONGRESS AND STATE HOUSES.
You will see this headline all over the internet-----TPP is a global corporate COUP. Is it a coincidence that Amend the Constitution happens at the very time TPP pushers need to amend the constitutions worldwide to adopt TPP? IT IS NOT A COINCIDENCE AND YOUR NEO-LIBERALS AND NEO-CONS KNOW THIS!
The TPP Isn't Really A Trade Agreement. It's An International Corporate Coup.
By Susie Madrak July 3, 2012 2:00 pm -
This doesn't say that the citizens joining this movement support TPP =====most do not even know the real intent. They think they are really seeking to amend the constitution against global corporate control of the government. Neo-liberals and neo-cons actually have the opposite in mind. Keep in mind that both Republican and Democratic voters hate corporate rule so both parties are being taken by this AMENDMENT MOVEMENT.
JUST READ TPP AND THINK TO YOURSELF-----ALL OF THIS DEREGULATION AND SUSPENSION OF RULE OF LAW AND PUBLIC JUSTICE----CORPORATIONS MERGING AND GETTING EVER RICHER----
they simply need to Amend the Constitution to make their control law of the land!
What We Can Learn from America’s First Tea Party About Countering Corporate Power Before there was Citizens United, a modern Tea Party movement, or national momentum to ban corporate personhood, this 2003 article from the YES! archives showed that resistance to corporate power is just as patriotic as Boston’s original Tea Party. Document Actions
by Thom Hartmann posted Jul 04, 2013 Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library.
On a cold November day, activists gathered in a coastal town. The corporation had gone too far, and the two thousand people who'd jammed into the meeting hall were torn as to what to do about it. Unemployment was exploding and the economic crisis was deepening; corporate crime, governmental corruption spawned by corporate cash, and an ethos of greed were blamed. “Why do we wait?” demanded one at the meeting, a fisherman named George Hewes. “The more we delay, the more strength is acquired” by the company and its puppets in the government. “Now is the time to prove our courage,” he said. Soon, the moment came when the crowd decided for direct action and rushed into the streets.
That is how I tell the story of the Boston Tea Party, now that I have read a first-person account of it. While striving to understand my nation's struggles against corporations, I came upon a first edition of Retrospect of the Boston Tea Party with a Memoir of George R.T. Hewes, a Survivor of the Little Band of Patriots Who Drowned the Tea in Boston Harbor in 1773, and I jumped at the chance to buy it. Because the identities of the Boston Tea Party participants were hidden (other than Samuel Adams) and all were sworn to secrecy for the next 50 years, this account (published 61 years later) is the only first-person account of the event by a participant that exists, so far as I can find. As I read, I began to understand the true causes of the American Revolution.
I learned that the Boston Tea Party resembled in many ways the growing modern-day protests against transnational corporations and small-town efforts to protect themselves from chain-store retailers or factory farms. The Tea Party's participants thought of themselves as protesters against the actions of the multinational East India Company.
Although schoolchildren are usually taught that the American Revolution was a rebellion against “taxation without representation,” akin to modern day conservative taxpayer revolts, in fact what led to the revolution was rage against a transnational corporation that, by the 1760s, dominated trade from China to India to the Caribbean, and controlled nearly all commerce to and from North America, with subsidies and special dispensation from the British crown.
Hewes notes: “The [East India] Company received permission to transport tea, free of all duty, from Great Britain to America…” allowing it to wipe out New England–based tea wholesalers and mom-and-pop stores and take over the tea business in all of America. “Hence,” he told his biographer, “it was no longer the small vessels of private merchants, who went to vend tea for their own account in the ports of the colonies, but, on the contrary, ships of an enormous burthen, that transported immense quantities of this commodity ... The colonies were now arrived at the decisive moment when they must cast the dye, and determine their course ... ”
A pamphlet was circulated through the colonies called The Alarm and signed by an enigmatic “Rusticus.” One issue made clear the feelings of colonial Americans about England's largest transnational corporation and its behavior around the world:“Their Conduct in Asia, for some Years past, has given simple Proof, how little they regard the Laws of Nations, the Rights, Liberties, or Lives of Men. They have levied War, excited Rebellions, dethroned lawful Princes, and sacrificed Millions for the Sake of Gain. The Revenues of Mighty Kingdoms have entered their Coffers. And these not being sufficient to glut their Avarice, they have, by the most unparalleled Barbarities, Extortions, and Monopolies, stripped the miserable Inhabitants of their Property, and reduced whole Provinces to Indigence and Ruin. Fifteen hundred Thousands, it is said, perished by Famine in one Year, not because the Earth denied its Fruits; but [because] this Company and their Servants engulfed all the Necessaries of Life, and set them at so high a Rate that the poor could not purchase them.”
