Newt and the courts

What do you think of Newt Gingrich’s expressed plan, if he is elected president, to ignore court rulings that he disagrees with, to legislate judicial districts out of existence, to arrest judges in order to haul them before legislators to explain their rulings, to over-rule the Supreme Court with the agreement of the other two branches of government, and to attach riders to some laws that make them unreviewable by the courts?

What I think is that this would be a dangerous tampering with the constitutional division of powers.  In place of the rule of law (the conservative ideal), our government would be reduced to an unstable and arbitrary power struggle.  Yes, the judicial branch gets out of hand sometimes, but this is no solution.  Conservatives might like the idea of squelching liberal judges, but liberals can play the same game against conservative judges.  And for whatever legal precedents Gingrich thinks he has for all of this, throwing our whole system of government up in the air to try something else is NOT conservative and certainly NOT wise.

I’m open to persuasion, but this is turning me against Newt.

 

Gingrich, the anti-conservative – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.docsdining.blogspot.com Jason

    I don’t follow politics a great deal. For clarification, though, isn’t this essentially what Obama did with DOMA? He said he would no longer defend the courts ruling? Having said that, I agree with your concern that this would mess with the three branch system, which seems to have functioned relatively well for 200 years.

  • http://www.docsdining.blogspot.com Jason

    I don’t follow politics a great deal. For clarification, though, isn’t this essentially what Obama did with DOMA? He said he would no longer defend the courts ruling? Having said that, I agree with your concern that this would mess with the three branch system, which seems to have functioned relatively well for 200 years.

  • SKPeterson

    If you want to see how this plays out, look South. Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Argentina are just a few examples of how this plays out and how once vibrant societies and economies are ravaged quite quickly under such a breakdown in adherence to the rule of law. Obama is no great shakes on this front either; remember when the Honduran Supreme Court ruled that when the Constitution limited presidential terms to one, that it meant only one and that the then president could not run for re-election? He was promptly removed from office by the Legislature for what would effectively be called “high crimes and misdemeanors” so that the rule of law might be better established in Honduras. They were rewarded by the Clinton (note the irony) State Department calling their following the law as a “coup.”

    Nice choices for the American people if he wins the Republican nomination: the delusional “4th best President ever” Obama or the equally, but separately, delusional El Caudillo Gingrich.

  • SKPeterson

    If you want to see how this plays out, look South. Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Argentina are just a few examples of how this plays out and how once vibrant societies and economies are ravaged quite quickly under such a breakdown in adherence to the rule of law. Obama is no great shakes on this front either; remember when the Honduran Supreme Court ruled that when the Constitution limited presidential terms to one, that it meant only one and that the then president could not run for re-election? He was promptly removed from office by the Legislature for what would effectively be called “high crimes and misdemeanors” so that the rule of law might be better established in Honduras. They were rewarded by the Clinton (note the irony) State Department calling their following the law as a “coup.”

    Nice choices for the American people if he wins the Republican nomination: the delusional “4th best President ever” Obama or the equally, but separately, delusional El Caudillo Gingrich.

  • Random Lutheran

    It’s dangerous, populist nonsense.

  • Random Lutheran

    It’s dangerous, populist nonsense.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    He is taking his clues from Uncle Putin.. ?

    This is absolutely abysmal. The independance of the judiciary is a cornerstone of Liberal (in the best sense of the word) democracy. What Newt is proposing is the first steps to dictatorship. If the article above is a true reflection of what he believes he is the greatest threat to the American Republic since,…., since…… well ever. The Washington post is wrong in labelling this “anti-Conservative”. Writing as a soon-to-be-Canadian, one that is often sceptical about American politics (witness my writings here) – Newt isn’t anti-Conservative, he is anti-American. A much greater danger than what any of you could imagine either Obama, or Bush II, or Cheney, or Carter, or Nixon, or any of the other more controversial presidents and leaders you’ve had.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    He is taking his clues from Uncle Putin.. ?

