Gingrich Gets Even More Insane

Just when you thought Newt Gingrich’s positions on judicial independence couldn’t get any more insane and dangerous than they already are, he went on Face the Nation on Sunday and advocated arresting judges who issue rulings he doesn’t like.

Newt Gingrich on Sunday hammered at the nation’s judiciary system, saying that if a court’s decision was out of step with American popular opinion, it should be ignored.

There’s “no reason the American people need to tolerate a judge that out of touch with American culture,” Gingrich said on CBS’ Face the Nation, referring to a case where a judge ruled that explicit references to religion were barred from a high school graduation ceremony. And Gingrich recently has said judges should have to explain some of their decisions before Congress.

Host Bob Schieffer asked Gingrich how he planned to enforce that. Would you call in the Capitol Police to apprehend a federal judge, he asked.

“If you had to,” Gingrich said. “Or you’d instruct the Justice Department to send the U.S. Marshall in.”

A judge should have to explain his or her radical decisions, Gingrich emphasized again.

On Planet Wingnuttia, judges have to go to Congress and explain their decisions and be arrested if they don’t. On planet Earth, judges do explain their decisions. They issue rulings that anyone, including a congressman, can read to see their legal reasoning.

Gingrich claims his tough stance is part of a key question going into the 2012 elections: “Do you want to move towards American exceptionalism, reassert the Constitution, reassert the nature of America, or do you, in fact, want to become a secular, European, sort of bureaucratic socialist society?”

Standard wingnut behavior, advocating something clearly in opposition to the Constitution and justifying it in the name of saving the Constitution. The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary for a reason. And they explained exactly why they did so in the Federalist Papers. As a historian, Gingrich knows this; as a demagogue, he doesn’t care.

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  • Aquaria

    Do you want to move towards American exceptionalism

    No, because we’re not exceptional, except in the sense of being assholes.

    reassert the Constitution

    It’s been asserting itself, Newt. That’s what you don’t like.

    reassert the nature of America

    I didn’t take you for an environmentalist, Newt!

    or do you, in fact, want to become a secular, European, sort of bureaucratic socialist society?

    Compared to a theotard, Ameritard sort of bureaucratic fascist police state?

    Yes. Yes, I could go for a secular, European, sort of bureaucratic socialist society.

    It would be a marked improvement over the slime pit you’d turn America into–and are well on the way to accomplishing, you worthless scumbag.

  • Michael Heath

    Aquaria asserts:

    No, because we’re not exceptional, except in the sense of being assholes.

    I find this conclusion as delusional as conservatives who are falsely convinced we are the best at all things good.

    This type of false rhetoric also buttresses conservative arguments that misrepresent what most well-informed liberals and moderates understand about their country as we compare ourselves to other countries. It also plays right into conservative hands and makes us non-conservatives appear no better than they are, which I think is exactly what they want – for us to wallow in their filth. Of course such a conclusion is a false equivalency fallacy given most non-conservative Americans do not share Aquaria’s delusion, but that never stopped conservatives before regarding the fact they’re more than happy misrepresenting us.

  • Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I was watching that in a haze on Sunday trying to wrap my brain around the insanity. He’s definitely doing his best to fit in with the crazy on the GOP hopefuls list this year.

  • d cwilson

    What is it with the wingnut mind that claims to love the Constitution while at the same time advocating policies that are 180 opposite to it?

  • d cwilson

    Newt has gone full Costanza.

  • Scott Hanley

    A judge should have to explain his or her radical decisions, Gingrich emphasized again.

    Funny, but I thought judges published explanations for all of their decisions. I guess Newt can’t read.

  • slc1

    Re Scott Hanley @ #6

    There is another explanation, namely that Gingrich doesn’t really believe this crap but is just posturing for the tea baggers votes. Lot of posturing going on.

  • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

    Gingrich claims his tough stance is part of a key question going into the 2012 elections: “Do you want to move towards American exceptionalism, reassert the Constitution, reassert the nature of America, or do you, in fact, want to become a secular, European, sort of bureaucratic socialist society?”

    absofuckinglutely yes

  • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

    Of course such a conclusion is a false equivalency fallacy given most non-conservative Americans do not share Aquaria’s delusion

    wut. how is the rejection of American exceptionalism (other than that in many aspects it’s a statistical outlier on the shitty end of things) a “delusion”?