After protesters had turned back the Company's ships in Philadelphia and New York, Hewes writes, “In Boston the general voice declared the time was come to face the storm.”
The citizens of the colonies were preparing to throw off one of the corporations that for almost 200 years had determined nearly every aspect of their lives through its economic and political power. They were planning to destroy the goods of the world's largest multinational corporation, intimidate its employees, and face down the guns of the government that supported it.
The Queen's Corporation The East India Company's influence had always been pervasive in the colonies. Indeed, it was not the Puritans but the East India Company that founded America. The Puritans traveled to America on ships owned by the East India Company, which had already established the first colony in North America, at Jamestown, in the Company-owned Commonwealth of Virginia, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi. The commonwealth was named after the “Virgin Queen,” Elizabeth, who had chartered the corporation.
Elizabeth was trying to make England a player in the new global trade sparked by the European “discovery” of the Americas. The wealth Spain began extracting from the New World caught the attention of the European powers. In many European countries, particularly Holland and France, consortiums were put together to finance ships to sail the seas. In 1580, Queen Elizabeth became the largest shareholder in The Golden Hind, a ship owned by Sir Francis Drake.
The investment worked out well for Queen Elizabeth. There's no record of exactly how much she made when Drake paid her share of the Hind's dividends to her, but it was undoubtedly vast, since Drake himself and the other minor shareholders all received a 5000 percent return on their investment. Plus, because the queen placed a maximum loss to the initial investors of their investment amount only, it was a low-risk investment (for the investors at least—creditors, such as suppliers of provisions for the voyages or wood for the ships, or employees, for example, would be left unpaid if the venture failed, just as in a modern-day corporation). She was endorsing an investment model that led to the modern limited-liability corporation.
After making a fortune on Drake's expeditions, Elizabeth started looking for a more permanent arrangement. She authorized a group of 218 London merchants and noblemen to form a corporation. The East India Company was born on December 31, 1600.
By the 1760s, the East India Company's power had grown massive and worldwide. However, this rapid expansion, trying to keep ahead of the Dutch trading companies, was a mixed blessing, as the company went deep in debt to support its growth, and by 1770 found itself nearly bankrupt.
The company turned to a strategy that multinational corporations follow to this day: They lobbied for laws that would make it easy for them to put their small-business competitors out of business.
Most of the members of the British government and royalty (including the king) were stockholders in the East India Company, so it was easy to get laws passed in its interests. Among the Company's biggest and most vexing problems were American colonial entrepreneurs, who ran their own small ships to bring tea and other goods directly into America without routing them through Britain or through the Company. Between 1681 and 1773, a series of laws were passed granting the Company monopoly on tea sold in the American colonies and exempting it from tea taxes. Thus, the Company was able to lower its tea prices to undercut the prices of the local importers and the small tea houses in every town in America. But the colonists were unappreciative of their colonies being used as a profit center for the multinational corporation.
Now, call me suspicious but we have a Congress that everyone knows is filled with neo-liberals and neo-cons all working in corporate interest so----will they really amend the constitution to protect people? THE CONGRESS IS FILLED WITH CORPORATE POLS WHO WORK FOR CORPORATE PROFIT----BOTH REPUBLICANS AND NEO-LIBERALS. Are they really going to Amend the Constitution to protect the citizens?
Is this really the time to move Amend the Constitution when Obama is trying to FAST TRACK TPP?
Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, and Chuck Shumer in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Chris Van Hollen are all neo-liberals folks----they voted with Clinton to pass laws that created global corporations knowing they would become too large to rule. Almost all of the Senate are neo-liberals and neo-cons...... GLOBAL CORPORATIONS ARE THE BABIES OF CONGRESSIONAL NEO-LIBERALS-----they will amend the constitution all right----TOWARDS TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT!
SCOTUS: Corporations Are People, Spending Is Speech
Submitted by davidswanson on Thu, 01/21/2010 - 11:16am
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today on Citizens United vs. FEC.
Live blog: http://www.scotusblog.com
PUBLIC INTEREST GROUPS CONDEMN SUPREME COURT'S RULING ON CORPORATE MONEY IN ELECTIONS, CALL FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO OVERTURN COURT DECISION
"Free Speech Rights Are For People, Not Corporations"
WASHINGTON, DC – A coalition of public interest organizations strongly condemned today's ruling by the US Supreme Court allowing unlimited corporate money in US elections and announced that it is launching a campaign to amend the United States Constitution to overturn the ruling. The groups, Voter Action, Public Citizen, the Center for Corporate Policy, and the American Independent Business Alliance, say the Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC poses a serious and direct threat to democracy. They aim, through their constitutional amendment campaign, to correct the judiciary's creation of corporate rights under the First Amendment over the past three decades. Immediately following the Court's ruling, the groups unveiled a new website – www.freespeechforpeople.org – devoted to this campaign.
"Free speech rights are for people, not corporations," says John Bonifaz, Voter Action's legal director. "In wrongly assigning First Amendment protections to corporations, the Supreme Court has now unleashed a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in US history. This campaign to amend the Constitution will seek to restore the First Amendment to its original purpose."
The public interest groups say that, since the late 1970s, a divided Supreme Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade democratic control and sidestep sound public welfare measures. For the first two centuries of the American republic, the groups argue, corporations did not have First Amendment rights to limit the reach of democratically-enacted regulations.
"The corporate rights movement has reached its extreme conclusion in today's Supreme Court ruling," says Jeffrey Clements, general counsel to www.freespeechforpeople.org and a consultant to Voter Action. "In recent years, corporations have misused the First Amendment to evade and invalidate democratically-enacted reforms, from elections to healthcare, from financial reform to climate change and environmental protection, and more. Today's ruling, reversing longstanding precedent which prohibits corporate expenditures in elections, now requires a constitutional amendment response to protect our democracy."
In support of their new campaign, the groups point to prior amendments to the US Constitution which were enacted to correct egregiously wrong decisions of the US Supreme Court directly impacting the democratic process, including the 15th Amendment prohibiting discrimination in voting based on race and the 19th Amendment, prohibiting discrimination in voting based on gender.
"The Court has invented the idea that corporations have First Amendment rights to influence election outcomes out of whole cloth," says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. "There is surely no originalist interpretation to support this outcome, since the Court created the rights only in recent decades. Nor can the outcome be justified in light of the underlying purpose and spirit of the First Amendment. Corporations are state-created entities, not real people. They do not have expressive interests like humans; and, unlike humans, they are uniquely motivated by a singular focus on their economic bottom line. Corporate spending on elections defeats rather than advances the democratic thrust of the First Amendment."
"With this decision, the Court has abandoned its usual practice of adjudicating non-constitutional claims before constitutional ones, a radical departure that indicates how far the Roberts Court may be willing to go in order to serve the powerful 'business civil liberties' agenda," says Charlie Cray, director of the Center for Corporate Policy. "While the immediate effect is likely to be a surge in corporate cash in election campaigns, this could also signal the beginning of a sustained attack on the rights and ability of everyday people to govern the behavior of corporations, which, if successful, could effectively eviscerate what's left of American democracy."
