So, Governor Rick Perry made a speech today where he proposed the following:
- Ending the practice of giving lifetime appointments to federal judges (current judges would not be affected);
- Cutting Congressional pay in half;
- Cutting Congressional pay in half again if they don’t balance the budget by 2020;
- Cutting Congressional office budgets in half;
- Cutting the Congressional calendar by half;
- Criminalizing insider trading by Congressmen (no, actually, it’s not currently illegal for them to do that);
- Reducing spending to 18% of GDP;
- Privatizing Fannie & Freddie;
- Ending the funding of Planned Parenthood;
- Eliminating the Commerce, Education, and Energy Departments;
- Getting the EPA under control;
- Getting the TSA under control;
- Audit the government, including the Department of Defense;
- Freeze incoming federal regulations, and audit all of them for the last five years;
- Federal salary freeze for all non-military and non-law enforcement officials until the budget is balanced;
- And cutting the Presidential salary in half until the budget is balanced
This is not red meat. This is raw meat, still steaming from the cow.
In case you were wondering, Texas state judges are elected officials, including the ones on the Texas Supreme Court (also, the Texas legislature is very much a part-time affair). Changing the tenure of federal judges will require a Constitutional amendment, however; as the consensus of commentary on Article III, Section 1 shows, the phrase ‘shall hold their offices during good behavior’ assumes a lifetime appointment on the federal level. While admittedly commentary is precisely that: commentary (it’s trumped all the time by actual court decisions, as anybody familiar with Plessy v. Ferguson, Kelo v. City of New London, and/or McConnell v. FEC could tell you), it’s noted by the Perry campaign itself that a Constitutional remedy is required. At any rate: if anybody reading this happens to interview Perry in the future, I suspect that the response to bringing up this topic might prove of interest.
At any rate, there’s a lot in there – and it’s direct[ed] squarely at the activist base of the party, and not to the Beltway folks. Expect a large number of the latter to get duly apocalyptic about it in response; also expect most of the rest of the GOP slate to not want to touch this subject with a ten foot pole…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
[UPDATE]: Quick clarification. Perry isn’t calling for electing federal judges; I noted that Texas state judges (including the TX Supreme Court) are elected in order to give our readers an idea of what the governor is used to in his home state.
*Mind you, I am not a Constitutional lawyer. Just in case that wasn’t completely obvious yet.