GOP candidates would cut federal judges' power

October 25, 2011 - 12:42 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Most of the Republican presidential candidates want to wipe away lifetime tenure for federal judges, cut the budgets of courts that displease them or allow Congress to override Supreme Court rulings on constitutional issues.

Any one of those proposals would significantly undercut the independence and authority of federal judges. Many of the ideas have been advanced before in campaigns to court conservative voters.

This time, though, six of the eight GOP candidates are backing some or all of those limits on judges, even though judges appointed by Republican presidents hold a majority on the Supreme Court and throughout the federal system.

A group that works for judicial independence says the proposals would make judges "accountable to politicians, not the Constitution."