“American citizens have repeatedly amended the Constitution to defend democracy when the Supreme Court acts in collusion with democracy's enemies, whether they are slavemasters, states imposing poll taxes on voters, or the opponents of woman suffrage,” says Jamin Raskin, professor of constitutional law and the First Amendment at American University’s Washington College of Law. “Today, the Court has enthroned corporations, permitting them not only all kinds of special economic rights but now, amazingly, moving to grant them the same political rights as the people. This is a moment of high danger for democracy so we must act quickly to spell out in the Constitution what the people have always understood: that corporations do not enjoy the political and free speech rights that belong to the people of the United States."
This was written in 2002 so it doesn't address the corporations are people fiasco. It does make clear that when justices and judges fail to protect and serve they can be impeached and this is where we are today.
The only reason WE THE PEOPLE are being completely fleeced and silenced is that we have allowed corporate pols that protect those judges and justices to control Congress and the State House.
Whether it is the judge who allows these ridiculous Wall Street settlements go through or the judge that rules Cindy Walsh's claim of election rigging be dismissed-----OUR THE SUPREME COURT RULING THAT CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE----our elected officials are charged with impeaching. The fact that they are not is what allows these judges to continue. Watch for that Amend the Constitution because if Congress is allowed to do that-----then these rulings will not be illegal.
Impeachment of Federal Judges
David Barton - 09/2002
The Founders' intent for impeachment was to protect the fundamental principle of “the consent of the governed.” The Constitution carries no title but “We the People,” and impeachment removes from office those officials who ignore that standard. (Recall that the Constitution does not guarantee a federal judge his position for life, but only for the duration of “good behavior.” Art. III, Sec. 1)
For this reason impeachment was used whenever judges disregarded public interests, affronted the will of the people, or introduced arbitrary power by seizing the role of policy-maker. Previous generations used this tool far more frequently than today's generation; and because the grounds for impeachment were deliberately kept broad, articles of impeachment have described everything from drunkenness and profanity to judicial high-handedness and bribery as reasons for removal from the bench. (Sixty-one federal judges or Supreme Court Justices have been investigated for impeachment, of whom thirteen have been impeached and seven convicted.)
Today's judiciary, not having experienced any serious threat of impeachment as judges in earlier generations, repeatedly flaunts its contempt for the will of the people. It recently has overturned direct elections in Washington, New York, California, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, etc., simply because it preferred a different outcome. This is not to suggest that the results of all citizen elections are final and infallible, for it is the duty of the Court to protect the Constitution. However, the above elections violated at most the judiciary's ideological leanings rather than any manifest provision of the Constitution (e.g., English as a State's official language, ending government assistance for illegal immigrants, enacting term-limits, prohibiting physician-assisted suicides).
Examples of Judicial Abuses
While most are aware of the 9th Circuit's recent decision that saying “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance threatens our American form of government, there are numerous additional examples, some staggeringly unbelievable. For example, in Jane Doe v. Santa Fe, a federal judge ruled that graduation prayers must not include any mention of “Jesus” or other “specific deities” and that any student offering such a prayer would face immediate arrest and up to six months in jail. The judge threatened “violators” by saying they would wish they “had died as a child” once his court finished with them.
In a Texas county where conservatives narrowly won multiple seats in an election, a federal judge reversed that outcome by arbitrarily throwing out the 800 votes cast by U.S. military personnel, saying they had no right to vote in local elections.
A federal judge in Nashville reviews the verdict of any jury in Tennessee that awards the death penalty. This judge has openly declared his personal opposition to the death penalty and has set aside every jury decision on this issue, despite the Constitution's explicit language to the contrary. The judge even allows nine years to pass, on average, before overturning the jury's sentence, thus disregarding the Constitution's guarantee to a speedy trial.
After citizens in a statewide election voted down a proposed tax-increase in Missouri, a federal judge, in direct violation of Article I of the Constitution, unilaterally set aside the election results and instead decreed that the tax be levied in order to finance his own personal plan for education in the State. Interestingly, this judge's plan (which funded the “Taj Majal” of public education) proved to be a dismal failure - at the continuing economic expense of the entire State.
There are many other examples; today's judiciary is now so arrogant that the Supreme Court's own Justices have described it as “a super board of education for every school district in the nation,” as amateur psychologists on a “psycho-journey,” and as “a national theology board.”