  • schism

    [Gingrich’s] tough stance

    Conservatives need to be more careful with that euphemism. It was getting a little threadbare when it just meant “torture;” adding outright fascism might make it irreparable.

  • dingojack

    JadeHawk – I think Michael is taking exception (pardon the expression) to the notion that America is a nation of exceptional assholes.

    Not having studied the rectal areas of humans, I bow to those with superior knowledge.

    :) Dingo

  • had3

    Jadehawk, I think the comentator meant we’re not any more asshole-ish than other nations. It’s one thing to say we’re not exceptional, it’s another to say we are, but only in a negative manner.

  • dingojack

    How long ’till The Amphibian’s ‘tough stance’ is discovered to be, in reality, nothing more than a ‘wide stance’, I wonder?

    Dingo

  • http://www.rodlamkey.net reverendrodney

    That he would place the judiciary under the control of thought police goes along with anti-anti-colonialism.

    The next time he says that Obama is an anti-colonialist I hope that someone stands up and says: “Mr. Gingrich, this entire country is anti-colonialist!”

    I think Newt is pro-colonialism because he wants the country to be recolonized… by corporations.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    I’m sure the Cherokees are big fans of presidents ignoring court opinions.

  • raven

    Why is Gingrick even running? Why is anyone taking him seriously?

    His platform seems to be anti-democracy, anti-USA, and pro treason.

    It also seems to be anti-human. Well, he is a toad, I suppose that isn’t the least bit unexpected.

  • Sadie Morrison

    Michael Heath, in comment 2, you did not explain why you so confidently consider Aquaria’s views to be delusional. That might help bolster your point, whatever it is.

    Newtie asked, perhaps rhetorically,

    “Do you want to move towards American exceptionalism, reassert the Constitution, reassert the nature of America, or do you, in fact, want to become a secular, European, sort of bureaucratic socialist society?”

    I’ll bet he doesn’t want to hear my answer.

  • dingojack

    Toads would be quick to point out that he’s a Newt*

    Dingo

    —–

    * He ain’t ever getting better!

  • D. C. Sessions

    Why is Gingrick even running?

    There’s gold in them thar hills.

    A recent poll found that he’s leading Romney by 5% in Virginia. Which would have been great news, except he hadn’t bothered to get on the ballot in Virginia, with the deadline only a couple of days away.

    Now he’s scrambling to get enough signatures to get on the ballot, despite having no campaign organization in that State.

    Read all that as you will: he’s either not serious, or he’s seriously not capable of organizing an Irish drinking party at a pub pouring free whiskey.

  • Olav

    “no reason the American people need to tolerate a judge that out of touch with American culture,” Gingrich said

    So Mr. Gingrich is advocating the establishment of Gesundes Volksempfinden as a guiding principle of justice. Is has been tried before, but never with pleasant results.

    As an “historian” he could know.

  • Doug Little

    “no reason the American people religious fundamentalists need to tolerate a judge that out of touch with American culture biblical law,” Gingrich said

    Well that’s how it translates to me, and they get all up in arms about the creeping Sharia whilst advocating the Christian equivalent.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com tommykey

    Regarding America’s exceptionalism, one does not have to be a jingoistic conservative to point to exceptional things about us. Otherwise, so many people from around the world would not want to move here and become American citizens.

    The idea is to look at ourselves honestly and acknowledge both the good things and our shortcomings and resolve to improve the latter.

  • zentrout

    Many people from around the world move to many countries and become citizens. Just how many exceptional countries are there?

  • otrame

    How long ’till The Amphibian’s ‘tough stance’ is discovered to be, in reality, nothing more than a ‘wide stance’, I wonder?

    Come on, Dingo, it’s us he wants in the wide stance, so his handlers can have their fun. And I guarantee there will be no reach around.

  • ehmm

    So he thinks he’s running for “King” or “Pope”?

    Actually, what do you call someone who is both the head of state, head of the government and can exercise ultimate power over the courts, to the point of arresting and detaining judges who make decisions you don’t like? Can someone have Glenn Beck look into this?

    This exchange is particularly chilling:

    Host Bob Schieffer asked Gingrich how he planned to enforce that. Would you call in the Capitol Police to apprehend a federal judge, he asked.

    “If you had to,” Gingrich said. “Or you’d instruct the Justice Department to send the U.S. Marshall in.”

    A judge should have to explain his or her radical decisions, Gingrich emphasized again.

