A roundup of commentary about Newt the Gingrinch’s Humpty-Dumpty view of the law (that is, laws mean what he wants them to mean).
In the midst of his latest demagogic harangue about the federal judiciary – as president, he vows to crack down on judges whose rulings displease him – Newt again insisted that any errant judge should be subpoenaed and hauled in front of Congress to explain himself.
Ah yes, this is the real Newt – the reckless Newt in touch with his inner thug – that veteran Newt-watchers saw so often during his brief mid-’90s heyday. The real Newt’s hatred of so-called “activist” judges (i.e., judges whose rulings he doesn’t like) is so unhinged that two recent attorney generals, Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales, have stood up to voice their revulsion.
As you’ve probably heard, Gingrich has said he wants to impeach judges who issue “radical” rulings — meaning, I guess, rulings with which Gingrich disagrees. He said on “Face the Nation” Sunday that if these radical judges wouldn’t go to Congress to explain their radical rulings, he would (radically?) have them arrested by U.S. marshals. I’m serious.
In tossing away about 200 years of American jurisprudence — and, by the way, for a historian/not-lobbyist, Newt made a complete hash of Jefferson’s attack on court appointments, which had nothing whatever to do with court rulings — he said he might abolish certain courts while ignoring others. He called for a best-of-three constitutional test, which, let us say, you can’t actually find in the Constitution.
Under the Gingrich Rule, consider that Obama and Congress could ignore the Supreme Court if it overturns Obamacare. In the ’50s, the president and Congress could have ignored Brown vs. the Board of Education. The whole idea is crazier even than anything Ron Paul has ever said.
Consider, for example, Gingrich’s underhanded, deceptive attempt to draft Alexander Hamilton as an supporter of his anti-judicial crusade. Using selected quotes from the Federalist Papers, Hamilton is depicted by Gingrich as a supporter of efforts to use the legislative and executive branches to rein in a tyrannical, overbearing judiciary.
That is a 180-degree reversal of Hamilton’s actual position. He saw the courts as vulnerable guarantors of freedom whose independence must be preserved at all costs against the likes of Gingrich.
In Federalist Papers #78, for example, Hamilton writes that the judiciary “is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power; that it can never attack with success either of the other two; and that all possible care is requisite to enable it to defend itself against their attacks.”