The Supreme Court versus Congress
Even though the Constitution gave the lawmaking powers to the Congress, courts have become the predominant policy making body in the nation. In fact, on public tours of the Supreme Court, one often hears the ridiculous claim that “this is the building from which all the laws in the land emanate.” The Supreme Court, fully believing its own propaganda, regularly strikes down or rewrites the laws of Congress to conform to its own predilections and edicts.
For example, in 1993, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to correct an earlier Supreme Court decision that weakened a long-standing First Amendment protection for religious groups. That Congressional act reinstituted protection declaring that a government entity must not interfere with a religious body unless it had “a compelling state interest” for doing so. When a Catholic church in Boerne, Texas, sought to accommodate its burgeoning membership but was denied a building permit to expand its facilities, the church invoked relief under RFRA, claiming the city had no “compelling state interest” in denying the church expansion. The Court ruled otherwise, striking down Congress' attempt to protect religious bodies from government intrusion. While most decried this decision for weakening the rights of religious bodies, there was a far greater question at stake.
Congress invoked Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution in passing RFRA to protect religious freedoms from further governmental encroachment. Yet even though the Congress had acted on the power explicitly given it in the Constitution, the Court struck down the law, refusing to be corrected by Congress and warning that Congress should not attempt to correct a Court ruling. Significantly, Congress cited the Constitution as its authority for passing RFRA, but the Court did not cite the Constitution as its authority for striking RFRA down. The Court instead pointed to its own previous decisions, thus elevating its rulings higher than the Constitution itself. As it explained, “Any suggestion that Congress has a substantive, non-remedial power under the Fourteenth Amendment is not supported by our case law.” The Court then rebuked Congress, warning that its judicial edicts must be treated “with the respect due them.” In short, we the Court demand that you the Congress adhere to our opinions regardless of what the Constitution says.
Obviously, the Supreme Court considers both itself and its decisions supreme over Congress. However, the Constitution disagrees - it deliberately empowers Congress with greater power. For example, the Constitution gives Congress the authority to set the salaries for judges, determine the size of the Judiciary, establish the scope of the Judiciary's jurisdiction and the types of cases which come before it. Furthermore, judges cannot serve without the approval of Congress, and Congress may remove judges with whom it is dissatisfied. These are just some of the “constitutional arms” for Congress' “powers of self-defense” (Federalist 73, Alexander Hamilton).
The Constitution clearly places many of the operations of the Judiciary under the oversight of Congress - a power not granted reciprocally to the Judiciary. This is made clear in the Federalist Papers (described by James Madison as “the most authentic exposition of the heart of the federal Constitution”), which confirm that subjugating the Judiciary to Congress was deliberate and intentional. Federalist #51 declares:
The legislative authority necessarily predominates.
Federalist #78 then proclaims:
The Judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power.
Furthermore, Federalist #49 declares that Congress - not the Court - is “the confidential guardians of [the people's] rights and liberties.” Why? Because the Legislature - not the unelected judiciary - is closest to the people and most responsive to them. In fact, the Court's own history proves that it is not a proficient guardian of the people's rights. For example, after the Civil War, Congress passed civil rights laws forbidding segregation, but the Court struck down these laws and instead instituted “separate but equal” in Plessey v. Ferguson. (While the Court eventually ended this racial segregation in Brown v. Board of Education, that decision was merely the Court's reversal of its own segregation standard previously established in Plessey.)
Moreover, had it been up to the Court, slavery would have never ended: in 1857, the Court declared it unconstitutional for the other branches to end slavery or to free slaves. Fortunately, Congress ignored that decision by declaring freedom for slaves in 1862 and President Lincoln also ignored that decision by issuing the “Emancipation Proclamation” in 1863. All substantive progress in civil rights after the Civil War was accomplished only after Congress used Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution to remove Reconstruction issues from the Court's reach. Indeed, history demonstrates that the Court is less than a faithful guardian of the people's rights, violating the people's liberties as often as it protects them. As Thomas Jefferson pointed out:
Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. . . . and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control.