    This is absolutely abysmal. The independance of the judiciary is a cornerstone of Liberal (in the best sense of the word) democracy. What Newt is proposing is the first steps to dictatorship. If the article above is a true reflection of what he believes he is the greatest threat to the American Republic since,…., since…… well ever. The Washington post is wrong in labelling this “anti-Conservative”. Writing as a soon-to-be-Canadian, one that is often sceptical about American politics (witness my writings here) – Newt isn’t anti-Conservative, he is anti-American. A much greater danger than what any of you could imagine either Obama, or Bush II, or Cheney, or Carter, or Nixon, or any of the other more controversial presidents and leaders you’ve had.

  • Fr. Gregory Hogg

    There’s no evidence I’m aware of that Putin would do such a thing.

    I find it odd that people rail against Ron Paul’s foreign policy, but few seem to be troubled by this latest from the Newtster. Is his statement a sign that, regardless of party affiliation, America is heading towards an emperor?

  • Fr. Gregory Hogg

    There’s no evidence I’m aware of that Putin would do such a thing.

    I find it odd that people rail against Ron Paul’s foreign policy, but few seem to be troubled by this latest from the Newtster. Is his statement a sign that, regardless of party affiliation, America is heading towards an emperor?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Fr Gregory: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1438-2004Oct1.html

    I’m not sure if it went through, though.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Fr Gregory: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1438-2004Oct1.html

    I’m not sure if it went through, though.

  • Joe

    I don’t necessarily like the plan and it is another reason I would not vote for Newt in a primary (and most likely not in a general) but before we get to far down the road lets keep a couple things in mind:

    1. Nothing in the Constitution requires there to be any courts other than a Supreme Court. All other federal courts exist at the pleasure and the discretion of the other two branches of government.

    2. Threats to the court are not new. FDR’s new deal legislation was routinely held unconstitutional until he threatened to pack the court (ie add new members) and impose age limits on the justices. This caused one justice to switch his vote. This is called the “Switch in Time that Saved Nine” by legal historians.

    3. Newt’s philosophical basis for this position is not completely insane or unheard of. It is based on the non-controversial idea that the three branches of gov’t are “co-equal” and the each has the right to uphold the constitution. You will not find anything in the constitutions that says the Supreme Court is the final word on what the constitution says or means. That pronouncement was not made until Marybury v. Madison in 1803. At other times in our history, the three branches have fought over the meaning of things. In one case President Jackson openly defied a Supreme Court ruling and stated, “Mr. Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” Obama’s decision to stop defending a law is based on the same idea, he as president has decided the law is not constitutional and therefore will not defend it.

  • Joe

    I don’t necessarily like the plan and it is another reason I would not vote for Newt in a primary (and most likely not in a general) but before we get to far down the road lets keep a couple things in mind:

    1. Nothing in the Constitution requires there to be any courts other than a Supreme Court. All other federal courts exist at the pleasure and the discretion of the other two branches of government.

    2. Threats to the court are not new. FDR’s new deal legislation was routinely held unconstitutional until he threatened to pack the court (ie add new members) and impose age limits on the justices. This caused one justice to switch his vote. This is called the “Switch in Time that Saved Nine” by legal historians.

    3. Newt’s philosophical basis for this position is not completely insane or unheard of. It is based on the non-controversial idea that the three branches of gov’t are “co-equal” and the each has the right to uphold the constitution. You will not find anything in the constitutions that says the Supreme Court is the final word on what the constitution says or means. That pronouncement was not made until Marybury v. Madison in 1803. At other times in our history, the three branches have fought over the meaning of things. In one case President Jackson openly defied a Supreme Court ruling and stated, “Mr. Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” Obama’s decision to stop defending a law is based on the same idea, he as president has decided the law is not constitutional and therefore will not defend it.

  • Tom Hering

    The predictions that Newt’s front-runner status would – sooner than later – be sucked away by the black hole of his own mouth appear to be coming true.

  • Tom Hering

    The predictions that Newt’s front-runner status would – sooner than later – be sucked away by the black hole of his own mouth appear to be coming true.

  • Kirk

    I would say this is ridiculous, but I think Newt’s idea is too dangerous for such a flippant word. It worries me that such ideas are being discussed on the national stage. Legislatures subpoenaing justices and granting the popular branches the ability to overturn court rulings would flat out destroy the rule of law in America and end our distinction as a republic. Furthermore, how would this end an activist judicial branch? Would it simply shift the locus of the activism from the justices to the legislature? And the transient nature of representatives and senators would mean that we’d see more activist interpretation of the law, not less.

