Ben Carson is jumping aboard the right-wing bandwagon demanding that any Supreme Court justice who joins a ruling that allows gay people to get married be impeached. And he demonstrates his total ignorance of the Constitution and of the role of judges in it.
“Some people think that I hate gay people, that I’m a homophobe; I’m not,” Carson said. “Jesus Christ was not a homophobe. Jesus Christ loved everybody regardless of their lifestyle but he offered them other ways to do things. It’s a free country, people can do what they want to do, but they don’t get to change the definition of marriage, which is between one man and one woman. I’m concerned by the fact that we’re not paying attention to the Constitution the way we should.”
Carson said that Congress should exercise its “right to rein in judges who don’t abide by the will of the people,” adding that “what we the people have got to do is insist that Congress carry out their duties.”
Dunning and Kruger, call your office. The Constitution does not say that Congress has a “right to rein in judges who don’t abide by the will of the people.” In fact, judges are specifically and intentionally empowered to not “abide by the will of the people.” That’s the whole reason we have judicial review and lifetime appointments for judges, so they “will of the people” cannot influence their decisions. The founding fathers intentionally designed it that way and, as Federalist 78 argues, without such judicial independence, the entire scheme of individual rights protected by the constitution would be irrelevant.
And all this talk of impeaching judges is patently ridiculous. Only one Supreme Court justice in the entire history of the country has ever been impeached, Samuel Chase in 1804, and he was acquitted by the Senate. We didn’t impeach justices who voted for Dred Scot or for Plessy v Ferguson. We didn’t impeach a single justice for allowing the Japanese internment camps or for allowing the total suspension of the First Amendment during World War I. But they want justices impeached for allowing gay people to get married? This is bullshit on roller skates.