Today, the Court claims that it is the only body capable of interpreting the Constitution - that Congress is incapable of determining constitutionality. However, the Founding Fathers vehemently disagreed. For example, James Madison declared:
[T]he meaning of the Constitution may as well be ascertained by the Legislative as by the Judicial authority.
Constitutional Convention delegate Luther Martin similarly attested:
A knowledge of mankind and of legislative affairs cannot be presumed to belong in a higher degree to the Judges than to the Legislature.
The Founders consistently opposed the Court being the final word on constitutionality. For example, Thomas Jefferson declared:
[T]o consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. . . . The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal.
He further explained that if the Court was left unchecked:
The Constitution . . . [would be] a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please.
Allowing the Court to enlarge its own sphere of power beyond what the Constitution authorizes, permitting the Court to usurp the powers of Congress, and tolerating the Courts' disregard of constitutional separation of powers moves America ever further from being a representative republic and ever closer toward the oligarchy against which Jefferson warned. The Court must be resisted in these attempts.
Impeachment: The Founders' Solution
As noted earlier, judges in previous generations who usurped powers from Congress or the people faced impeachment. But today's critics claim that the use of impeachment would either make the judiciary a “political” branch (as if it were not already a political branch) or that it would violate the “independence of the judiciary.” Yet, as Thomas Jefferson so accurately cautioned,
It should be remembered as an axiom of eternal truth in politics that whatever power . . . is independent is absolute also. . . . Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass.
No judge should ever be so independent that he is unaccountable to the Congress, and thereby the people. As Justice James Iredell (placed on the Court by President George Washington) so clearly explained:
Every government requires it [impeachment]. Every man ought to be amenable for his conduct.
Iredell further noted that some officials will behave themselves only under “the very terror of punishment” that impeachment provides. Recent events suggest he was right.
In 1996, six members of the Supreme Court voted to overturn the Colorado election forbidding special (rather than just equal) rights for homosexuals. Following that flagrant display of contempt for the will of Colorado voters, there was a national call for the impeachment of those six Justices. After this clamor for their removal, those same six Justices suddenly became ardent defenders of the people's elections and in a subsequent decision unexpectedly and unanimously chastised a lower court that had overturned a statewide election in Arizona. (Interestingly, Thomas Jefferson on multiple occasions called impeachment a “scarecrow” - something used to frighten predators - and the threat of impeachment certainly had that effect on the Supreme Court.)
Similarly, after a federal judge overturned a binding referendum by the voters of California (“Proposition 209”), national leaders called for the impeachment of that judge. Later, the 9th Circuit ordered the results of the election reinstated and criticized that judge for ignoring the will of the people. Yet, this same 9th Circuit Court had itself shortly before overturned at least three similar elections. Why the flip-flop? The “scarecrow” had been forcefully raised by Congress to make judges accountable for their decisions by returning to the original constitutional uses of impeachment.
It is true that impeachment is a cumbersome process, and achieving a conviction is difficult. However, on most occasions, just the threat of impeachment produces results. In fact, there are several examples of federal judges correcting their own decisions after hearing Congressional calls for their impeachment; and an actual impeachment sends an even more powerful message to all other wayward leaning judges.
Although Congress is ultimately responsible for the discipline of judges, far too many of our Congressmen (like far too many of our citizens) have no understanding of the proper use of impeachment. However, a wise political axiom declares that “Congress sees the light when it feels the heat,” and this is especially true on this issue. As citizens, we need to educate ourselves on the proper use of judicial impeachment, and then we need to educate our Representatives, reminding them of the need for judicial reform and alerting them to those judges showing a pattern of abuse. The time for encouraging judicial accountability is once again ripe. This is a golden opportunity for citizens to weigh in and make a difference.
Copyright © 2002 David Barton, WallBuilders
(An excellent tool for educating yourself and your Congressional representative is the book Restraining Judicial Activisim . This work documents both the Founders writings on this issue and how impeachment was used in America in previous generations. Get a copy for yourself and an extra copy for your Representative and Senators!)