    Look, the legislature does have the power to reign in the judicial branch if the need arises: they can impeach justices. The answer to judicial activism (real or perceived) is in the legislature’s hands and it doesn’t require a radical realignment of the three branches. The Senate should simply appoint better justices.

  • Kirk

    I would say this is ridiculous, but I think Newt’s idea is too dangerous for such a flippant word. It worries me that such ideas are being discussed on the national stage. Legislatures subpoenaing justices and granting the popular branches the ability to overturn court rulings would flat out destroy the rule of law in America and end our distinction as a republic. Furthermore, how would this end an activist judicial branch? Would it simply shift the locus of the activism from the justices to the legislature? And the transient nature of representatives and senators would mean that we’d see more activist interpretation of the law, not less.

    Look, the legislature does have the power to reign in the judicial branch if the need arises: they can impeach justices. The answer to judicial activism (real or perceived) is in the legislature’s hands and it doesn’t require a radical realignment of the three branches. The Senate should simply appoint better justices.

  • Joe

    Kirk – raises a good point – there are aspects of Newt’s plan that go beyond what I was thinking about.

    Newt’s calls for arresting judges is asinine and unprecedented and not supported by the doctrine of co-equality. In reality it would presume to place the Executive above the other branches instead of leveling them out.

  • Joe

    Kirk – raises a good point – there are aspects of Newt’s plan that go beyond what I was thinking about.

    Newt’s calls for arresting judges is asinine and unprecedented and not supported by the doctrine of co-equality. In reality it would presume to place the Executive above the other branches instead of leveling them out.

  • Cincinnatus

    This proposal is so preposterously dangerous that I’m surprised that even Newt broached it with any seriousness.

  • Cincinnatus

    This proposal is so preposterously dangerous that I’m surprised that even Newt broached it with any seriousness.

  • Bob

    Newt’s a dangerous, unpredictable maniac.

    This is just more proof.

  • Bob

    Newt’s a dangerous, unpredictable maniac.

    This is just more proof.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    There are things that can be done constitutionally to deal with out of control courts, but simply ignoring the courts — and especially putting judges you disagree with “on trial” — is not the way to go.

    We need a constitutional amendment explicitly stating the role and boundaries of judges and justices, reducing their tenure (maybe to 10-15 years), and creating a mechanism whereby the president + Congress can override the Supreme Court just like a veto can be overridden.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    There are things that can be done constitutionally to deal with out of control courts, but simply ignoring the courts — and especially putting judges you disagree with “on trial” — is not the way to go.

    We need a constitutional amendment explicitly stating the role and boundaries of judges and justices, reducing their tenure (maybe to 10-15 years), and creating a mechanism whereby the president + Congress can override the Supreme Court just like a veto can be overridden.

  • kenneth

    It all seems very strange to me. I saw Newt walking on 17 street in Denver just yesterday. I had two reactions, one was a gut feeling the man was dead ernest ond the other a insight into myself. That I would vote according to an emotional gut feeling than anything else. Not quite true but discouse on government balances are very much subfect in the first place.

    Even with intellectual sense on issues I find myself a waffler or flip flopper in reality. The day before it was work for Ron Paul and today it is a coin toss.

    I beleive that all will be well if the Gospel remains the first priority…

  • kenneth

    It all seems very strange to me. I saw Newt walking on 17 street in Denver just yesterday. I had two reactions, one was a gut feeling the man was dead ernest ond the other a insight into myself. That I would vote according to an emotional gut feeling than anything else. Not quite true but discouse on government balances are very much subfect in the first place.

    Even with intellectual sense on issues I find myself a waffler or flip flopper in reality. The day before it was work for Ron Paul and today it is a coin toss.

    I beleive that all will be well if the Gospel remains the first priority…

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I’m with Joe @7. The Judicial Branch is supposed to be subject to checks and balances like the other two branches. The Supreme Court was not meant to be the Supreme Authority. Unfortunately, we have allowed them to be just that in nearly all cases, no matter how ridiculous and anti-constitutional the Supreme Pronouncement.

