The measure of the good behavior of judges lies in their adherence to the law, not the fickle winds of partisanship. The removal of these judges for partisan political reasons rejects the designs of the Founding Fathers. While removal of a judge from the bench is an important part of the checks and balances of our government, it is intended as a redress of judicial misbehavior, not for partisan manipulation of the courts.
“Hamilton had written that through the practice of judicial review the Court ensured that the will of the whole people, as expressed in their Constitution, would be supreme over the will of a legislature, whose statutes might express only the temporary will of part of the people. And Madison had written that constitutional interpretation must be left to the reasoned judgment of independent judges, rather than to the tumult and conflict of the political process. If every constitutional question were to be decided by public political bargaining, Madison argued, the Constitution would be reduced to a battleground of competing factions, political passion and partisan spirit.”
The Federalist Papers:
“The standard of good behavior for the continuance in office of the judicial magistracy, is certainly one of the most valuable of the modern improvements in the practice of government. In a monarchy it is an excellent barrier to the despotism of the prince; in a republic it is a no less excellent barrier to the encroachments and oppressions of the representative body. And it is the best expedient which can be devised in any government, to secure a steady, upright, and impartial administration of the laws.”
“The members of the legislature will rarely be chosen with a view to those qualifications which fit men for the stations of judges; and as, on this account, there will be great reason to apprehend all the ill consequences of defective information, so, on account of the natural propensity of such bodies to party divisions, there will be no less reason to fear that the pestilential breath of faction may poison the fountains of justice. The habit of being continually marshalled on opposite sides will be too apt to stifle the voice both of law and of equity.”
“These considerations teach us to applaud the wisdom of those States who have committed the judicial power, in the last resort, not to a part of the legislature, but to distinct and independent bodies of men.”
The right-wing war on the Constitution continues. The intimidation of other judges who face elections could have a chilling effect on justice throughout America.
- Ballots and the Bench: The Iowa Judges (emptywheel.firedoglake.com)
- Three Iowa Justices Ousted Over Gay Marriage Ruling (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Judgeless in Iowa: Making Sense of Tuesday’s Judicial Ouster (blogs.wsj.com)
- About Last Night: Iowans Truly Embarrass Themselves. (abovethelaw.com)
- Ouster of Iowa Judges Sends Signal to Bench (nytimes.com)