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.