    What, exactly, is so “dangerous” about calling the Justices on the carpet when they make rulings that are not consistent with the clear wording of The Constitution? It’s more dangerous to allow the Judiciary the unfettered liberty to redefine the words and phrases of The Constitution and to find shadows and penumbras therein.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I’m with Joe @7. The Judicial Branch is supposed to be subject to checks and balances like the other two branches. The Supreme Court was not meant to be the Supreme Authority. Unfortunately, we have allowed them to be just that in nearly all cases, no matter how ridiculous and anti-constitutional the Supreme Pronouncement.

    What, exactly, is so “dangerous” about calling the Justices on the carpet when they make rulings that are not consistent with the clear wording of The Constitution? It’s more dangerous to allow the Judiciary the unfettered liberty to redefine the words and phrases of The Constitution and to find shadows and penumbras therein.

  • John

    Hey, I know, let’s just start our own country! I’ll be the king of course, but y’all are welcome to be my peasants. Who needs courts anyway? Why, the bankers and globalists will just hijack them anyway. I say that we would all be better off if I just told you what to do and when to do it. I am now accepting campaign contributions. Anyone in the army is welcome to donate a tank for my inaugural parade into Washington D.C.

  • John

    Hey, I know, let’s just start our own country! I’ll be the king of course, but y’all are welcome to be my peasants. Who needs courts anyway? Why, the bankers and globalists will just hijack them anyway. I say that we would all be better off if I just told you what to do and when to do it. I am now accepting campaign contributions. Anyone in the army is welcome to donate a tank for my inaugural parade into Washington D.C.

  • DonS

    Newt went overboard, and his recent polling numbers reflect that.

    Dr. Veith, from your prior comments it would have been hard to discern that you were ever for Newt.

    Joe presents a nice summary of the Constitutional balance between the three branches @ 7. I like the notion of a politician talking about the courts during a campaign — most people vote without ever thinking about the mentality the candidate is going to bring to appointing judges. This is why our courts so often well overstep their authority in deciding cases, and preventing Obama from appointing judges for four more years is the most compelling reason to ensure that he is not re-elected. With a lifetime appointment, and little to no accountability to the citizenry, federal judges often exert far more power than they should, and a judge who views his/her role as engendering societal change through fiat is a dangerous person indeed.

  • DonS

    Newt went overboard, and his recent polling numbers reflect that.

    Dr. Veith, from your prior comments it would have been hard to discern that you were ever for Newt.

    Joe presents a nice summary of the Constitutional balance between the three branches @ 7. I like the notion of a politician talking about the courts during a campaign — most people vote without ever thinking about the mentality the candidate is going to bring to appointing judges. This is why our courts so often well overstep their authority in deciding cases, and preventing Obama from appointing judges for four more years is the most compelling reason to ensure that he is not re-elected. With a lifetime appointment, and little to no accountability to the citizenry, federal judges often exert far more power than they should, and a judge who views his/her role as engendering societal change through fiat is a dangerous person indeed.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Really, DonS? I was strongly considering him, just as I have considered each of these guys in turn, only to become disillusioned.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Really, DonS? I was strongly considering him, just as I have considered each of these guys in turn, only to become disillusioned.

  • SAL

    I favor eliminating most Federal Courts but I think we ought to retain judicial impartiality and independence as much as possible.

    A modest unintrusvie judicial system can only exist once the government has been reduced in size.

  • SAL

    I favor eliminating most Federal Courts but I think we ought to retain judicial impartiality and independence as much as possible.

    A modest unintrusvie judicial system can only exist once the government has been reduced in size.

  • MarkB

    I have been struggling with supporting Newt over the last month or so, and brought myself to accomodate his negatives, which included shooting from the mouth. However, this last outburst of his really brought home to me how far from the constitution he really stands. Certainly there are many things that I disagree with regarding what activist courts have done over the last 60 years, including Roe v. Wade. However, running over the constitution with a Mac Truck does not help things.
    Newt of all people should realize there are constitutional ways of resolving a problem judge or a problem ruling. Not enforcing the law is not one of them. We already have a president that selectively does not inforce laws ie, the two Black Panthers at the poll booths, DOMA and I believe there was another recently. So to replace one president who thinks he is an Emperor with another who has a different political stance is very dangerous. At the very least it then cements the precendence of doing this, because both parties do it.
    Without the rule of law, we will become a law-less society and then our rights and freedoms will be gone.

