The overturning of Roe v. Wade was an unprecedented betrayal of women’s reproductive rights in this nation. That one should be sufficient if you can’t conjure up any other reason to resist another Republican takeover of the House and Senate.
Unbeknownst to most of us, some serious attempts have placed term limits on some judgeships. We need that kind of legislative action, and the recent Roe v. Wade debacle is but one such example.
Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) introduced the Supreme Court Tenure Establishment and Retirement Modernization (TERM) Act, which would establish term limits for Supreme Court justices while preserving constitutional protections for judicial independence in decision-making. Under the TERM Act, a new justice would take the bench every two years and spend 18 years in active service.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) is introducing the legislation in the U.S. Senate. Representative Johnson was crystal clear in his reasoning as he presented the bill in July of this year.
“This Supreme Court is increasingly facing a legitimacy crisis,” said Rep. Johnson, Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. “Five of the six conservative justices on the bench were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, and they are now racing to impose their out-of-touch agenda on the American people, who do not want it. Term limits are a necessary step toward restoring balance to this radical, unrestrained majority on the court.
This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has been wrong, and I would also extend these term limits to the Federal bench.
Hell, not even parents have life-time oversight!
Here are a few high-visibility decisions that make it evident that scores of “landmark decisions” were wrongheaded and more political than democratic.
Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857 (7-2 decision) Chief Justice Taney Denied citizenship to enslaved African Americans.
Prigg v. Pennsylvania 1842 (6-3 decision) Chief Justice Roger Taney
Reversed the lower court decision to convict slave catcher Edward Prigg who violated the Fugitive Slave Act
Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896 (7-1 decision) Chief Justice Melville Fuller
Upheld “separate but equal” segregation laws. “A Negro has no right that the White man is bound to respect.”
Powell v. Alabama, 1932 (7-2 decision) Chief Justice Charles E Hughes
Reversed the wrongful conviction of nine Black men (The Scottsboro Boys) sentenced to death for an allegation of rape recanted by one of their accusers.
Korematsu v. the United States, 1944 (6-3 decision) Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone
Upheld the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, regardless of their citizenship status.
Brown v. Board of Education, 1954 (9-0 decision) Chief Justice Earl Warren
Separating black and white students in public schools is unconstitutional.
Hernandez v. Texas 1954 (9-0 Decision) Chief Justice Earl Warren
Mexican Americans and all other racial groups in the United States must be afforded equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
Miranda v. Arizona, 1966 (5-4 Decision) Chief Justice Earl Warren
Prisoners must be advised of their rights before being questioned by police.
Loving v. Virginia, 1967 (9-0 decision) Chief Justice Earl Warren
Invalidated state laws that prohibited interracial marriage.
Roe v. Wade, 1973 (7-2 decision) Chief Justice Warren E. Burger
Women have a constitutional right to an abortion during the first two trimesters.
Bush v. Gore 2000 (5-4 decision) Chief Justice William Rehnquist
Decided a presidency in which the national vote was essentially tied.
And this list doesn’t include recent travesties like Citizens United v. FEC or the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.
Major mistakes, like the placing of Mr. “Steppin Fetchit,” I mean Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. This miscarriage (pun intended) would have run its course under Johnson’s plan. “Lawd” knows this misguided Negro has haunted us long enough. “Uncle Thomas” deserves to spend all his retired days with his brainless bride, “Ginni!”
Y’all better Quit Playin’ and vote.
Donald Trump and his Federal and Supreme Court choices are the jokes that get crueler every year. Unfortunately, history has proven that our democracy is only as good as the nine robes appointed to protect it.
Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.