Gingrich: I Can Ignore the Supreme Court

Newt Gingrich is the latest Republican presidential candidate to claim that the president can simply ignore the Supreme Court if it issues a ruling he doesn’t like and said that he would order his administration to do so if elected.

Appealing to conservatives wary of the court system, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Friday not only called for reforming the judicial branch, but he also said he’d ignore the Supreme Court if he fundamentally disagreed with them.

“This modern model is just totally opposite the American tradition,” Gingrich said of the judicial branch at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, a conference organized by the conservative Family Research Council Action.

Citing the precedent of actions past presidents took, Gingrich said he would ignore the courts if he had to.

“I would instruct the national security offiicals in a Gingrich administration to ignore the Supreme Court on issues of national security,” he said, citing actions President Franklin Roosevelt took against German “saboteurs.”

Apparently he thinks that the executive branch should have no constitutional limitations whatsoever when it comes to fighting terrorism. Sadly, that is the exact same position taken by both Bush and Obama. But it’s really all about Christian hegemony for Gingrich:

Just as President Abraham Lincoln was inspired to act against the Dred Scott decision, Gingrich said, “one of the major reasons I am running” for president is the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2002 ruling that the phrase “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional. The ruling was later overturned.

Gingrich slammed a handful of cases he considered judicial overreach, such as the California Proposition 8 ruling, which he said amounted to “one judge in California deciding he knows more than 8 million Californians about the definition of marriage.” He called out a U.S. District judge who this year banned formal prayers at a San Antonio high school graduation, saying Congress should hold hearings on the matter.

“On the issue of God and American public life, the courts have been historically wrong at least since the 1940s,” Gingrich said.

In his “21st Century Contract with America,” one of Gingrich’s campaign promises is to “restore the proper role of the judicial branch.”

And the proper role for the judicial branch, in Gingrich’s mind, is to do whatever he tells them to do and to be ignored when they don’t. Kiss the separation of powers goodbye. Since he thinks everything the Supreme Court has ruled on church/state separation since the 40s is wrong, that would mean he is in favor of forcing schoolchildren to read the Bible every day and recite government-written prayers during class. It’s hard to imagine anything more unconstitutional and oppressive than that.

About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • thompjs

    So if Newt did this, what could the court do?

  • d cwilson

    It’s hard to imagine anything more unconstitutional and oppressive than that.

    Give them time.

  • jeevmon

    It’s actually worse than that. Newt apparently believes that Cooper v. Aaron, which held that the states could not simply disregard federal court orders to desegregate their schools, was wrongly decided and was the harbinger of the judicial tyranny he decries. Which supports the thesis that movement conservatives like Gingrich don’t really care about small government as a principle. Instead, they are upset about restrictions on the right of white local authorities to keep those undesirables down.

  • MikeMa

    Lets elect the dummy and enjoy the impeachment. Maybe. On second thought, never mind.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    It’s hard to imagine anything more unconstitutional and oppressive than that.

    Re-read, say, Abu Ghraib coverage.

  • Gregory

    Gingrich really is a sanctimonious, ignorant twit, isn’t he. President Lincoln did not “act against the Dred Scott decision,” it remained firmly in place until ratification of the 14th Amendment on July 9, 1868, more than three years after his assassination. What Lincoln did do was call upon slaves in the Confederacy to rise up against their masters: if you look at the Emancipation Proclamation, you will see that it expressly excluded slaves held in the Union in western Virginia (later the state of West Virginia), Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware and elsewhere.

    As for “this modern model”… what has changed since Marbury v. Madison, handed down in 1803? How has the power of the federal judiciary changed in the last, say, 50 years to make it into a “modern model”?

    The scarey thing is that Presidents have so far abided with the Supreme Court. I shudder to think of the constitutional crisis that would be provoked if a president chose to ignore a Supreme Court ruling.

  • Didaktylos

    He’d probably do what Jake Featherston does in Harry Turtledove’s alternative Civil War cycle – abolish it.

  • anandine

    John Marshall Roberts has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.

  • eric

    Meh. Newt’s just P.O.’d because nobody takes his run for President seriously. When you ignore the little kid, you shouldn’t be surprised when he responds by jumping up and and down yelling “look at me! Look at me!”

  • mas528

    thompjs asked:

    So if Newt did this, what could the court do?

    As someone said when the court ordered Nixon to hand over his tapes, “Well, the court does not have an army, the president does”.

  • Michael Heath

    eric:

    Newt’s just P.O.’d because nobody takes his run for President seriously. When you ignore the little kid, you shouldn’t be surprised when he responds by jumping up and and down yelling “look at me! Look at me!”

    While it’s true Mr. Gingrich has hardly any chance of winning the ’12 GOP presidential candidate bid, conservatives are now constantly creating a new standard which all must now adhere. Consider the degree to which nearly every Republican has signed a pledge not to raise taxes, or to end Obamacare, or to deny the reality of anthropogenic climate change. So we should be concerned when we hear new ways for conservatives speed along their evolvement into an increasingly extreme radical theocratic-corporatist movement.