  • MarkB

    I have been struggling with supporting Newt over the last month or so, and brought myself to accomodate his negatives, which included shooting from the mouth. However, this last outburst of his really brought home to me how far from the constitution he really stands. Certainly there are many things that I disagree with regarding what activist courts have done over the last 60 years, including Roe v. Wade. However, running over the constitution with a Mac Truck does not help things.
    Newt of all people should realize there are constitutional ways of resolving a problem judge or a problem ruling. Not enforcing the law is not one of them. We already have a president that selectively does not inforce laws ie, the two Black Panthers at the poll booths, DOMA and I believe there was another recently. So to replace one president who thinks he is an Emperor with another who has a different political stance is very dangerous. At the very least it then cements the precendence of doing this, because both parties do it.
    Without the rule of law, we will become a law-less society and then our rights and freedoms will be gone.

  • Richard

    It’s a preposterous idea, and Newt, deep down, knows this, I think. It’s called pandering–Republicans do it (abolishing the Ninth Circuit is dumb) and Democrats–remember when our President in his State of the Union held SCOTUS up to ridicule for one of their decisions while the Court sat there and took it? Pandering.

  • Richard

    It’s a preposterous idea, and Newt, deep down, knows this, I think. It’s called pandering–Republicans do it (abolishing the Ninth Circuit is dumb) and Democrats–remember when our President in his State of the Union held SCOTUS up to ridicule for one of their decisions while the Court sat there and took it? Pandering.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, there goes my (hypothetical) vote. I was mildly sympathetic to Newt — he would have been, at least, an interesting opponent for Obama to run against — before I heard of this idea of his, but no, that’s it. Forget him.

    I can’t believe that anyone would even need to discuss the man’s marital past, given things like this. Wow.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, there goes my (hypothetical) vote. I was mildly sympathetic to Newt — he would have been, at least, an interesting opponent for Obama to run against — before I heard of this idea of his, but no, that’s it. Forget him.

    I can’t believe that anyone would even need to discuss the man’s marital past, given things like this. Wow.

  • Richard

    I thought it interesting that, in the few moments I watched of the Iowa debate, Ron Paul soundly rejected Newt’s proposals, when he could have played to the crowd. Good on him.

  • Richard

    I thought it interesting that, in the few moments I watched of the Iowa debate, Ron Paul soundly rejected Newt’s proposals, when he could have played to the crowd. Good on him.

  • WisdomLover

    Will’s article is a nightmare of falsehood and bad reasoning (as usual). All done in such beautiful prose that he just must be right.

    Consider just Will’s claim about Hamilton in Federalist 78. What he says is laughably false. Hamilton in that very article said that the court would be least dangerous because it would be least in capacity to harm or injure the rights of the Constitution. Just as a hint “capacity” = “power”. So the courts are least in power, i.e. weakest.

    And at the time, Hamilton was actually right. The court is, if you look at its powers in the Constitution and not stuff they made up out of whole cloth later, anemically weak. It wasn’t until the Marbury vs. Madison decision that the court discovered, Shazam!, that it had the power to interpret the Constitution.

    That has come to mean that the court has the right to re-write the Constitution at will. And we all celebrate that as wonderful. Our living breathing constitution. Our marvelous independent judiciary. Our rule of law.

    This, of course, is baloney. A re-adjustment of powers away from the court has been needed for decades. Talk about the rule of law is a false dichotomy. As if the only choices we have are the black-robed aristocracy or lawlessness. That is empty-headed nonsense.

    Tell me why the judiciary should be independent. Then, once you have given your reasons, tell me why that’s not just an argument for aristocracy with different aristocrats. The independent judiciary sounds all wonderful and shiny. But it’s actually just a recipe for a slow slide to the tyranny of the gavel (which I fear far more than the tyranny of the majority).

    Of course, Will characterizes Gingrich’s proposals with equal care. Which is to say that Will is in no danger of being excluded from the cocktail parties of his left-wing friends.