  • dcsohl

    ehmm, the term “dictator” springs to mind.

  • Tualha

    Don’t hold back, Aquaria, tell us what you really think 😉

  • http://rockstarramblings.blogspot.com/ Bronze Dog

    I think something got written down incorrectly. He didn’t mean ‘assert the Constitution,’ he meant ‘subvert.’ Sorry about the confusion.

  • cottonnero

    In the words of every New Yorker cartoon ever, “Christ, what an asshole!”

  • Michael Heath

    Sadie Morrison:

    Michael Heath, in comment 2, you did not explain why you so confidently consider Aquaria’s views to be delusional.

    Here is what Aquaria stated:

    No, because we’re not exceptional, except in the sense of being assholes.

    I suggest starting with our wealth and military power relative to all other countries – in the entire history of humanity.

    I then suggest thinking about how incredibly false it is to consider only one factor in defining the U.S.’s entire set of exceptional and unexceptional qualities. In Aquaria’s set N=1, that we are exceptional assholes. Then think about our competition which according to Aquaria can’t compete with our level of assholishness since we are exceptional, say North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the USSR, Red China under Mao, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, Nazi Germany, etc., etc., etc.

  • Michael Heath

    zentrout:

    Many people from around the world move to many countries and become citizens. Just how many exceptional countries are there?

    Depends on the metric. When you look at per capita income or those who can now be described as meritocracies it’s an increasing number though that set is still “exceptional” when weighting populations. In fact we are no longer exceptional when it comes to meritocracies in spite of our being a leader in enabling this reality for hundreds of millions of people. In the case of immigration U.S. universities continue to enable us to claim we’re exceptional in this area though we’re certainly not the only exceptional choice.

    In some cases a country’s loss of exceptionalism reveals human progress. Fareed Zakaria in his 2003 book, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, reported that zero countries had universal suffrage in the year 1900, where by the time he wrote this book the number was 119 comprising 62% of all countries. [Citation: First Edition, Introduction, Pg. 13]

  • Michael Heath

    ehmn:

    So he thinks he’s running for “King” or “Pope”?

    Actually, what do you call someone who is both the head of state, head of the government and can exercise ultimate power over the courts, to the point of arresting and detaining judges who make decisions you don’t like? Can someone have Glenn Beck look into this?

    This misrepresents Newt Gingrich’s argument in last Sunday’s Face in the Nation segment. In this case he’s effectively arguing for ‘democratic conservatism’ though he didn’t name it that. This phrase gained increasing use amongst conservatives in the early-2000s when they sensed they were now the predominant faction of the Republican party and the party was close to what Karl Rove framed as a, “permanent majority”. To better wield power these conservatives sought to effectively obstruct any effort for the individual to demand government protection of their individual rights over ‘temporal majority passions’. (H/T for the phrase: James Madison IIRC)

    What Mr. Gingrich was instead arguing was that if two of the branches ganged up on the third, they could have their way with the other; not that the executive could unilaterally ignore the judicial branch (though there’s no reason to trust him on this). And as otrame noted, there’d be no reach arounds. In this example Gingrich was arguing the executive would detain and submit a judge to Congress if the judge refused a subpeona from the Congress to defend his ruling. This is of course wildly unconstitutional and a direct threat to how we describe our government, whether it be a liberal democracy or a constitutional democracy, or a constitutional republic.

  • dingojack

    Michael Heath (#31) – as you stated in your post ‘[it] depends on the metric’. In 1902 there was one country* that had universal (white) sufferage**, and it wasn’t the US. Not that exceptional then.

    Dingo

    —–

    * Here are some Britsh Oversea territores that had ‘universal sufferage’: Pitcairn Island (1838)/ Norfolk Island (1858) [transferred with the population from the former to the latter in 1858], Franceville (1888) [Run jointly with France, although declared independance breifly during which ‘universal sufferage without regard to sex or race’ was declared], New Zealand (1893), South Australia (1895) [subsumed during Federation but the Franchise Act of 1902 cemented it into Federal law].

    ** Australia didn’t have anything near true universal sufferage until the Referendum of 1967 (and the dismantling of the vile ‘White Autralia Policy’ in the early 70’s) although, technically, the Commonwealth Electoral Act of 1962 gave universal sufferage ; America until the Civil Rights Act (although see Arizona and Miami for ‘Jim Crow’ variants to practically end-run this). Again, not that exceptional.

