Perry proposes government overhaul

Matthew Wilson, political science professor at SMU's Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences, talks about Rick Perry's plan to remake how Washington D.C. works.

By Jason Embry

Gov. Rick Perry, hoping voters will see him as a bold reformer, said Tuesday that he wants to end lifetime appointments for federal judges and make serving in Congress a part-time job.

Perry unveiled an ambitious government reform plan in Iowa, where voters will take part in the country's first nominating contests in less than two months and where the Texas governor, according to a poll released Tuesday, is running fifth in the GOP presidential field.

Perry has talked in recent weeks of his desire to "take a wrecking ball to Washington," and he fleshed that out Tuesday by proposing changes across all three branches of government....

Matthew Wilson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, said the U.S. Constitution calls for lifetime appointments because founders wanted to protect judges from political pressures from elected officials and the public. They also wanted to make the jobs attractive enough for people to want to fill them, Wilson said.

A constitutional amendment would need the support of a supermajority in Congress, plus the backing of most of the state legislatures in the country. "That would be a very high hurdle to clear," Wilson said.