  • Aquaria

    Appealing to conservatives wary of the court system, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Friday not only called for reforming the judicial branch, but he also said he’d ignore the Supreme Court if he fundamentally disagreed with them.

    “This modern model is just totally opposite the American tradition,” Gingrich said of the judicial branch at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, a conference organized by the conservative Family Research Council Action.

    Yes, 1800 is so fucking modern, Newt. Marbury v Madison? What’s that?

  • Modusoperandi

    Since he thinks everything the Supreme Court has ruled on church/state separation since the 40s is wrong, that would mean he is in favor of forcing schoolchildren to read the Bible every day and recite government-written prayers during class.

    It’s a good thing that Gingrich is running way behind. I mean, all you have to do to shut him down whenever the common Republican “values votes” mentions the above is point out to the WASP that’s defending it (and him) is point out that he’s Roman Catholic.

    They can paper over the fault lines, but they run deep.

  • BobApril

    Re: what could the court do? I believe the correct answer is “nothing” – it would be up to Congress to enforce the decision by impeaching the President and/or removing funding until the President complied. If that, too, fails, then the Constitution is null and void and we have, instead, a dictatorship. And probably a civil war.

  • dogmeat

    Gregory @6:

    Actually Jackson did ignore a supreme court ruling; resulted in the deaths of at least 4000 Cherokee.

    Technically the executive can ignore a court ruling, it is a limitation upon the power of the courts in that they have no enforcement ability. Normally the legislative or executive would limit the ability of the other to do so. One would hope that were a president Gingrich (I threw up a little in the back of my throat) attempt to simply ignore a court ruling, congress would take steps to persuade him to reconsider.

  • sundoga

    Until or unless a President is impeached for doing so, they pretty much CAN ignore the Supreme Court. It’s the only real threat to any sitting President, and I question whether ANY modern Congress would do so without an exceptional reason, especially after the Clinton debacle.

    However, Congress could make things more difficult (and throw the burden of who to obey on the bureaucracy) by overriding any Executive Orders telling someone to ignore a ruling.

  • scifi1

    “This modern model is just totally opposite the American tradition,” Gingrich said…”

    That’s as far as I got before running out of the room, screaming and tearing at my clothes and hair.

    What rat-faced, self-abusing arrogant fucktard holds himself as the curator of the “American Tradition”? Since when does this loathsome, 2 faced, lyin’, cheatin’ asshat (or “arsehat” where I come from!) believe that he knows what the populace hold dear?

    What a ballsack.

    (Sorry if you were expecting some high-english, philosophical discourse on the vagaries of GOP attitudes to the American legal system and constitution – too mind blasted to do it).

  • http://www.themindisaterriblething.com shripathikamath

    All Newt is trying to do is become more relevant. He sees Cain (a black man) able to rise with extreme fundagelical rhetoric. He is just trying to do anything that’ll gain him that mind-share of the tea partiers, that’s all.

    And the no longer no one listens to him, the more he is going up the crazy. Trouble is, no one’s even hearing him, and his debt is going to become seriously unsustainable. Matter of a couple of months if not weeks.

    It’s like that skit on SNL where the radio talk show host (Belushi?) is getting desperate because no one is calling in even after he utters something like “I am in favor of Nazis entering your house and torturing your pets”.

    Newt is that radio show host. He cannot even drum up a controversy. He bashed Muslims, gays, gay marriage, abortions, wanted some Democrats jailed, .. and all he gets is a mild applause and the moderator moves back to Perry or Cain

  • fifthdentist

    And the Supremes can ignore you, Newt, what with that whole you never being president thing you’ve got going on.

    But hey, stay fascist, baby.

  • http://www.stuffthatlookslikejesus.com Wesley

    Gregory @6:

    President Lincoln did not “act against the Dred Scott decision,” it remained firmly in place until ratification of the 14th Amendment on July 9, 1868, more than three years after his assassination.

    Actually, Lincoln did publicly disagree with the Dred Scott Court’s broad ruling that it was flatly unconstitutional to restrict slave ownership in the federal territories, and Lincoln did say he would try to change the law in that regard (which notably did not involve ignoring the Supreme Court, but simply advocating for the law to change).

    None of that remotely defends Gingrich, of course, who is still a self-righteous blowhard.

  • dougindeap

    That Gingrich is wrong about our history and wrong about the bedrock constitutional principle of separation of church and state is plenty bad enough. That he further advocates pressing his mistaken views on the nation by dismissing yet another bedrock constitutional principle–judicial review–and revert to who knows what (as our country has known no other system since Marbury v. Madison in 1803) is mindboggling.

    That such drivel comes from the mouth of one who aspires to be President is difficult to accept. That GOP voters take him seriously rather than universally recoil in disgust and embarrassment is disturbing.

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