    All courts except the Supreme Court exist, not by Constitutional mandate, but as a matter of policy. Policy that is under the express control of Congress. The courts are made by law, they can be unmade by law. There is no violation of the rule of law then in pointing this out or acting upon it. The insult to the rule of law is to suggest that the courts are anything other than political creations, for that is to deny the other two branches their express constitutional powers.

    As for Newt’s remarks on subpoenaing judges, if you look at what Newt actually said on Face the Nation, and not Will’s distortions, you see that he was referring to a specific case where a Judge ruled that he would have a school superintendent jailed if the word “benediction” was spoken in a commencement speech. Now, I know how warm and fuzzy rulings like that make us about our independent judiciary. Isn’t it wonderful how it protects our freedoms?

    Maybe not so much.

    That Judge needs to be impeached for the enemy of the Constitution he so clearly is.

    By the way, it does no good to point out that the judge was eventually overruled. So what? The point is Why in the name of St. Peter did he have to be overruled in the first place? The man doesn’t belong anywhere near the bench. But the more fundamental problem is that, because of its immoral overreach, the court attracts just that sort of man.

    In any case, Newt was calling for that judge’s impeachment. I agree with him about that. Don’t you?

    He then said that Congress should subpoena him and give him a chance to explain before taking that final step. Crazy man! Dangerous!

  • WisdomLover

    Will’s article is a nightmare of falsehood and bad reasoning (as usual). All done in such beautiful prose that he just must be right.

    Consider just Will’s claim about Hamilton in Federalist 78. What he says is laughably false. Hamilton in that very article said that the court would be least dangerous because it would be least in capacity to harm or injure the rights of the Constitution. Just as a hint “capacity” = “power”. So the courts are least in power, i.e. weakest.

    And at the time, Hamilton was actually right. The court is, if you look at its powers in the Constitution and not stuff they made up out of whole cloth later, anemically weak. It wasn’t until the Marbury vs. Madison decision that the court discovered, Shazam!, that it had the power to interpret the Constitution.

    That has come to mean that the court has the right to re-write the Constitution at will. And we all celebrate that as wonderful. Our living breathing constitution. Our marvelous independent judiciary. Our rule of law.

    This, of course, is baloney. A re-adjustment of powers away from the court has been needed for decades. Talk about the rule of law is a false dichotomy. As if the only choices we have are the black-robed aristocracy or lawlessness. That is empty-headed nonsense.

    Tell me why the judiciary should be independent. Then, once you have given your reasons, tell me why that’s not just an argument for aristocracy with different aristocrats. The independent judiciary sounds all wonderful and shiny. But it’s actually just a recipe for a slow slide to the tyranny of the gavel (which I fear far more than the tyranny of the majority).

    Of course, Will characterizes Gingrich’s proposals with equal care. Which is to say that Will is in no danger of being excluded from the cocktail parties of his left-wing friends.

    All courts except the Supreme Court exist, not by Constitutional mandate, but as a matter of policy. Policy that is under the express control of Congress. The courts are made by law, they can be unmade by law. There is no violation of the rule of law then in pointing this out or acting upon it. The insult to the rule of law is to suggest that the courts are anything other than political creations, for that is to deny the other two branches their express constitutional powers.

    As for Newt’s remarks on subpoenaing judges, if you look at what Newt actually said on Face the Nation, and not Will’s distortions, you see that he was referring to a specific case where a Judge ruled that he would have a school superintendent jailed if the word “benediction” was spoken in a commencement speech. Now, I know how warm and fuzzy rulings like that make us about our independent judiciary. Isn’t it wonderful how it protects our freedoms?

    Maybe not so much.

    That Judge needs to be impeached for the enemy of the Constitution he so clearly is.

    By the way, it does no good to point out that the judge was eventually overruled. So what? The point is Why in the name of St. Peter did he have to be overruled in the first place? The man doesn’t belong anywhere near the bench. But the more fundamental problem is that, because of its immoral overreach, the court attracts just that sort of man.

    In any case, Newt was calling for that judge’s impeachment. I agree with him about that. Don’t you?

    He then said that Congress should subpoena him and give him a chance to explain before taking that final step. Crazy man! Dangerous!

  • Lou G.

    I’m totally against this plan of Newt’s. I can’t stand judges who legislate, but I’ve secretly been hoping that the Supreme Court would step in and do something about Congress soon!! If Newt has it his way, my little secret dream would be crushed.

