Cruz pushes retention elections for Supreme Court justices

Cruz pushes retention elections for Supreme Court justices
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Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day HHS official put on leave amid probe into social media posts Trump, Pence to address CPAC this week MORE (R-Texas) wants to amend the Constitution to subject Supreme Court justices to periodic public retention elections.  

“Much to my great disappointment, this past term the court crossed a line and continued its long dissent into lawlessness to a level I believe demands action,” he said during a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday.

“The court today is not a body of jurists. It is not a body of judges following the law, but rather it has declared itself in effect a super legislature.”

Cruz, who chairs the Judiciary subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, called the hearing to discuss what options the American people have to “rein in judicial tyranny,” following the court’s recent decision this past term.

The presidential hopeful has been an outspoken opponent of the high court rulings that upheld federal subsidies under ObamaCare and legalized gay marriage in all 50 states, and has vowed to keep his opposition to gay marriage "front and center" during his campaign.

Whether you agree or disagree with the policy outcomes, Cruz said those who believe in democracy and the Constitution should be “horrified.”

“We did not establish a rule by unelected elites to seize decision-making authority from the American people,” he said. “Indeed, that is the very definition of tyranny.”

In addition to retention elections, Cruz said he would be open to “reasonable proposals” on judicial term limits.

While Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsAfter Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Sunday shows preview: Russian charges, Florida shooting dominate coverage MORE (D-Del.) admitted that’s he’s also been critical of Supreme Court decisions in the past, including the Citizens United decision which struck down limits on third-party campaign spending, he said it’s surprising his Republican colleagues have reacted so strongly to two cases in which their advocates were unsuccessful. 

“Leading scholars have said that this Supreme Court, after the transition from Justice [Sandra Day] O’Connor to Justice [Samuel] Alito of the Roberts Court, is the most conservative court by some estimates in history,” he said.

As for the reforms Cruz has called for, Coons said the whole reason the Supreme Court has been a vital arbiter is because it is insulated from politics and political interests.

“We should therefore, I think, reflect long and hard and exercise some humility on our own before upsetting that essential balance,” he said.