(Image source: Newt 2012)

 

BY CHRISTINA HARTMAN 

 

Critics are calling it a war on the judiciary.

In the field of GOP presidential candidates -- Newt Gingrich isn’t alone in his public protests against what he calls judicial activism -- but he’s been arguably the loudest.

Case in point -- this from earlier in the month at a Fox News debate in Iowa.

GINGRICH: “If you had judges who were so radically anti-American that they thought ‘One Nation Under God’ was wrong, they shouldn’t be on the court. (APPLAUSE) We have a balance of three branches, we do not have a judicial dictatorship in this country.”

What’s his beef with the courts? He cites rulings that have outlawed school prayer and the cross, among others -- moves he calls clear overreach by the courts.

In a visit to CBS’ “Face the Nation” this week -- he doubled down -- going so far as to suggest U.S. Marshals arrest judges who’ve made questionable rulings.

SCHIEFFER: “How would you enforce that? Would you send the capitol police down to arrest them?”
GINGRICH: “If you have to, or you would instruct the Justice Department to send a U.S. Marshal.”

In recent weeks he’s also suggested unseating the entire Ninth Circuit court.

Lines like that might excite the most conservative wing of the base.

But observers say in his quest to stop a so-called judicial dictatorship from what he calls “undermining American values” -- he runs the risk of overstepping the Constitution.

The Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson writes...

“Gingrich insists that he understands there are three separate branches of government, but their larger purpose seems to elude him. ... In the broadest sense, [the president and Congress] represent the principle of majority rule. The courts act as a check on majority rule by protecting the legal rights of minorities against the abuses of the majority.”

And while Gingrich’s GOP rivals have also taken some jabs at so-called “activist judges” -- Politico notes they aren’t going quite as far as the former Speaker.


Tx. Gov. Rick Perry told The Wall Street Journal he doesn’t agree with Gingrich’s idea of rounding up judges to explain their rulings to Congress.

And former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney says the idea would quote “change the very constitutional rule-of-law basis” of the country.

Says Politico: “In provoking his rivals, Gingrich might have established himself as the most conservative candidate when it comes to the courts, a title that can help him in Iowa...”

Iowa, by the way, is where activists last year successfully ousted state Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage. Still, National Review blogger and conservative legal analyst Ed Whelan says -- Gingrich’s ideas are just too radical -- and besides -- if the goal is to make the courts more conservative -- isn’t there a better way -- like nominating justices to the Supreme Court?

“ ... a Republican president who acts with strategic savvy could establish a solid judicial conservative majority on the Court. … Is there really any need to spell out how transforming the Supreme Court in this way would accomplish far more to combat bad judging than abolishing the entire Ninth Circuit...?”

Iowans caucus January 3rd.

Critics Examine Gingrich's 'War on the Judiciary'

by Christina Hartman
0
Transcript
Dec 22, 2011

Critics Examine Gingrich's 'War on the Judiciary'

(Image source: Newt 2012)

 

BY CHRISTINA HARTMAN 

 

Critics are calling it a war on the judiciary.

In the field of GOP presidential candidates -- Newt Gingrich isn’t alone in his public protests against what he calls judicial activism -- but he’s been arguably the loudest.

Case in point -- this from earlier in the month at a Fox News debate in Iowa.

GINGRICH: “If you had judges who were so radically anti-American that they thought ‘One Nation Under God’ was wrong, they shouldn’t be on the court. (APPLAUSE) We have a balance of three branches, we do not have a judicial dictatorship in this country.”

What’s his beef with the courts? He cites rulings that have outlawed school prayer and the cross, among others -- moves he calls clear overreach by the courts.

In a visit to CBS’ “Face the Nation” this week -- he doubled down -- going so far as to suggest U.S. Marshals arrest judges who’ve made questionable rulings.

SCHIEFFER: “How would you enforce that? Would you send the capitol police down to arrest them?”
GINGRICH: “If you have to, or you would instruct the Justice Department to send a U.S. Marshal.”

In recent weeks he’s also suggested unseating the entire Ninth Circuit court.

Lines like that might excite the most conservative wing of the base.

But observers say in his quest to stop a so-called judicial dictatorship from what he calls “undermining American values” -- he runs the risk of overstepping the Constitution.

The Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson writes...

“Gingrich insists that he understands there are three separate branches of government, but their larger purpose seems to elude him. ... In the broadest sense, [the president and Congress] represent the principle of majority rule. The courts act as a check on majority rule by protecting the legal rights of minorities against the abuses of the majority.”

And while Gingrich’s GOP rivals have also taken some jabs at so-called “activist judges” -- Politico notes they aren’t going quite as far as the former Speaker.


Tx. Gov. Rick Perry told The Wall Street Journal he doesn’t agree with Gingrich’s idea of rounding up judges to explain their rulings to Congress.

And former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney says the idea would quote “change the very constitutional rule-of-law basis” of the country.

Says Politico: “In provoking his rivals, Gingrich might have established himself as the most conservative candidate when it comes to the courts, a title that can help him in Iowa...”

Iowa, by the way, is where activists last year successfully ousted state Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage. Still, National Review blogger and conservative legal analyst Ed Whelan says -- Gingrich’s ideas are just too radical -- and besides -- if the goal is to make the courts more conservative -- isn’t there a better way -- like nominating justices to the Supreme Court?

“ ... a Republican president who acts with strategic savvy could establish a solid judicial conservative majority on the Court. … Is there really any need to spell out how transforming the Supreme Court in this way would accomplish far more to combat bad judging than abolishing the entire Ninth Circuit...?”

Iowans caucus January 3rd.

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