Judicial Corruption Has a New Supporter: Newt Gingrich
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich maintained on Sunday that Congress should have the authority to ignore federal judges, because he believes they have become "dictatorial and arrogant" and "pretend they are the dominant branch" of the government. Gingrich, speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," defended a Saturday remark in which he said as president he'd ignore the Supreme Court if he fundamentally disagreed with its decision.
Gingrich: Congress, president can ignore courts
By Lucy Madison, CBS News
Bringing the Courts Back Under the Constitution
(CBS News) Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich maintained on Sunday that Congress should have the authority to ignore federal judges, because he believes they have become "dictatorial and arrogant" and "pretend they are the dominant branch" of the government.
Gingrich, speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," defended a Saturday remark in which he said as president he'd ignore the Supreme Court if he fundamentally disagreed with its decision.
"Today you have judges who are dictatorial and arrogant, who pretend that they are the dominant branch and who issue orders that clearly are against the Constitution," he told CBS' Bob Schieffer on Sunday.
When pressed on how such a thing would be possible, Gingrich suggested the use of the subpoena.
But, Schieffer argued, "They don't have to honor the subpoenas."
"Bob, if that's true, then the court can't say something to the Congress either, can it?" Gingrich responded. "By your standards, this Supreme Court cannot dictate to the president and cannot dictate to the Congress. But they do. And there are clear provisions in the Constitution to re-balance it. There's a judge in San Antonio that issued a ruling so anti-religious, so bigoted, and so dictatorial on June 1st. He should be called in from of a committee and they should ask him, 'By what right do you dictate to the American people?'"
While it is true that Congress could subpoena a judge for a matter such as judicial misconduct, judges are protected by common-law judicial privilege, which protects inter-chamber communications. Thus, the subpoena could not apply to the details of a court case.
Even if that were not the case, subpoenaing a judge involved in a court decision would not grant either the executive or congressional branch of the government any authority to ignore that court's ruling; the decision would have to be appealed to the court of appeals and the Supreme Court. Acting in any other capacity would violate the Separation of Powers doctrine.
Schieffer pressed Gingrich for details on the logistics of his plan.
"You said in the Gingrich administration you would just tell the national security officials to ignore the Supreme Court's recent rulings on national security," Schieffer prompted. "Do you just follow only the laws you wish to follow under your doctrine? How does that work?"
"You follow the law," said Gingrich. "I think the commander in chief has the power to defend this country ... the recent court decisions in which the court intervened in national security, they're taking on their shoulders defending America. They are totally unprepared to do it. It is unconstitutional. Somebody should stand up to them and say no."
When Schieffer suggested that acting in such a manner would set off a "constitutional crisis," Gingrich responded that it was a crisis of the courts' own doing.
"The courts have created this crisis," he said. "The courts have again and again and again since 1958 asserted an ability to redefine America."
"If the president could ignore the Supreme Court, could he also ignore the Congress, which is another branch?" asked Schieffer.
"He could, and presidents can and do," Gingrich responded.
"Could the Congress ignore the president?" Schieffer pressed.
"Here's the consequence: The Congress cuts off the money," Gingrich said. "There's a balance of power. The Congress doesn't have to pay for something. And if the president gets too far out of line they just won't give him the money."
He continued: "The president doesn't have to automatically do what Congress wants. He can veto bills. He can interpret bills. The court is also subject. It is a balance of power. And people can go to Newt.org and see the entire paper which backs this up which cites the dean of Stanford Law School. This is not a trivial argument but a fundamental question about the nature of the American Constitution."
NEWT PREVIEWS SPEECH ON OUSTING ACTIVIST JUDGES
Originally posted on DesMoinesRegister.com
By Kathie Obradovich
Newt previews his upcoming speech that will detail his promise to get rid of judges who trample American values.
In a phone interview today, he said he’ll release a paper on Friday that delves into what he considers the founding fathers’ intention that the president and Congress could oust errant judges. He’s also scheduled to speak Friday at the Values Voters summit in Washington, D.C.
“I think it will be one of the more important speeches of the campaign because it is establishing a discussion about the Constitution and the courts in the way it has not been done in probably 100 years,” he said.
He said he’ll detail an idea that he attributes to Alexander Hamilton, that the president and Congress can simply abolish courts to get rid of judges who trample on American values.
He said he had been thinking about the issue ever since the 9th Circuit Court ruled in 2002 that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance were unconstitutional. He described the ruling as anti-religion and anti-American.
“The more I thought about it, the more it struck me that the standard conservative idea, which is somehow we’ll appoint conservative judges, can’t have been what the founding fathers had in mind,” he said.
He said Hamilton wrote that the judicial branch would not pick a fight with the executive and legislative branches, because it would lose. He said he’ll lay out a series of steps that Congress and the president can take, “and suggest that we do not have to accept radical judges and we do not have to accept radical judgments.” He said Americans can use the existing constitutional powers of the two elected branches to correct the court.
He said he envisions Congress being able to call a judge before a congressional hearing to explain the reasoning behind a ruling. “And if it’s not satisfactory, the second step would be to abolish his court. Zero it out in the appropriations bill,” Gingrich said. He said a new court could be created and a new judge appointed.
“You don’t have to go through an impeachment. You can just say this guy shouldn’t be a judge,” he said.
I asked if that would lead to rulings aimed at appeasing whoever happened to have the political majority in Congress. “Yes,” he said. “But at some level you want that,” he said. You have to have 60 senators, 218 House members and the president to say a judge is fundamentally wrong, he said, which means there needs to be a broad national consensus. Judges should be sensitive to that, he said.