Dealing With Political Opposition in the Judiciary
Although Jefferson was able to reverse the political tide when he took office, he nevertheless found that the opposition (which the people then had turned away from) had entrenched themselves in the judiciary. This was a problem that Franklin D. Roosevelt faced after his election, when the Supreme Court, then dominated by the appointments of the previous administration, declared unconstitutional so many of his measures that were designed to lift the nation out of the deep depression into which it had fallen. And this is a problem in our government that might be corrected by making members of the judiciary subject to reinstatement periodically, instead of having life tenure.
"The principal [leaders of the political opposition] have retreated into the judiciary as a stronghold, the tenure of which renders it difficult to dislodge them." --Thomas Jefferson to Joel Barlow, 1801. ME 10:223
"Let the future appointments of judges be for four or six years and removable by the President and Senate. This will bring their conduct at regular periods under revision and probation, and may keep them in equipoise between the general and special governments. We have erred in this point by copying England, where certainly it is a good thing to have the judges independent of the King. But we have omitted to copy their caution also, which makes a judge removable on the address of both legislative houses." --Thomas Jefferson to William T. Barry, 1822.
The Jeffersonian Perspective:
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