  • Lou G.

    I’m totally against this plan of Newt’s. I can’t stand judges who legislate, but I’ve secretly been hoping that the Supreme Court would step in and do something about Congress soon!! If Newt has it his way, my little secret dream would be crushed.

  • JunkerGeorg

    Dr. Veith writes:

    “What I think is that this would be a dangerous tampering with the constitutional division of powers.”
    ————————————————————————
    Ha! I am glad so see someone express concern over “executive order” addicts like such authoritarian-conservatives as Gingrich and Perry. People are waking up to the fact that the Republican establishment is not fully constitutional or constitutionally driven, despite their claims to be so when it is politically expedient. But if such a Republican were driven by constitution principles rather than pragmatics of power, they’d just label him a libertarian (and hope their sheep would interpret that to mean “liberaltarian”).

  • JunkerGeorg

    Dr. Veith writes:

    “What I think is that this would be a dangerous tampering with the constitutional division of powers.”
    ————————————————————————
    Ha! I am glad so see someone express concern over “executive order” addicts like such authoritarian-conservatives as Gingrich and Perry. People are waking up to the fact that the Republican establishment is not fully constitutional or constitutionally driven, despite their claims to be so when it is politically expedient. But if such a Republican were driven by constitution principles rather than pragmatics of power, they’d just label him a libertarian (and hope their sheep would interpret that to mean “liberaltarian”).

  • steve

    Clearly calling Newt a dangerous, unpredictable maniac is over-the-top hyperbole. But I would vote him as the candidate most likely to challenge one of his political opponents to a duel at twenty paces.

  • steve

    Clearly calling Newt a dangerous, unpredictable maniac is over-the-top hyperbole. But I would vote him as the candidate most likely to challenge one of his political opponents to a duel at twenty paces.

  • SKPeterson

    Newt is a dangerous, unpredictable maniac.

    In completely unrelated, but relevant, news, Dorothy Rabinowitz has an opinion screed piece on that kooky Ron Paul in the WSJ that is an exercise in hyperbolic character assassination.

  • SKPeterson

    Newt is a dangerous, unpredictable maniac.

    In completely unrelated, but relevant, news, Dorothy Rabinowitz has an opinion screed piece on that kooky Ron Paul in the WSJ that is an exercise in hyperbolic character assassination.

  • WisdomLover

    Please explain what constitutional principle is violated by anything Newt said.

    Asserting that courts may be eliminated by congressional act?

    No. The courts are created by congressional act. This is an expressly enumerated power of the Congress (Article I, Section 8). To deny it is to be against the Constitution, not the other way around.

    Asserting that Congress may issue subpoenas to federal judges?

    He was suggesting that that might be used as part of an impeachment process. Congress should not be allowed to get testimony from the accused (of course, he’s free to take the fifth) before acting?

    Asserting that the President may refuse to execute court orders?

    First, it’s been done. Second, if the President does not have some discretion that’s pretty broad on how to enforce law, what becomes of the vaunted separation of powers?

    Asserting that Congress and the President can overrule the Court?

    The President doesn’t have unlimited discretion on how he enforces the law. He can cross a line. If the refusal to vigorously enforce a court order goes over that line, then constitutional remedy is to impeach the President. I know the court would like to be able to declare him not-the-president if he doesn’t dance to their tune, but they haven’t interpreted our living, breathing Constitution do discover that power there…yet.

    So it comes down to Congress. If Congress does not act, then the President and Congress have, effectively, overruled the Court.

    Asserting that Congress can make unreviewable laws?

    Again, this has already been done. Since Congress creates courts, Congress also defines their jurisdiction. There is one Constitutionally mandated court. It has a Constitutionally mandated jurisdiction. Congress does not control that. Congress can control virtually everything else. It can decide the number of justices on the High Court, the number of lower courts, the complete jurisdiction of lower courts and on and on. Laws can be, and have been, made so that no court has jurisdiction to hear a challenge to them.

    *******************************

    So, other than saying nothing but true things, and that is a horrible crime in the politics of an ignorant and gullible nation, what exactly did Gingrich do?

