In reaction to the Supreme Court's rulings on the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage, Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz said Friday that the decisions were "lawless," criticized the high court's "thirst for power," and likened the current state of the judicial branch to that of a "sick man" in need of a cure. The Texas Senator's solution: amend the Constitution, and make the nine justices stand for election if they want to keep their seats on the bench.
"In order to provide the people themselves with a constitutional remedy to the problem of judicial activism and the means for throwing off judicial tyrants," Cruz wrote Friday evening in the National Review, "I am proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that would subject the justices of the Supreme Court to periodic judicial-retention elections."
The court's 5-4 decision to legalize same-sex marriage elicited a smattering a divided opinions from the Republican 2016 field, ranging from the view that "we should love our neighbors and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments" (Jeb Bush), to a call to "resist and reject tyranny, not retreat" (Mike Huckabee).
Cruz, though, sought to distinguish himself later in the day from leaders in his own party who "will pretend to be incensed, and then plan to do absolutely nothing," he wrote in the National Review. For starters, he has already introduced legislation in Congress that would amend the constitution so that states could define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Now Cruz says that, as in 20 states that allow for "judicial retention elections," Supreme Court justices should answer to the people. Under his proposal, justices would face a vote, starting with the second national election after their appointment. "Those justices deemed unfit for retention by both a majority of the American people as a whole and by majorities of the electorates in at least half of the 50 states will be removed from office and disqualified from future service on the Court," Cruz wrote.
As a former law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who died in 2005, Cruz said his mentor "would be heartbroken" by today's court.