Federal Judge Barbara B. Crabb could serve as the “Poster Child” for a constitutional amendment requiring all federal judges, including the U.S. supreme court justices, to go through a retention election every four years. On April 15 Crabb issued a decision declaring the federal law establishing the National Day of Prayer in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
In last week’s column entitled, “I don’t recognize my country anymore either,” the Ole Seagull said that one of the things impacting on his ability to recognize his country was “A nonelected federal judiciary, up to the supreme court level, that operates more as a “kingship” than a justice system.
“That ‘kingship’ has empowered the Federal government to intervene into not only local government, but our personal lives at a level never envisioned by this Nation’s Forefathers who founded our Nation on the concept of as little involvement of the Federal government in the individual lives of its citizens as possible. In fact, so concerned were they that they put the Bill of Rights into the Constitution to limit the power of the federal government. The Federal judiciary has so prostituted the justice system that today the Federal government regulates just about every aspect of our daily life.”
At first blush one might say, “But Seagull, isn’t this a perfect example of what a federal judge should do? She made a decision about the constitutionality of the federal law establishing the National Day of Prayer and said it “violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.” What’s wrong with that?” In order, an Ole Seagull would answer, “Yes” and “Everything.”
Crabb did what federal judges do every day and, for what it matters, her decision in this case was a federal issue. The point is that she and every other federal judge up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court are, short of impeachment, appointed for life and are responsible or accountable to no one and that’s what’s wrong. The problem grows exponentially when one moves away from federal courts just dealing with federal matters and expanding, by judicial fiat, the authority of the federal government “to intervene into not only local government, but our personal lives at a level never envisioned by this Nation’s Forefathers.”
In a nation where it’s President and legislators are responsible and accountable to its people through the election process it almost seems ludicrous that there isn’t a similar responsibility or accountability on the part of the very judiciary that has, in the opinion of an Ole Seagull, “so prostituted the justice system that today the Federal government regulates just about every aspect of our daily life.” Some might ask, “If it was so important, why didn’t the Forefathers address it in the Constitution?” An Ole Seagull’s opinion would be because they never envisioned the federal judiciary system expanding and impacting on states, local government, and our personal lives like it has.
Where a citizen has a problem with a federal judge based on that judge’s rational for a decision or what they feel is an unwarranted expansion of federal authority into their daily lives shouldn’t there be some accountability to them from the judges making those decisions? An Ole Seagull believes it is long past the time for all federal judges to have to do the same thing a lot of state court judges have to do, go through a “Retention Election.” They would not compete against other candidates just against their own record. Voters vote to either “retain or not.” If the vote is “not to retain” a new judge would be appointed.
Obviously, this would take a constitutional amendment. As Abraham Lincoln pointed out at Gettysburg, this nation has paid a huge price “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” How can it be a nation “of the people, by the people, for the people” if there is no accountability to “the people” by the very branch of government that has the most power over them?
The Ole Seagull just has to ask this of Judge Crabb, “Does the constitution you are saying the National Day of Prayer is in violation of have its signatories underneath a paragraph that cites its date of signature as “the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven?”