When you listen to David Barton on a regular basis, you learn all sorts of interesting things – a lot of them happen to be false and/or terrifying, but interesting nonetheless.
For instance, on “Wallbuilders Live” today he explained that federal judges are not appointed for life but simply “during good behavior,” which means that any time any judge issues a ruling that Congress does not like, they simply have to convene a hearing, force the judge to defend the ruling, and then impeach them:
Rick Green: So where is the accountability if a judge is appointed for their whole life.
Barton: Well, the first part is they’re not appointed for life. That’s one of the things that people think today and this is one of the great judicial myths that’s out there that’s absolutely not accurate. If you go back and look at the Constitution, Article III deals with the judiciary; there’s nothing in there about judges being appointed for life. They’re not appointed for life.
What they did, and what they also did in the federal Constitution, when you read it it says federal judges are allowed to hold their appointments for the quote ‘duration of good behavior.’ That’s not a lifetime appointment – that’s as long as you act right you can stay there as a federal judge. But if you don’t act right, we’re going to take you out.
The best way to know is to go see the guys who wrote the clauses, see what they define as good behavior by who they throw off the court.
There was a federal judge thrown off the court because he cussed in the courtroom. Founding Fathers threw him off the court. Why’d they do that? Because the federal Constitution says “for the duration of good behavior,” They said cussing in a courtroom is not good behavior for a judge, you’re gone.
Another guy was thrown off the court because he got drunk in his private life. Whoa, it’s his private life; had nothing to do with his job. No, it’s not good behavior for a judge – you’re gone.
Another guy got thrown off the court because he contradicted an act of Congress. Supreme Court does that all the time today. Congress pass something, ah we don’t like that act, it’s going to be unconstitutional. No, he did that – you’re gone buddy.
There have been 97 impeachment investigations across history with judges; you’ve had 13 impeachments taken off the court. And the more often you have an impeachment investigation, the less often you have to remove a judge because, what Thomas Jefferson says, impeachment is a scarecrow – you sit out there in the middle of the field and that will scare them off.
Green: Because all the other judges are watching that, going ‘I don’t want that to be me.’
Barton: You betcha. For example, take the judge in California that says, oh no, having ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance, completely unconstitutional.
What you do is you convene a hearing in Washington DC, Congress says we want you to come appear before the judiciary committee and explain to us exactly what your thinking is that says we can’t acknowledge God when that’s in the Declaration and in the Constitution. What are you thinking?
And other judges see him getting called before Congress to be accountable and they go ‘oh my gosh, we’re not going to touch that.’ Exactly!