  • Ichthyic

    Otherwise, so many people from around the world would not want to move here and become American citizens.

    You’ll also find a lot of us who left as the US works ever harder to become the Idiocracy portrayed in the movie of the same name.

    there are far better democracies than the US out there.

  • Ichthyic

    What Mr. Gingrich was instead arguing was that if two of the branches ganged up on the third, they could have their way with the other; not that the executive could unilaterally ignore the judicial branch (though there’s no reason to trust him on this)

    not only did Gingrich DIRECTLY state that the executive could, and should, ignore SCOTUS, but it’s also obvious the man has never read JS Mill, and at revels in his own ignorance.

    there is nothing left to defend here, Michael.

    nothing.

    Newt is a circus clown, trying to get rubes to toss dimes in his hat.

    he has nothing of value to say, and never has.

  • Michael Heath

    DingoJack to me:

    In 1902 there was one country* that had universal (white) sufferage**, and it wasn’t the US. Not that exceptional then.

    I never claimed the U.S. was exceptional on suffrage. I instead raised this metric specifically to illustrate why and when we should also celebrate the unexceptional.

  • Michael Heath

    Me earlier:

    This misrepresents Newt Gingrich’s argument in last Sunday’s Face in the Nation segment.

    […]

    What Mr. Gingrich was instead arguing was that if two of the branches ganged up on the third, they could have their way with the other; not that the executive could unilaterally ignore the judicial branch (though there’s no reason to trust him on this).

    Ichthyic rebuts me:

    . . . not only did Gingrich DIRECTLY state that the executive could, and should, ignore SCOTUS, but it’s also obvious the man has never read JS Mill, and at revels in his own ignorance.

    Ichthyic, I’d appreciate a citation from the transcript regarding your first assertion attempting to rebut my earlier assertion.

    Here’s my cite validating my original claim with which you disagree, from the transcript Newt Gingrich said:

    Here’s the key — it’s always two out of three. If the president and the congress say the court is wrong, in the end the court would lose. If the congress and the court say the president is wrong, in the end the president would lose. And if the president and the court agreed, the congress loses. The founding fathers designed the constitution very specifically in a Montesquieu spirit of the laws to have a balance of power not to have a dictatorship by any one of the three branches.

  • dingojack

    Michael Heath – sorry, I read ‘In some cases a country’s loss of exceptionalism reveals human progress’ as meaning that the US started out as being exceptional, then lost that status. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.

    8{ Dingo

  • ehmm

    @32 Michael Heath

    Thank you for the link and the thoughtful reply, but insomnia is one reason I’m writing this so I’ll be not linear or coherent, something, something. Gingrich is all over the map in that transcript so I’ll do my best.

    “What Mr. Gingrich was instead arguing was that if two of the branches ganged up on the third, they could have their way with the other; not that the executive could unilaterally ignore the judicial branch..”

    Actually, in the transcript he supports such an argument with two examples: Lincoln w/ Dred Scott** & Jackson w/ The Bank of the United States.

    “…This is of course wildly unconstitutional and a direct threat to how we describe our government, whether it be a liberal democracy or a constitutional democracy, or a constitutional republic.”

    Agreed. Foundation of laws… Mob rule… something.

    Reading (skimming; it’s late dammit) the complete transcript is illuminating, but I think it’s still paints a pretty scary picture. Forget for a moment the mind blowing weirdness of trying to use precedents to justify when to ignore the law. Also ignore the whole “activist judges” meme that he repeats here as a nod to the base.

    Commenting on a religious speech issue, He complains, “…no reason the American people need to tolerate a federal judge who is that out of sync with an entire culture.” I’m not a lawyer but I thought Judges were supposed to consider *only* the law when making judgments, not the passions of the day. And who becomes the arbiter of what is “out of sync” with the entire culture? The Iowa caucus?

    His entire train of thought in this part of the interview seems to be rationalizing ignoring the courts in order to buttress some subtle Christian nation mythology. For example, would he have demanded that Judge Jones to stand tall and defend his decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover?

    ** I am NOT defending Dred Scott. This country should not have had slavery in the first place and they ended up fighting a war (partially) because they couldn’t end it.

    I know I had more but I’m not processing efficiently at the moment.

    BTW, where do I go to find out how to format quotes and italics so I can make my posts all gourmet n’ shit. It never seems to work for me because when I turn the formatting on it just formats the rest of the post that way.

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