Geez who'd a thunk it? The Supreme Court justices defend the absolute power of federal judges. What happened to balance of power? What is it that they say about absolute power? It does what?
WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas on Tuesday defended the independence of federal judges and suggested that criticism such as that directed at the federal bench recently by Republican leaders in Congress is simply part of the democratic process.
The justices' comments came during a congressional hearing on the Supreme Court's budget that turned into an unusually wide-ranging discussion of the role of judges. Thomas noted that federal judges are appointed for life, which means that although they might be criticized by politicians, the judges are insulated from real retribution.
"I think the reason we have lifetime appointments is that we are supposed to be criticized," Thomas said.
The justices' two-hour appearance before a House Appropriations subcommittee gave them a chance to respond generally to a series of complaints about the federal bench. Such complaints have escalated recently as some Republicans in Congress have blasted federal judges for not intervening in the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman in Florida who died March 31 after a state judge ordered her feeding tube removed.
"The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who referred to a "judiciary run amok." Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has criticized judges who make "political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public."