    We act as if the court must have absolute power on interpreting the Constitution beyond the reach of any other branch of Government, or we become Somalia. That’s not true or even plausible. It’s laughable.

    Here’s a huge newsflash: The courts are political creations and are subject to political power struggles. Accept it and move on.

    And here’s a piece of advice: Go find out for yourself what Newt actually said…not what his political enemies (like George Will) want you to believe that he said. Use that policy with all political figures. You’ll probably find out that Romney’s not quite the unprincipled flip-flopping socialist RINO people claim he is. Perry’s not quite the stupid fundie open-borders cowboy people say he is, and so on.

  • WisdomLover

    Please explain what constitutional principle is violated by anything Newt said.

    Asserting that courts may be eliminated by congressional act?

    No. The courts are created by congressional act. This is an expressly enumerated power of the Congress (Article I, Section 8). To deny it is to be against the Constitution, not the other way around.

    Asserting that Congress may issue subpoenas to federal judges?

    He was suggesting that that might be used as part of an impeachment process. Congress should not be allowed to get testimony from the accused (of course, he’s free to take the fifth) before acting?

    Asserting that the President may refuse to execute court orders?

    First, it’s been done. Second, if the President does not have some discretion that’s pretty broad on how to enforce law, what becomes of the vaunted separation of powers?

    Asserting that Congress and the President can overrule the Court?

    The President doesn’t have unlimited discretion on how he enforces the law. He can cross a line. If the refusal to vigorously enforce a court order goes over that line, then constitutional remedy is to impeach the President. I know the court would like to be able to declare him not-the-president if he doesn’t dance to their tune, but they haven’t interpreted our living, breathing Constitution do discover that power there…yet.

    So it comes down to Congress. If Congress does not act, then the President and Congress have, effectively, overruled the Court.

    Asserting that Congress can make unreviewable laws?

    Again, this has already been done. Since Congress creates courts, Congress also defines their jurisdiction. There is one Constitutionally mandated court. It has a Constitutionally mandated jurisdiction. Congress does not control that. Congress can control virtually everything else. It can decide the number of justices on the High Court, the number of lower courts, the complete jurisdiction of lower courts and on and on. Laws can be, and have been, made so that no court has jurisdiction to hear a challenge to them.

    *******************************

    So, other than saying nothing but true things, and that is a horrible crime in the politics of an ignorant and gullible nation, what exactly did Gingrich do?

    We act as if the court must have absolute power on interpreting the Constitution beyond the reach of any other branch of Government, or we become Somalia. That’s not true or even plausible. It’s laughable.

    Here’s a huge newsflash: The courts are political creations and are subject to political power struggles. Accept it and move on.

    And here’s a piece of advice: Go find out for yourself what Newt actually said…not what his political enemies (like George Will) want you to believe that he said. Use that policy with all political figures. You’ll probably find out that Romney’s not quite the unprincipled flip-flopping socialist RINO people claim he is. Perry’s not quite the stupid fundie open-borders cowboy people say he is, and so on.

  • Joanne

    The 9th Circuit of Federal Courts is too big; it needs to be broken up. Who will determine when and how that is done, and will politics play a role in that creation of a new circuit? According to the constitution, Congress will and yes politics will determine all. It will be pure kismet if any good comes of this process. Look to the senate and especially the senators from each of the states affected by the change to make the decisions about what the new and the reduced circuits look like.

    To assume that a former speaker of the House of Representatives and an American History historian doesn’t know what the powers of Congress are, vis-a-vis the other two branches of our federal government, is presumptious. I immediately assumed he knew what he was talking about and that I’d hear more about it in clarification, which this blog is doing in part.

  • Joanne

    The 9th Circuit of Federal Courts is too big; it needs to be broken up. Who will determine when and how that is done, and will politics play a role in that creation of a new circuit? According to the constitution, Congress will and yes politics will determine all. It will be pure kismet if any good comes of this process. Look to the senate and especially the senators from each of the states affected by the change to make the decisions about what the new and the reduced circuits look like.

    To assume that a former speaker of the House of Representatives and an American History historian doesn’t know what the powers of Congress are, vis-a-vis the other two branches of our federal government, is presumptious. I immediately assumed he knew what he was talking about and that I’d hear more about it in clarification, which this blog is doing in part.


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